CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fun with Fabrication

InPark Magazine: The physical themed environments in theme parks, museums, zoos, family entertainment centers, exhibits, aquariums and other visitor attractions are the product of multiple skills and disciplines. They include concept design, structural design, sculpting, digital sculpting, mold making, casting, 3D scanning, 3D printing, CNC foam carving, wood work, metal machining, welding, hard coating, fiberglass work, and painting.

I have found that there are typically multiple techniques that can be utilized through the fabrication process to achieve the desired results. Experienced fabricators will know which techniques are going to be the most efficient and effective for the project at hand.

7 comments:

Xinyi Wang said...

It seems like there is a surprising amount of intersection between theme entertainment and theater. Both involve story-telling. Both require complicated engineering and design. And both experiment with cutting-edge technology, proposing a vision for the future of entertainment. Also, there is a huge emphasis on cross-discipline collaboration and resource management as well. When people think of theme park entertainment, they often only think of the rides, the huge-scale architectures, and the characters running around taking pictures with guests. Based on what I have learned about this business, the essence of theme parks is still very story- and character-driven. Its purpose is to provide guests with an immersive experience with their favorite stories and characters from film and TV productions. Since "immersion" is so important for theme park design, it requires a lot of engineering and design to engage all senses of the guests and make the whole experience satisfying. Another article on this site talks about the involvement of VR and AR in theme entertainment. VR and AR are revolutionizing the sense experience of film, theater, theme parks, concerts, etc etc. Right now people are obsessed with it because it is new, it looks weird, and it feels weird. But in the future, I am very looking forward to seeing it not so much as an exotic new toy, but as a versatile medium for creative storytelling.

Claire Krueger said...

The importance of starting a project early and alotting the necessary time needed is crucial in my opinion, and it follows over into this example on how the early bird gets the worm bleeds over into almost every discipline. Start early, get a fabrication team, save the hassle and money. Working with a team of full rounded professionals will produce better results, and it goes without saying you get what you pay for. Networking seems to be an intriquite part of this, like it is anything else. The article even states going with a company the customer is familiar with or is locally known can lead to a higher probability of being chosen.
While not much information was given a fabrication team seems like an interesting job and I will definitely be looking into it.

Drew Himmelrich said...

If nothing else this article has informed me about a bunch of scenic studios that I had not heard of. Beyond that, this article was extremely informative about the work that goes into a project at a big studio. I have been excited about the prospect of working in a commercial shop for a while because of the cool and large work that goes on there. This article contains a lot of cool information about the project management side of creating themed environments and the client relationship. I think the project management aspect of a commercial shop is somewhere where I might fit best because I like working with people and helping an idea come to fruition. When I talked to a project manager at Hudson Scenic this summer she was telling me about all the meetings she has and the type of work she does to help a client, and all of what she said was reflected in this article and has me excited for a potential future in the industry.

Chris Calder said...

The fascinating thing for me about set pieces for themed entertainment is that they have to last for such a long time and still have to be built under some serious time constraints. Like the article says, the faster you want it the more it will cost you. For most of the families that walk past these towering beasts see them as a cartoon shaped dragon or a cute animated character but behind that fiberglass shell there is a pretty sophisticated masterpiece that makes it structurally sound. Some of these fabrication shops get some pretty outlandish requests and it is their job to make them happen in the time allotted. I think the coolest thing about the article is when they talk about time is money, it is astounding how much people are willing to pay for these set pieces. When is comes to the visual aspects of the design and making sure the entire message can be received companies spare no expense.

Cosette Craig said...

I never thought about how closely related the different forms of entertainment were until I started working in theater. The skills I use everyday are used in theme parks and television shows alike. These business principals also apply perfectly to graphic design (something I used to do for extra money). If it's fast it wont be cheap or good and vice versa. I feel like this also applies to most artistic fields because not only is the lead time on fabrication materials long, but the artistic process is very long and drawn out if you want a fully formed idea. This article is just a perfect example of how fields collaborate and borrow from eachother to make weirdly specific things like a giant rubber shark or the set of the lion king.

Sasha Schwartz said...

I had my first experience with scenic fabrication this summer, while interning at Mystic Scenic Studios, which advertises itself as a fabrication company. I remember being overwhelmed at the sheer size of the shop (bigger than a Home Depot, 100+ workers), especially since the only shops I had to compare it to were educational theater scenery shops, which are often divided solely between carpentry and paints (and in our case, welding). Mystic had dozens of shop sections which were very specific, including separate paint and finishing shops, and multiple different carpentry “sectors” including metal, wood, lamination, and a whole section dedicated to a huge CNC router. While I didn’t get the opportunity to work on any “themed entertainment” scenery pieces during my time there, I was able to have a small part in multiple fabrication jobs outside of theater/opera. I think this article does a good job of exploring the sheer scopes of fabrication for scenery that expands much farther than just a few pieces. And I think everything they said about the importance of art direction and clear and concise renderings/ draftings is good to note; if I learned anything this summer, it was how closely the technicians followed the information they were given. Also, when you’re dealing with so many different experts working separately in their own small shop within a large shop, it’s important for them to all be able to work off of the same information and create a cohesive final product.

Nick Waddington said...

throughout my short career in theater, i have seen multiple shows put under horrible strain due to poor time management, and it leads to a drop in quality. I would personally love to be part of a fabrication team, i think creating, not a prop,but a glimpse into another storyline would be exsctly what i look for in theater. This article provided great insight into how different aspects of theater work together to come through with a great production piece.

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