Monday, July 17, 2006

DVD Extras for "Minions: Walking the Dinosaur"

I'm really pleased with how this installment of "Minions," titled "Walking the Dinosaur" turned out visually, so here are some "behind the scenes" shots of the set.

I made extensive use of printed papers sold in craft stores for scrapbooking in this set. The ground is simply overlapping sheets of a "stucco" print. There are also some small scraps of a "grass" print to break up the lines. The backdrop is a cut-and-paste job onto a sheet of foamcore, using pieces of two different sheets, a "cloudy sky" sheet, and a "pine forest" pattern. I covered most of the sky with overlapping sheets of the sky pattern, then filled in the horizon with hand-cut pieces from the "forest" sheets. I probably used about four sheets of each.

The "dirt" area is actually a sheet of scrap packing foam hit with brown spray paint. I didn't use foam-safe paint, so it melted the surface into an irregular texture, and bits of white foam are showing up through the foam. I wasn't sure how it would work, but seen from the side, the white actually breaks up the dark brown and makes it look more like a natural ground-cover.

The plants are all plastic, consisting of bits of aquarium plants (bought cheap at a thrift store), and some dollar-store mixed greenery that I took apart to make smaller plants. The rocks are just some driveway gravel I picked up right outside my office door. The brown "log" is actually a piece of driftwood, the only real plant mater in the shot.

The park bench is metal. I found it in a thrift store (in metal housewares, not in toys) for about two bucks. The shovel is a craft-store item. The chain was purchased by the foot at the hardware store. The dinosaur is a "Jurassic Park" T-Rex, possibly one of the nicest toy dinosaurs ever made. I currently own three of them, and I'm always keeping my eyes open for more.

I did do a slight bit of digital retouching in Paint Shop Pro, using the "clone" tool to hide the edges of the foam sheet, and the "smear" tool to break up the edges of my cut-out trees and make them look more realistic.

The whole thing only took me twenty minutes or so to set up using things I had on-hand. I pays to think ahead and stockpile basic backgrounds and props like these.

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