Dwarven gate

My friend Dan asked me how did I create the Dwarven gate that was in my last film.

Well, I looked online and didn’t see anything that I liked, so I decided that I had to make it. I bulked it out first with styrofoam blocks.

styrofoam and cardboard

styrofoam and cardboard

The pins are there to hold pieces in place while the glue dries. Once I had the basic shape, I kept adding details with paper or cardboard, or balsa wood strips.

more paper

more paper

some cardboard

some cardboard

The thick cardboard was good to smooth out large flat surfaces and to hide the styrofoam texture. I added strips of balsa wood in places the cardboard wouldn’t work.

cut and pin

cut and pin

Keep cutting tiny pieces and pinning them in place while the glue dries. If you use an image of real architecture then you can add more realistic details.

paper coat

paper coat

Brown paper like you would wrap a package in works well to cover seams and odd spots. Brown paper also paints pretty well. Much better than styrofoam or cardboard.

in place

in place

The above photo shows the gate painted and done. I added a few real rocks (the reddish ones in the middle), and some other pieces of styrofoam scenery I had laying around. I took it outside and shot a ton of photos of it in real sunlight. I brought them to the computer, picked my favorite then erased any odd areas and put it on a greenscreen background in photoshop.

sky

sky

I grabbed an image of a blue sky, and added it where the greenscreen parts are.

finished

finished

This is how the finished shot could have looked. Just add some greenscreened actors and you have a dwarven gate.

Remember, this only has to last for a few hours while you photograph it, so styrofoam, wood and paper work really well. I still have this gate, it is holding up well. You may see it in the future on a new film. If you have room to store these pieces then you can slowly build up a collection. If you have no room, then they are cheap enough to throw away so your storage doesn’t get clogged up.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

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