taking one frame at a time since 1999

 i was wondering if anyone knows how they might have made the trees and or grass for this set im stumped .

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I don't know what they used, only what I would use to get a similar look.


For my usual scale, of around 1:6, I use bits of fur fabric for grass.  I start with a yellowish/tan colour fur, then airbrush a bit of green water based paint onto it, brushing the fur with a scrub brush to spread the paint through it.  Sometimes I leave it yellowish, or add a bit of brown.  Mostly I make small clumps of grass rather than expanses of lawn.  

The one time I had to make a lot of lawn, I looked for the thinnest and smallest scale fake turf I could find at the hardware store - it was also the cheapest.  It was a little bit large maybe, but looked ok on camera.  I added some weeds - tiny plastic plants meant for an aquarium - here and there to break it up.

Some plastic aquarium plants are good for ground foliage as well. 


Often, you only see the trunks, like that photo you posted.  So I don't worry about the branches and leaves that are up high out of frame.  I have used several materials for tall straight trunks like that.  

1.  Actual branches, with some roots added at the base with wire and plaster bandage, so they don't look like just a branch stuck in the ground.  I put a screw through the set floor (1/2" or 12mm particle board) from below, into the wood to hold it, or I add a flat base in 6mm mdf that I can screw down onto the set floor from above.  I also used a Tamarillo tree that died, one piece had the roots, then the next piece from further up the trunk needed some roots added.  

2. Carved polystyrene.  Usually textured afterwards to get rid of the recognisable cell structure - I use a water based tile adhesive that sticks well and has a little bit of flex in it, then maybe a little plaster on top of that if I don't want the gritty texture.  Also good for rocks. 

3. Plaster bandage or plaster and hessian over chicken wire that is stapled to a flat profile in 12mm particle board.  The trees are just over half-round, with a flat back.  After the reinforced plaster coat is setting, I add more plaster over the top to texture it.  As it firms up, you can brush it, or score it with a nail, and get interesting pine bark effects.  It depends on how liquid or how firm and cheesy it is, what textures you can get.

4. Liquid latex reinforced with fibreglass matting, or hessian, cast in a plaster mould, to make half-round trees.  The are a hollow skin, and cn be stapled onto a flat back to support them. The tree trunk is first sculpted in clay - water based potter's clay usually - flat on a smooth board, so it is rounded on the front but with no back.  A nice bark texture can be done by scraping a block of clay with a knife, then taking the wrinkly clay that builds up on the knife and laying it onto the clay tree shape, then repeating, until it is covered.  Then a plaster one-piece mould is made.  When the plaster is set, you pry it up and remove the clay, which is easy because it open at the back.  The mould itself can also be shaped on the outside to become another, larger tree trunk.

5.  For shrubs and shorter trees where you see a lot of branches, I look for bits of bush that have a good small scale branch structure.  My best tree is made form  bit of an old grape vine, nicely twisted like something from an Arthur Rackham illustration.  I cut some of the branches off and re-stuck them on with pins and epoxy glue so the branchy ends would be closer in.  I also added roots with armature wire, covered with plaster and hessian and then textured and painted to match.

I made a couple of little Chinese/Japanese mountain pine trees from nicely shaped branches, with plastic leaves glued on.  I think they were from a little plastic Xmas tree.  I have also used some actual bits of evergreen where the foliage was compact and not with long pine needles, dried them and sprayed green paint onto them.

I think I used almost all of these kinds of trees to make the forest in my little 1 minute film Wolf Moon.  

Shot 1 is the cottage.  Shot 2, the edge of the forest, has, from left to right:

A real branch, a thin branch further back, a plaster half-round tree, a couple of polystyrene trunks, then the largest tree which is the base of the dead tamarillo bush with roots.  Then a couple more polystyrene trunks.

 The 3rd and 4th shots feature my twisty grapevine tree.  It got turned around and re-used in a few places, like all the trees, since I had to keep making a new part of the forest. The howling wolf on the rock is mostly surrounded by actual branches used as tree trunks, with dried evergreen foliage.  

At 0:36 there is an exterior shot of Granny's cottage, with a twisted polystyrene tree on the left.  Polystyrene branches were pinned with coat hanger wire and glued onto the main trunk carving.


i found this image im still trying to figure out if the leaf material here is a plastic mesh or what 

The photo is too small for me to see what the material is.  What is the name of the film?  Maybe there is more info on it.

Missing link I found the photo on the laika homepage

Some better photos here:

The long grass/ground foliage looks very similar to some of the plastic aquarium plants i have used.  Except they probably wouldn't have to buy little packets from the local aquarium shop, they would have bought in bulk if that is what it is.   I still can't work out what the foliage on the pine trees is though. It almost looks like flat card, folded down the middle, and painted or printed.  Or many duplicates cast in open moulds in resin maybe.  I can't tell.  

The trunks could be made individually, or sculpted/moulded and duplicates cast in epoxy resin or plaster or whatever, lots of ways to get that look.

There is an Art of Missing Link book, but I don't have it.

Also here - some close up shot of the ground foliage.  Scroll down and click on an image of several photos joined together, the top left one showing forest.  You can then see each photo, much larger:

here's the where i found the photo Missing Link - Gallery - LAIKA Studios

you can get a large view of the image and you can see what appears to be like a green mesh being used to make one of the trees 

Is this the one you mean?  The link goes to the Gallery page, but not to an individual photo.  I screen grabbed it.

It looks like the pine foliage is printed on paper or card, or maybe styrene sheet, and cut out.  (If it was styrene sheet, it could also be vac formed and given some raised texture and shape.) Possibly laser cut, cutting all of those individual fronds out with scissors would be incredibly slow and tedious.  Or some kind of shaped stamp like a cookie cutter, more like an industrial method for mass production than individually hand crafted?   When I think of doing that myself, I would definitely be looking into some company that could produce hundreds or thousands of them for me.  

Then, the card or whatever it is, is glued to a wire and folded over a bit, and the wire goes into the tree trunk.

It like looks like there's a soldering block on the table which raises the question of I'd the trunk made of metal I know they made metal trees for paranorman I'm. .mostly curious about the grass and the leaves cause I already have trunks made from wood dowels ranging from 1-5 inches I just really like the look of the pine leafs they made but I have settled for a different method until I can figure out this one i cane up possiblely the most effective system of creating and adding leaves I have to share it sometime you can basically remove and replace whole sections of leaves.

The pine foliage could be sheet metal, and soldered to the wire in the middle I guess.  That would make sense, it would be stable and not move during the shot.

Il look into this and in the mean time I'm gonna try to find someone I know who she one of those I think they are called crickets or circuits what ever rits called it done of those paper cutting printer things and see ifs possible to make something similar inorder to test your card stock theory

okay so what ive done is bought pvc drainage pipes which are 4-6 inches wide created bark with clay and other materials stained it with a redwood deck stain and then i found out they used a combination of  preserved leaves and paper leaves and plates for floral 

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