Here I am again…I mentioned in the last post that if there was any interest in how I go about putting together a room set or a diorama that I would share my process here on the blog. You’ve said yes, so I’m going to hold to my part of the bargain as much as possible although as it happens somethings probably won’t end up shown *shrug* but that’s how it goes. I will say right now that this isn’t going to be a fast process since it depends a lot on free time, equipment, materials & general mood in being available. It’ll probably be a month or so in the doing.
Also a word of warning: 1) this is what I do. I’m not saying it’s right, nor that it is the only way of doing it. I also take no responsibility for people trying my way of doing things. This process involves sharp scalpel blades, band saws, routers and any number of potentially harmful things. If you’re a child, you should have your parents help you with it. If you’re an adult then be careful. Always wear eye protection.
(ok PSA finished)
So, what is my first step when it comes to making a room set?
- For me the first step to it is actually deciding what kind of room set I’m making.
I take into account if it’s for someone in particular or for a specific use: i.e. an office or classroom, or a bedroom. How often I think I am likely to use it also factors in a lot. (here space of any sort is at a premium and storage space is next to nil. So event though I can generally flat-pack room sets they still take up space and I need them out of the way if they aren’t being used.) I don’t want to duplicate what I have already made unless there’s a really good reason for doing so.
- When I know that then I can figure out what the dimensions of it are going to be. I’m not the most realistic when it comes to those—since my 1:6 is about fantasy –I tend to give my characters larger than they could probably afford rooms. So sue me! I live vicariously through them at times!
Looking at the project of creating Cass’s Apartment is probably the best way I can go into it without boring the lot of you senseless.
I knew I wanted to make a complete apartment for Cass to use in the Quinlan-Chronicles. I had given a lot of thought as to where the majority of photostory scenes were likely to be shot and they came down to the campus/student lounge, the classroom, Cass’s place, the cafe, and miscellaneous alleyways.
Why make a complete apartment? When I could probably get away with just one or two rooms?
Weeeeeellll…. this comes down to one of my biggest pet peeves: 3 dimensional roomsets that you only ever see from the actual room itself. Yesss….I’m very guilty of it, but hopefully, with the creation of Cass’s apt, I’ll become less guilty of it as I go along! I want to be able to shoot scenes in the stories from a wider variety of angles–in the hallway looking into the kitchen or living room or from the patio into the living room… that sort of thing.
*are you bored yet?*
There were a few things I had to decide before drawing up the plans for the room set group:
- was it a studio apartment? (no)
- Does Cass live alone? (no. She has a roommate whose rent pays for the mortgage)
- How many bedrooms does it have? (2–originally I thought 3 but nah, too many!)
- Is it a house or an apartment? (It’s an apartment–but a nice one)
- Does it have a backdoor or fire exit/escape? (no. it’s the first floor and plenty of windows to crawl out of–or people to break into)
- Does it have a backyard? (No, but it has a patio. I wanted a place for some outside scenes)
After I answered those questions I drew up a quick sketch of what I thought the floorplan might be. I’ve got to admit to being somewhat spastic about that, as I actually cut out full size pieces of paper to help me judge if the rooms will be too big/small/just right. Even so, I mess up sometimes
I have to decide the number of rooms (someday, one of them will have a home office), and where and what kind of windows and doors I’ll want in them.
This is a revised floorplan for the room sets that are in process:
While in the process of coming up with the floor plan, I have to give some thought to design issues, and fixtures that I may want in the room. I haven’t yet had a room with a fireplace in it and I’ve decided that one of those would 1) look good in Cass’s place and 2) add some visual interest to what would otherwise be a pretty bland and boring room.
I also decided that I wanted sliding glass doors to lead to the patio. This will create some future issues when I want to shoot scenes and say its dark outside. I’ll either need to get better at photoshopping, or I’ll have to devise a shade curtain for the patio area. Possibly also have hanging drapes to cover the windows when not in use or when it’s night-time. (Little details like this I try to figure out as I go along rather than letting them stymie me and keep me from going forward)
Once I know the general dimensions of the rooms, I then have to ask Mark, the keeper of all power tools (in his locked workroom) to either let me use them or use them for me. (This is a step I look forward to cutting out in the future when I have my own power tools and space in which to use them without potentially damaging his workspace)
- Cut wood into frames for each room set. (this is very similar to cutting stretchers for making a canvas). Once you’ve got all the pieces (and sizes you need) then you glue them together with wood glue.
- Before the glue dries add corner braces to the inside corners. This will make them more stable in the long run & we all like that, right???
- After the woodglue has dried router out a groove in each piece so that you will be able to slot the walls in. (the walls I am using these days are 6mm MDF).
- Cut the MDF to size for the walls. Generally I do this whenever I have the money handy to actually buy some MDF from the hardware store/B&Q/Home Depot.
(I’m sorry I haven’t got pictures of this part but next time we make bases I’ll shoot pictures)
Keep your eyes peeled for my next Cass’s Apt post.