Click on a picture to see the original version or the new version.

For more information about how this shot was created, see below!



This is the scene as it appears in cut #11 of the opening titles.
I decide to make some slight changes to the background. While we went for the same sort of brickwork, I decided to make the columns wooden beams as it would tie in better with the surrounding shots when everything was cut together.


Here Brandi cuts out the insets in the back wall of the set.


These syrofoam blocks are super handy for this type of work and Brandi had a great idea to use some spray texture for the plaster wall.


Brandi adds stain to the vertical columns using a watered down acrylic.


The bricks are painted a variety of different shades, in keeping with the original cartoon design.


Only 50 more bricks to go!

Brandi is using double back foam tape to adhere the bricks to the back wall of the set, which has been painted a moldy green.


Since the mummy required nothing special other than articulated limbs, I just started with a cheap action figure.
In retrospect, I rather like this figure as it has swivels for the limbs, which are preferred over ball and socket joints. But the face only a mother could love, I'm afraid. Fortunately, it will be covered with cloth.


I used hot melt glue to add to the brow-ridge, cheeks and chin to give a more skeletal appearance.
Sculpting with hot melt is kind of tricky but the sloppiness of it worked well for ancient mummy hide.


After a quick paint job, the mummy make up is complete!


Brandi begins the tedius task of wrapping the mummy in strips of cloth. I was going to paint the mummy brown before wrapping but Brandi thought it would be a better idea to paint it white, in case any of the bandages started to separate. Good idea.


So here's the original cartoon version of scene 11.


Here's a quick lighting test. Black, glossy plastic was used for the floor. Still missing is the large vase to the right.


After shooting the lighting test, I had the idea of adding a torch on one of the columns. So I used Photoshop to add a fake torch and Googled a picture of a flame. It's not in the original scene but I think it adds some interesting interactive lighting. I think I'll do this for the final, so I'll need to add a torch to the model set and I will have to shoot some live action flames, as well. The scene is a tracking shot of the mummy so I will have to match move the flames in post and animate interactive lighting during animation but I think it will be worth it. On the other hand, the shot without the torch looks a bit scarier in some ways. Hmmmm......I'll have to think about it.

How to make a wall-torch using junk around the house!


I looked around and found an empty can of paint, an old magnetic wand and a tube of caulk.
The circled areas are the targets of interest! ;)


I cut the tip off the caulk.


Remove the spray nozzle from the paint can.


Snip the end of the magnetic wand.


Drill a small hole at an angle in the tip.


Insert the metal stem of the wand into the tip and fill with hot melt glue.


After it cools, I then hot melt glue the paint nozzle upside down.


A quick coat of flat black spray paint hides a multitude of sins.
(The magnetic base of the wand allows it to stick to a metal bolt during painting!)


And, of course, we must have FIRE. More FIRE!

Note the HD camcorder in the foreground. I painted an emtpy chili can black and then shot the resulting flames at night in our front yard. I put the camera on progressive with a high speed shutter to "freeze" the flames on each frame of video. This will allow me to separate them for compositing with the miniature set after animation is complete.


And here's what the torch and flames look like together!
This is the final lighting test. I added a blue gel to the rim light to contrast with the warmer flame. I also simplifed the shadow across the back wall and lowered the backlight to make the shadows longer and more "mummy-ish" in nature.
(Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

Got set up for the animation of the mummy! The cut is only about 44 frames long but the set up is pretty extensive.


This is the set up for the shot. Though it is hard to see, the circled items on the ceiling and on the table are flashlights with orange gel on them. These lights are moved around randomly from one frame to the next to simulate the reflection of fire light on the wall and mummy. In the foreground you can see my laptop with an animation program that I use to keep track of the moves of the mummy as I animate. On the front edge of the table, you can see both a digital still camera as well as a regular video camera. The light levels that I shoot at are too low to use the live-view from the digital still camera for reference. So I use a small video camera next to the still camera for a reference video. Both cameras are mounted on the same mechanism as the mummy support. This way, the cameras move along with the mummy.


Another angle on the same set up. Note the overhead support with the neon green mummy-holder. This entire assembly slides along the front of the table smoothly, frame by frame. A threaded shaft near the bottom of the photo allows me to move the mummy forward in tiny increments.

Because the camera needs to make a repeat pass and must line up in exactly the same spot for each frame, I put a notch in the knob that a springy metal rod "clicks" into for each turn (see circled area). This ensures that my camera ends up in the same exact location on the second pass as the first for every frame.


Your's truly putting the mummy through his paces..
(click on the photo for a larger view)

Here's how the process works:


This is what's recorded on the first pass. No attempt is made to hide the green mummy support rod.


After animation of the mummy is complete, the camera/mummy support is moved back to the beginning. The mummy is removed from the set and a second set of stills are made of just the background as it moves past the camera, frame by frame.


In Photoshop, the green support will automatically "cut" itself out of the frame, though some extra clean up is always needed. When these two images are ovelapped in Photoshop, the missing area is "filled in" by the background captured on the second pass.


And then, finally, each frame has a flame pasted into the correct position to align with the constantly moving torch on the wall.


Together, these three layers make up the final image for each frame!

Thanks for looking!


All information, videos, photos and graphics in this website are copyright 2009, Roger Evans. All rights reserved.
For those that enjoy the creak of leather, click HERE for my gallery of western art paintings