A few years ago while I was working at PSYOP we did a series of commercials for Best Buy. Due to the tight timeline they decided to build and shoot a miniature set with New Deal Studios rather then create a full cg one. It was such a great look and fun process that I took the concept to heart. Building a miniature set must be much cheaper and less time consuming I thought! Given my experience with CG integration it would be easy to put a CG character into it.
The Latvian Komedie Minute with David Bokser at Obsolete Robot which fits this style perfectly.
Mocking Up a Miniature Set
I decided that my skills at hand manufacturing the different pieces for a miniature set were limited, but with my 3D printer(Replicator 2) on hand I could sculpt what I needed in zBrush and just print them out. First I’d need a base for everything though.
As I would be building this in my apartment I decided a 4 sq-ft table would be the biggest I could convince my girlfriend to deal with sitting around as I worked on it. After some research and a contemplation on my laziness I decided that building a table from scratch would be too much work. So I went to Ikea and bought the cheapest tables I could. They are light, easy to take down and setup, and it took almost no effort or time on my part allowing me to focus on more important things.
Mocking out what I wanted the set for the short to look like in Autodesk Maya was next. Accuracy in this process was very important so everything was real-world scale and meticulously measured based on the table dimensions. I put an initial camera in to test out positioning and what focal lengths I’d be shooting with. This way I would know how much I needed to build and what would be in or out of frame.
Once I was comfortable with positioning and compositions it was time to start building…