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Models and Miniatures in a Digital Age


Fon Davis
Last week, more than 70 people attended “Models and Miniatures in A Digital Age” at 32TEN Studios where attendees learned about models and miniatures used in feature films.

This event featured some of the world’s best practitioners and was the first in a series of lectures and workshops to be presented as part of 32TEN Studios’ “Professional Workshop Series” for filmmaking professionals and film enthusiasts.

During a presentation, veteran ILM Model Shop artist Fon Davis described the pros and cons of using physical models versus CG renditions, and how those choices vary depending on the shot. He also shared some tips and tricks as he explained preproduction considerations involved in the design and fabrication of practical models. These considerations include choice of scale and of materials, budget limitations, motion control, composite shots, stop motion, etc.

A Q & A after the session included three generations of former ILM Model Makers — Lorne Peterson, Carol Bauman, Larry Tan and Pierre Maurer, who joined Davis onstage.

The documentary film, Sense of Scale, by Berton Pierce, was presented in collaboration with The Bay Area Visual Effects Society, with Pierce on hand for an additional Q & A session held after the screening.

“Fon Davis presented wonderful examples of projects where development of miniature assets proved the best option compared to using live action or digital workflow solutions,” professional workshop director for 32TEN Studios, Sean House said. “He revealed tricks of the trade used to make miniatures look full-scale and seamlessly realistic.”

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