Ok, I have been pondering over this one for a while now and can't seem to come up with a solution. I need to animate a couple of shots of limestone/ sandstone eroding as if we were looking at a time lapse. The shots have to range from one that looks like hills or mountains (but without any plants)but also close ups of a stone statues face.

I thought of casting in Some way with sand paired with something else to hold it together enough to keep its shape but soft enough to work on with a stiff brush frame By frame untill it crumbles.

Any idea's anyone?

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My first thoughts are to cast your mountains and statue out of something durable like hydrostone or ultracal and then sandblasting it/them. Take a frame of the statue, give a pass with the sandblaster nozzle to slightly erode some of surface detail and take another frame. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you get the look you want.

Dennis

I'd go with something softer and easier to erode.  ( I'd rather not do sandblasting anywhere near my camera lenses.)  I think you can mix sawdust in with plaster to weaken it someone did that recently I'm pretty sure.  So I'd mix up a test batch of ordinary casting plaster or plaster of paris, not the hard Hydrostone/ultracal stuff, add some paint to grey it down, and sawdust to make it more easily crumbled.   Then maybe a wire brush and a couple of metal tools to carve lines in like the channels cut by streams, so it erodes in an interesting way.  If it was really weak you could even spray it with water to erode it.

Another possibility could be to shape it out of water based clay - again, you'd want to colour it - and let it dry.  Or clay mixed with mud that isn't so clay-ey could make it weaker and easier to wear down.

Or wet sand, and spray it with water to erode it in a natural way?  I've had a pile of sand sitting outside that gradually eroded with the shapes you would see in a mountain, with ridges and channels in between like mountain stream beds, little tributaries coming together for form rivers.  


hey Dennis,

That technique works really well for doing the erosion look, but is far from ideal for animation I think. Either it's sand everywhere in the studio, or having to pick up the piece per frame and move it to the sandblaster cabin... The look you get when using this technique is pretty cool though. I added a pic.
Dennis Heinzeroth said:

My first thoughts are to cast your mountains and statue out of something durable like hydrostone or ultracal and then sandblasting it/them. Take a frame of the statue, give a pass with the sandblaster nozzle to slightly erode some of surface detail and take another frame. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you get the look you want.

Dennis

Thanks Nick for the many idea's!

There are some nice options and combinations you suggest. I think I will do some tests with a couple of them. I hadn't thought of clay. It might be a very good idea to mix it up with sand or mud like you suggest. If I add enough sand, just the water alone dissoling the clay may work enough to make the thing crumble. Who knows...

StopmoNick said:

I'd go with something softer and easier to erode.  ( I'd rather not do sandblasting anywhere near my camera lenses.)  I think you can mix sawdust in with plaster to weaken it someone did that recently I'm pretty sure.  So I'd mix up a test batch of ordinary casting plaster or plaster of paris, not the hard Hydrostone/ultracal stuff, add some paint to grey it down, and sawdust to make it more easily crumbled.   Then maybe a wire brush and a couple of metal tools to carve lines in like the channels cut by streams, so it erodes in an interesting way.  If it was really weak you could even spray it with water to erode it.

Another possibility could be to shape it out of water based clay - again, you'd want to colour it - and let it dry.  Or clay mixed with mud that isn't so clay-ey could make it weaker and easier to wear down.

Or wet sand, and spray it with water to erode it in a natural way?  I've had a pile of sand sitting outside that gradually eroded with the shapes you would see in a mountain, with ridges and channels in between like mountain stream beds, little tributaries coming together for form rivers.  

Well, I just assumed you'd hang a drop cloth curtain (with a glass or plexiglass window to shoot through) around your set to contain the sand and vacuum in-between takes. 

I did something similar years ago when I was routing contours in polyurethane foam for landscape models, I thought it might work in this instance too. I understand the concern. ;)

Hi Jasper. Have you thought of using actual sandstone?

I once did a time-laps of a face changing on Portland stone. You'll find it here on minute 1.01  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkfkokM3_dU

The same can be done by sanding down the stone after chipping it if you want a smoother effect. Obviously if you do it indoors you control the lighting and every thing else.

It works o.k. It is relatively quick but it takes some doing.

On the plus side, I guess it does look like stone because it is stone.

I hope this helps

Hi Gustavo,

Wow, I never considered actually doing it in real stone! It looks very nice. Thanks for sharing that!

I might just try that if the other things fail. I would prefer casting because I allready have the mould of the puppet so I could just make a duplicate of the face in another material. Saves me a whole lot of sculpting :)

HI,

you could use hidrochloric acid (5%-10%) on limestone and you will get the erosion effect. However working with acids is dangerous even at that low concentration.

What about trying a mix of easily water dissolvable items like alea salt and/or light and brown sugars? Now binding them together without them dissolving when making it could be a different matter. You might be able to get away with using PVA and glycerol as a plastecizer and having these items as fillers and cross-link the mix with a borax solution.

Rodger that. Looking forward to watching the sequence regardless of the method you settle for.

Jasper Kuipers said:

Hi Gustavo,

Wow, I never considered actually doing it in real stone! It looks very nice. Thanks for sharing that!

I might just try that if the other things fail. I would prefer casting because I allready have the mould of the puppet so I could just make a duplicate of the face in another material. Saves me a whole lot of sculpting :)

Thanks Iulian and Shea,

Both great idea's actually! Working with acid sounds tempting... 
Allways in for something new.

@ Gustavo. It might take a while before there are sequences to show. These shots are all the way at the end of my shooting schedule, but I will definately post results and findings by then!

Hi guys! 
Ok, I realise that I started this thread allmost a year ago, but time flies. So it took me a while to get to that erosion shot... Actually turned out to be the very last shot to be animated on teh whole film haha! 

In the end the simplest way turned out to be the best for me.
I deliberately mixed up plaster to be britle by not adding enough water and mixing in a lot of super fine stone powder (normally used as a filler for resin). I mixed up three different batches at the same time. Two lumpier ones that I mixed in with the third. This way there were different harnesses in the end material. 

I just used a stiff brush and some sanding paper to allso work away at the harder lumps and shot the thing frame by frame, vacuming every time before capturing.
I used a macro lens to make it look like a huge landscape, but in reality, what you are looking at is like 10 cm wide. 

Ok, so again, thanks a lot for thinking along!

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