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Scared Silly
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Another choice for the ball itself is a large plastic or glass globe used for light fixtures. Very popular in the 60's & 70'sm, they are available in many sizes and finishes. they already have a protruding neck with a lip for locking them down. This gives you the opportunity to choose the dimension and style without paying big bucks to butcher someone else's prop.
Good point. I got a killer deal on the floor model spirit ball, and I still got an animated witch head out of it, plus I didn't have to build my own base for the ball....so I'm pretty happy with the way things worked out.
 

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Awesome how to Mr. Chicken! That prop is absolutely incredible

I don't know if this should be a seperate thread or not but I'll post it here first anyway...

I have a spirit globe but I really don't want to tear it apart which got me thinking of other ideas similar to this. I youtubed a video of Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion and realized that the same effect could be done by using a half torso illusion with a live actor (which I've already made) but changing it up by just using the person's head. I could then create my own soundtrack and have the person lip synch to the words to make people think that its just a prop and then freak them out by suddenly staring right at them and quckly turning back or something.

I'm just stuck at what I should be using for the globe itself. It definetely has to be bigger than one of those spirit globe props or a light fixture like fontgeek mentioned up above. Also the person's face should be lit up to get that ghost effect but it can't be blinding the actor and it can't be too bright or it will ruin the overall effect by reflecting off of the mirrors. Any ideas?
 

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Could I get a copy of the link if it is still available? You did a great job on it! I got one of the spirit ball last year on clearence for $12.50.



Thanks Rick
 

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So yeah, that's what I did. If I didn't explain anything clearly enough, I'm happy to explanify.
I'm a total After Effects N00b. Are there any suggestions you would have on how to create a similar effect? Like what did you use to create the green swirl, give the image some stabilization, etc.
 

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Scared Silly
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Well, let's see if I can remember what I did...

The green swirl:
I followed a tutorial online to make a starburst in photoshop (google that and you should come up with it)... it basically looked like this:*. It was black and white.
Then I imported that into AE, futzed with the colors to get the green, and applied one of the ripple effects to it to get it to swirl out. I made an identical rippling starburst at 50% opacity (or I may have changed the transfer mode to screen), but tweaked the ripple effect so that it was basically reversed (ie: still appears to ripple outward, but the ripples themselves are curved the opposite direction).
Finally, I made a subtract mask in the shape of Leota's head (which was on the layer below the green(s)), and a circular add mask (heavily feathered) around the whole thing, making sure no green reached the edges.

Leota's stabilization was a bit more trial and error. I used the motion tracking feature in AE (that's AE 7-- if you have AE CS4, it's in a separate application) to lock onto two or three points on her face (corners and areas of stark contrast tend to work best), then applied that tracking data as stabilization to the layer.

I think that's about all I did (aside from scaling it down appropriately, which took I lot of math that I've since forgotten). Again, if I need to clear something up, let me know. I'm happy to help.
 

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That darn silver paint..

Bobzilla: here's how you fix the double image problem
The spirit ball is spray painted with a bunch of silver paint to make it look more magical, I guess. Take some paint thinner (actually, I had to use "thinner for metalizer," because regular paint thinner wasn't strong enough)
Hope that helps.
Hey Mr. Chicken...I have been working on my Madame Leota this weekend. Got all the guts taken apart but I can't seem to get the silver off the inside of the ball easily. I tried paint thinner and mineral spirits. What was the actual stuff you used, do you recall? Did it come right off with paper towels or did you have to scrub quite a bit. It seems to be coming off with paint thinner but I really have to scrub and scrub...was curious if you used something stronger. Hadn't ever heard of thinner for metalizer before.
 

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Scared Silly
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Joisey, thanks! It's the big crystal ball. I used a nicer, but older, projector that I borrowed from a friend.

Jjm, it's called Thinner for Metalizer by Model Master. Probably from a hobby shop. Be careful with it though, you only need a little bit on a cloth to wipe the paint off. Too much and it eats away at the plastic and makes it worse. If the stuff you have is working, stick with it.
 

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Evil, Wicked, Mean, Nasty
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I wonder if goof off would work. Or do you suppose it would eat at the plastic and blur it?
 

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Scared Silly
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I've never heard of that DL. You could always do a test where no one will see it.

Remember that you don't need to clean the paint off the back of the ball unless you're going to try the rear projection method. Only the paint on the front will make any difference.
 

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I'll try a few things and post back my results. Paint thinner works, but as I said it takes some HARD scrubbing with paper towels (thankfully, as Mr. Chicken states, you only need to do half the globe).

Got to be careful not to scratch the surface too. I might try and keep my eyes open for a glass ball - not sure if one could find one that large though - maybe a hanging lamp fixture perhaps?
 

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Success!

Ok, so call me stupid, daring, or both, but I went into the garage and started to use the paint thinner to remove the silver paint. The more and more I worked (and the more my arm ached) the more daring I became (usually a bad thing). So I saw a can of furniture stripper (gel kind) on the shelf and decided to try it on an inconspicuous place. No sooner than I dabbed it on and the paint was gone to paint heaven. I wiped it off and rinsed it really well to see if it would affect the plastic at all. Seemed to be good so I tried using an old paintbrush to paint on the stripper and then remove the excess with paper towels. Problem seemed to be that it would remove the paint, but then it would sort of smear it back onto the plastic. So, since you need to use mineral spirits to clean up after using this stripper, I poured a decent amount of stripper in a metal can, added a bit of mineral spirits to make it a bit more runny and poured it into the globe. I rotated the globe around and around and the paint just disappeared. Poured the excess into a storage container for proper disposal later and then used some paper towels to clean the remaining residue. I rinsed it VERY VERY well numerous times. I now have a clean crystal ball with no silver paint.

Unfortunately (I saw this going into it) there were a decent number of scratches and swirl marks on the ball to begin with. It isn't terrible, but annoying and catches some light from the projector. I'm going to see if there is an effective way to remove/reduce the appearance of these scratches. If not, it still looks really cool - neighbor kids will love it no matter what, I'm sure.

So, I'm just stating what I did to remove the paint. I'm not recommending that anyone does this, nor am I recommending that this is the best thing to do (safety-wise). I don't want to get any emails stating they tried this and now they have a hole in their globe because something ate through it.
 

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The key to removing paint from plastic without destroying it is to use a slow evaporating thinner. Mineral spirits is very slow but very safe, thats plain ol paint thinner. Lacquer thinner is too strong and dries to fast, same with acetone. You can gin up paint thinner with very small amounts of denatured alcohol or very small amounts of acetone.

Mr. Chicken used a solvent I use for painting models. It is a slower version of enamel reducer. Fast drying solvent make metallic paint come out powdery as it dries before it hits the surface when airbrushing, the tetstor's metal paint thinner is slower so the paint can land on the surface, settle flat, and then dry.

It might be worth your while to buy a bottle at the hobby store than to buy two crystal balls.
 

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The video is wonderful! How did you down load it from the internet? I can't seem to figure it out and would love to do this in our haunt this year. We are having a Creepy circus/Funhouse them and would love to have a fortune teller. Thanks, Phyllis
 

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Scared Silly
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Thanks for that info, DC! I learned something new!

Doggieshop, honestly, I don't remember where or how I got the original footage. If you'd like to use my edited version (as seen in the videos), shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to give you the download link.
 

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Many thanks for the post and the details on your work!!!! I did my best to replicate and would up re-doing the entire audio track to get more accurate lip-synch, and dropped the music, but kept the sound effects (bell, music beyond, tamborine, etc.)

Here is a link to my beta test (in a partially lit room). Will place in a more suitable location for Halloween night.

 
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