February 08, 2011

Sets with Monsters: Fright Finders Studio and Set

Architecture is one thing, set design seems like an even more complicated craft.  It's not a permanent structure, it's an illusion, made to look like simulated materials.  In movies and on the stage, sets need to be flexible... mobile.  Thought needs to go into lighting and camera location and access.  How much of the set can be repurposed?  Is it safe?  It's fascinating to understand it all.

When I was in high school, I wanted to study the art of an architect.  All they could offer was mechanical drafting.  There was no such thing as AutoCad or 3-D modeling software so it was t-squares and rulers for me... old school.  It was archaic and criminal.  I learned what I could and exhausted their offerings.  I yearned for more so I moved on to painting.  You know, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes... not house painting.  It would be a few more years til I get a chance to revisit my architectural interests.

My foray into comic book drawing pitted me with crafting logistical backgrounds.  I like to explore different perspectives and I knew that static backgrounds weren't going to cut it.  Initially, I used graph paper, then simple constructed structures made of paper and cardboard.  Thank goodness that in the digital age I was able to educate myself with virtual environment fabrication.   Today, I use 3D Studio Max for most projects.  I model the majority of objects myself unless it's going to take too much time or it's beyond my skill set.  In that case, I'll search it out and buy it.

Once I have the models built, I then determine the camera locations required for the script.  I'll use image outputs to be used as guides in drawing the panel/pages.  For me, this process works because; 1) I can pan the camera around in search for that sweet spot with out having to redraw the panel several some odd times.  2) Lighting and shadow placement.  3) Sets are reusable.

Now on to the relavent content.  The television studio and Fright Finders set.

Studio Floor Plan

Fright Finders Set

Set Backdrop

Studio From Stairs

Studio From Loading Dock

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