Saturday, 28 May 2011

Experiments - The grass is always greener


After deciding on the type of grass I was going to make I decided to experiment with different materials to discover how suitable the material would be for my intended outcomes and to find out what techniques and processes could be used to achieve different outcomes.
The outcome I wanted was a material and technique that was good for making a large amount of grass as quickly as possible, I also want something that will be appropriate for my audience by looking real enough to communicate that idea visually to the viewer. I also wanted the grass to be long because Alice had shrunk in the story and the correct length of grass could help to communicate that visually.

materials used

green bin liner
green plastic sheet

I only used a few materials for the grass experiments but I used a wide range of techniques to create different outcomes.
Here are some images of my experiments.

Green bin liner

Quality and suitability of material

I have chosen this thin plastic to experiment with because I think it will be a good material for creating realistic looking grass. I think that thin plastic is a good material to use because it is flexible,light and can be stuck easily, it is easy to work with so it would be good for making large quantities of grass.

Potential and limitations of material

Thin thin green plastic is not sturdy enough to make anything that needs to stand up straight like blades of grass however it is perfect for making clumps of grass because of that fact.

Visual communication and appropriateness

I think that the green colour and the shape of this grass will help to communicate visually to the viewer that it is grass and not just a load of green plastic stuck together. I think that this experiment may not be appropriate for the the grass in the scene because it flops over and the grass is meant to be long.

Experiment 1

I used a green plastic bin liner to make this experiment. I cut strips of this material about 2 inches in thickness,then cut it along the length to make a sort of frilled comb effect. I then stuck each layer down next to each other. The thinness of the material made it flop over looking like clumps of grass.

experiment 2

I used the same technique as in the previous example except I doubled up the plastic, it didn't make much difference if anything it looked worse for it. The double thickness did just make this example look like a load of snipped plastic stuck down i don't think it communicated the idea of real grass at all and was not appropriate for my audience because of that.

Thick plastic sheet

Quality and suitability of material

I have chosen this thick plastic sheet to experiment with because It is a colour that is more like grass than the previous plastic and it is strong enough to fold and bend to make blades of grass. Because of this I think it will be a good material for creating realistic looking grass. It cuts easily with scissors it is easy to work with so it would be good for making large quantities of grass.

Potential and limitations of material

This thick plastic sheet is easy to work with makes it a good material to use it maintains it shape without falling if folding at really long lengths but unfortunately it does not stick easily to anything which may be a problem for covering large areas.

Visual communication and appropriateness

I think that the mid green colour and how this material holds it shape will help to communicate visually to the viewer that it is grass providing it is cut in the right way to create a realistic looking shape. Providing I can find a method to stick this grass down, I think it will be most appropriate to create the grass for my scene.

experiment 1

The way that I have cut this material to different lengths looks really effective, I have stuck it down with staples which works moderately well unless the grass is moved alot then they will come undone. This method of sticking the material may be a problem if characters move the grass on the scene. This method is quite time consuming and i would not be able to make large quantity's of grass quickly and easily which was one of my intentions.

Experiment 2

The way that this material has been cut and the stiffness of the material has made this experiment look like a lot of green combs all lined up which does not visually communicate my intentions. It does not look like grass so it not be an appropriate material to use because it will not appeal to my target audience.

Most appropriate outcome

After experimenting with ways of creating grass I thought that the material was suitable particularly the green plastic sheet however i didn't think that any of the techniques I had used were suitable or appropriate for the grass for my scene so i decided to find some examples of how they made grass for professional stop motion scenes to see if this would help me at all.

I found some images online showing some grass for a stop motion animation scene there were no instructions on how to make it but the image showed all I needed, the shape and the arrangement of the grass.

The grass looked like it was made by cutting out alot of strips of green material curling the edges round and sticking it in rows. I thought I would try this technique to see how it worked. As it looked like it would be appropriate for my intended outcome because it covered a large area, was long and was realistic enough to communicate the the audience that it was grass and also to be appreciated by the target audience.

This idea worked. I found a method of joining the material so that it stuck down, I used double sided sticky tape.
I took 4 4inck strips of the green plastic sheet and placed them on top of each other then i cut zig zags down all 4 at once and it worked, even if some parts were a little untidy and uneven the grass looked realistic enough, then i stuck it down in layers and folded the edges around with a pencil so that they would curve slightly like in the example image that i found on the web.

I decided that this was how i was going to make the grass for my it was the most appropriate method as it was quick and easy to make and I could cover a large area quickly. I also felt that the shape and colour of it made it realistic enough to appeal to my target audience.

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