I took some photos of the miniature castle set the other night. I took some in the daylight but got too much white glare. So, I took some at night but it was too dark. Then I found a yellow light bulb and took some more.
So, it looks great. Yay. You can use flashlights and household lights to light your scene. Take tons of photos from a bunch of different angles. The more you build in real life, the better it looks and the easier it is put together. But it is easy to fix things left undone in photoshop. You can see in my image I left plenty of background rubbish. If I am just going to use a still image and not video then this is a really easy fix. I put the raw image in photoshop and erase out all the garbage areas. I fill it in with bright green.
It took about 15 minutes or so, no big deal for a single frame.
Now I found some images online, keyed out the green with the magic wand, and filled in the background with some rocky cliff pictures.
Match the lighting the best you can and you now have a workable background. Just film your heroes in front of the greenscreen, then add them walking across that bridge. Or film your dragon puppet flying around, then greenscreen him right on top of this background image.
The more you can fabricate, the more realistic it will be. But eventually you reach a point where you are bored, or out of money and decide to stop. This is where your photoshop skills will come in to play.
Here are a few more images.
Even though the ground is missing, the other tower is perfect perspective and has perfect shadows and highlights because it really exists.
That image is untouched. You can see the yellow hue from the yellow bulb I am holding while I photograph it.
With a real model, you can shoot many different angles and intercut them with the main image. Heroes cross the bridge, dragon flys overhead, we cut to the shot as the dragon flys through the arches.
I uploaded the entire set of photos to my facebook album. You can see all the images here:
I give you permission to use these images in your film if you would like. I would love to see what you create.
Go ahead, make a miniature castle set, have some fun.