This blog is here to document my latest 2009 project, an extensive recreation of the Disney 1954 movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea through a series of detailed miniature dioramas, all contained under my model railroad table. This will be a "crawl-thru" type attraction (What is a crawl-thru? Read about it here).

Like Disney, I usually tend to keep everything under-wraps until I unveil the final product at the end. However, by keeping everything a secret, I end up not taking any photos of my projects and it is often disappointing to not have any documentation in the end showing how everything worked and was constructed. This time, however, I will document every step in the process of the creation of the project with photos and drawings (and maybe some video) illustrating each leg of the construction. Even though the posts here will be chock-full of spoilers, it will show the amount of work that goes into this and other projects--which is often under-appreciated.

This blog includes weekly updates that consisted of notes, ideas, photos, and maybe some video of what was worked on each week up until the estimated completion date of December 2009. (It was officially finished on December 10th, 2009).

August 23, 2009

8/23/09 Update

I'm slowly catching up with the scene a month schedule that I set for myself; if I can get the next scene done this month, I'll be in good shape and caught up. But that's not the case at this point. This last week I finally finished the shark attack scene and I'm starting the next scene, Nemo playing his organ. Before I get to that, I installed the shark scene under the table on Saturday. When I did that, I realized how much work is going to be needed when I finish up the entire project by cleaning up all the viewing windows, essentially putting the matte on the canvas, and theming it appropriately at the same time. That's going to take a lot of time (and material) to put together and I want as much time as I need to that aspect if I want to complete the project by the second week of December (rough estimate date). With that in mind, I trying to get the next 3-4 scenes done as fast as I can, but still maintaining the same quality. I have to use my time wisely, as my free time isn't as much as it use anymore with a college soaking up a good chunk out of each day.

Anyways, as mentioned, I finished the shark attack scene. All it needed since the last update was more coral details, the water effect and final installation. The water effect was not an easy thing to add on because of the complexity of the mechanism in the small space, not allowing for adequate room for the effect. However, I did manage to squeeze it in on the right and it looks pretty good. The one thing I have not done yet is add the bubble box, but that is undergoing leak tests and needs some equipment before it can be installed. Other than that, the scene is fin shed.

Here's a pano shot of the scene (not the best picture) despite the absence of the "bubble box":

and here's a video that I put together, demonstrating the animation in the scene, as well as show how it all works.


With that scene out of the way, it's time to focus on the next scene: Nemo playing his organ.

Now this scene isn't necessarily a key scene in the story, but it is a very memorable one. I'm working on a line of scenes that tell the story and scenes that are me memorable and fun, since I don't want to bore the audience with scenes that are important in the story, but aren't necessarily that entertaining. So I'm trying to do a balance of both. This one is mainly a memorable one, but also shows Nemo's rage and madness (he isn't as calm in this organ session as he is earlier in the movie).

This set will be showing the complete organ with Nemo playing it with his back towards the viewer. That way I won't have to sculpt another James Mason head considering his face is the hardest to recreate. This will be a highly detailed set with an accurate organ, which will make up for the lack of detail for the organ in the dinner scene. The set will go where the spot E is on the drawing in this post.

When I determined the spot size, I scaled drawings accordingly to this size and I'll build the set off of that. The base is fairly small for this set, which is good for when I work at my desk. The hole in the masonite base below is the recessed area for the organ.

Since the construction process is very similar to that of the Dinner scene, hopefully the set should be built quickly and smootly.

Like the Dinner scene, there is a bit of forced perspective going on, but it isn't much.