Weathering” your Set and Characters

Fantastic effects can be created by using paint and other natural materials. When creating the exterior of buildings, make sure to use multiple coats of paint in varying tones of the same shade. You may want to apply darker colored washes in-between coats to add an even more realistic touch. Play around with your brush. Most buildings are not shiny and smooth. Bricks are rough, wood has grain and texture, even concrete has chips and imperfections. As you build your layers of paint, do not be concerned about applying soft, side-to-side strokes. Repeatedly push the bristles straight into the paint in a stabbing motion. Increase this agitation in some areas more than others. Go back to your paint and dip the brush in lighter and then darker colors, using your finger and the bristles to flick some areas of your set with each new application. This will give a more dimensional feel to your buildings.

Are you using a tin roof, or would you like to create a rusty metal boat? Perhaps your character’s car is badly in need of repair. Take your metal material and scratch it judiciously with steel wool. Leave it out in the rain. Burn parts of it to give it an old-time, weathered feel. You can also use a hammer or a screwdriver to add a few dents or small indentations.

If you are painting a street, allow the surface to dry almost completely before using a crumpled paper towel to dab at the area. Use as much pressure as you wish in order to add some texture to your “paved” surface. You can also add oil marks after the fact by applying a very dark wash or stain to certain areas either before or after the final coat of street paint. Skid marks can be carefully applied using a dull-colored pastel crayon, and faded if necessary by going over the lines with a damp paintbrush.

One of the best ways to weather your objects is to add actual dirt. If you are painting a wall grey, add a large cup of soil to your paint. The paint will dry as normal, and you will have an incredible texture to whatever surface you treat. For last minute touch-ups, use your fingertip to rub cold ash on objects or surfaces. It will age them instantly.

Shiny, one-dimensional sets may look nice up close, but they can stand out like a sore thumb on film. Adding these final details will ensure that your project achieves maximum believability with the audience.