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Bigature Documentation Thread

 Post subject: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:41 pm 
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I've been getting more and more into movie modeling techniques and process (sometimes called Bigatures coined by WETA during LOTR) recently. I'm going to use this as a dumping ground for interesting articles, pictures, videos, etc

I suspect others will be also interested in the topic and also a fertile source of terrain and modeling inspiration.

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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:45 pm 
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First up, some details from Blade Runner 2049 showing their city and terrain builds for the movie. Of particular interest to me are the versimulatude achieved via the weathering and the tonal changes on the stone to bring things to life. The use of MDF makes me smile as it's similar to what we are all up to, just gigantic. Also pay attention to the numerous little details present such as power lines, railsing and.fire escapes, and the broadcasting towers


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Last edited by jimmyzimms on Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Hey Jimmy, that was a fantastic video. I've been thinking about working on city terrain for a while, looking forward to your posts.

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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:31 am 
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Cheers for posting up Jimmy, Very interesting watch,


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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:28 am 
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So here's a picture of the Hadley's Hope colony miniature I've not seen previously. Interesting to see the scale relative to the team. Not a terribad view of the build either.
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Some nice natural light pictures of the atmosphere processor which are, again, hard to see during to their hazy lighting in the movie to simulate distance.
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On the 30th anniversary release has a new addition to the documentaries called Superior Firepower: Making Aliens, Enhancement Pods 1hour (to go with the original collected 3 hour 'regular' Superior Firepower). On it, around the 3:30 mark they discuss the building of the colony interior sets and how they used truck loads of miscast plastic shells for VCR and TVs and electronics from recycling from a local factory. I suspect that the section could be of inspiration to modellers. I can only find the first 3h documentary not the add on so search it out if you can find it

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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:44 pm 
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So this isn't really terrain but I still feel this is very worthwhile. If anyone here is a fan of Star Trek then they should be quite familiar with the TMP 'glamour shot' introduction of the movie miniature. For those that are not familiar with it you can watch a good recording of it here (go full screen if you can)


Pay special attention to the details of the craft's paint job, especially how they introduced the suggestion of the hull plating; What they called the 'Aztec' pattern.

A description of the painting/design process was detailed in Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, 1st ed, p. 106
(http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Constitution_class_model_(refit)#Eight-foot_motion_pictures_model)

Quote:
"One of the things we did with all of the models was to give their surfaces details and interesting designs. A smooth object has no scale so it’s important in model work to find ways of creating scale. Sometimes it’s very subtle but it’s one of the most important elements in model photography. (...) I had this idea of giving the surface of the Enterprise a patterned, plated look and we made masks for the surface to create that surface effect. We did experiments with Crescent Metal Powders and other iridescent and pearlescent paints. So, in the end we made pearlescent body panels that varied from each other by minute differences in color and reflectivity. There were multiple masks that were used to give the surface the complex texture you see on the screen. The painting was phenomenal.
...
As we worked up the Enterprise it became apparent to me that we needed a special paint technique to give the surface of the ship scale. Literally the different spectral qualities of paint and the thickness of one coat of paint could make the surface detail of the Enterprise believable. I had done some tests with different paints as a painter and knew of the Crescent Metal Powder paints and their pearlescent pigments. Jim Dow and I looked into them as he had used them as well on his 1935 Ford, did a little test and decided some combination of those pigments would work. Designing the pattern and doing the actual painting, now that was going to be one hell of a job for someone to tackle..."

Quote:
Working on the model, starting with the dish, for the better part of eight months, the most striking part of his work was the application of a high-gloss pearlescent lacquer coating which gave the Enterprise a chameleon-like appearance in the movie, changing its color appearance depending on the kind and direction of lighting. The "Aztec pattern", for example, was only visible if the light hit the model at an oblique angle ("I used four pearl colors that were transparent: a blue, a gold, a red, and a green... they all flip-flopped to their complements when the viewing angle changed. Beautiful. By varying the amount of color, and the mixture of several colors on top of each other, I obtained myriad colors and depth of color.", Olsen later remembered.

"I agreed that it would give the Enterprise more credibility as a manufactured spacecraft, even though panel lines wouldn't be visible at the scale distance needed to encompass the entire ship in a shot. Richard thought a subtle differencing of the paint scheme would accentuate those panels and that worked really well. For the saucer, I came up with 'Aztec Pattern' panels providing a series of interlocking edges in order to reinforce the ship's surface tensile strength."


So while we're talking about one of the most highly regarded studio miniature paint jobs in hollywood history (not hyperbole, it's lamented that the paint job was progressively painted over for subsequent movies as it was considered a work of art) for a starship, I suspect the same process, albeit with different colors/paints is easily applied to other subjects (see the same process being undoubtedly applied on the stone work on the Wallace pyramid in the Blade Runner 2049 video on the OP).

I wonder if such techniques might make more plain models, such as the GW Capital Imperialis for example, really pop and provide a greater sense of scale? What about taking our MDF buildings and bring them up a level with this process?

edit: I couldn't find a really high def version of this opening shot introducing the klingons on what was called, 'the paint scraping pass'. It's regarded as one of the most complex blue screen shots in history (each pass took 18 hours to shoot and you have a dozen long shot passes with multiple orientations to composite together). Again the sense of scale is largely attributable to the panel painting on them. Sadly I've not been able to find too much information about their ultimate fate so if anyone knows...please post


edit 2: Interesting factiod=> This movie stands out as one of the very few uses of a totally self lit miniature for most of the shooting vs relying on large amounts of ambient studio lighting. A technique never redone in the series and rarely performed on a franchise due to the difficulties in duplicating the bespoke lighting techniques.

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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:28 pm 
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Was at Walt Disney's World a couple weeks back and got a good look at this hand built scale model. It's for the new expansion, Galaxy's Edge. This just one of 48 sections done to display the design of the park. Each is made from a combination balsa, hot cut polysty layered with plaster, polystyrene sheets, and . From there it's airbrushed and hand hand painted. Scale is about oh 1.5 or so meters a side.


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 Post subject: Re: Bigature Documentation Thread
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:54 am 
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This looks like a great course from the special effects wizards themselves. Pretty tempted to buy this.


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