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About MidnightOil

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  • Location
    New Albany, Ohio
  • Interests
    Dioramas that comment on current pop culture and society, often in a humorous way.
  1. MidnightOil

    Forced Perspective

    One of the benefits of creating box dioramas is the ability to control perspective. The topic of forced perspective is covered in both Shep Paine's How to Build Dioramas and Ray Anderson's The Art of the Diorama. In my diorama Witness, I attempted to create forced perspective outside the "box" so to speak. The diorama was inspired by the movie Close Encounters of a Third Kind and a modeling theme of my particular IPMS chapter to create something from the movies. I envisioned a witness to the event who has pulled his car off the highway in the mountains and observes a roadblock on the highway below and below that (on the desert floor) the alien craft by the highway with two army tanks next to it. But above this witness, is another witness who is on a desert dirt bike and spies on him through a pair of binoculars. The diorama is on four levels which represent four scales: 1/12 for the man on the dirt bike on the top level of the diorama, 1/87 HO scale for the witness who has pulled off the road on the next level, 1/160 N scale for the government roadblock on the next level and 1/220 Z scale for the tanks and the huge alien craft. The viewer looks at the diorama from the perspective of the 1/12 scale man on the dirt bike and sees the cars and highway become smaller and smaller as it is farther in the distance. Below is a side view of the various levels and the view from the viewer's perspective. An "out of the box" experience! (See planning this diorama on our site at https://midnightoilstudios.org/2018/05/13/witness/)
  2. MidnightOil

    HDR Software

    I've been using HDR for a number of years. Here is an outside photo I made of one of my models. You have to be careful not to overdo in Photomatix Pro. See outher HDR photos of dioramas I've made at https://midnightoilstudios.org/dioramas/. Some HDR, some are not.
  3. MidnightOil


    Thanks for the note Dave. One of the secrets of this method is stretching the cotton over the chicken wire rather than simply pushing cotton balls into the wire. Also, be sure to build your wire cage over your model first and not simply try to add it last. In my reference to Bjorn Jacobsen above, he advises to use LED lights that plug into an outlet as these are the ones with the most power. However, I have found that LED lights from something like a light on a headstrap work just fine. I used these in the above explosion.
  4. I make dioramas and photograph them all. You can see a number of my diorama photos at https://midnightoilstudios.org/dioramas/. While I have a good SLR camera and often shoot using High Dynamic Range, I have found that my iPhone 8+ using the ProCamera app gets great photos. One of the most interesting techniques I use is photographing dioramas against my computer screen from photos I've taken or ones downloaded from Google images. For example, the shot below is titled Deep State Swamp and features a model of the FBI Building on a piece of Burl Wood with a Woodland Scenics created swamp at the bottom and a cloudy sky in the background. The sky is on my computer screen and downloaded from Google Images. Have many other photography techniques I'll be sharin,g in future posts.
  5. MidnightOil


    Creating realistic explosions for models is not difficult but takes a little practice. You'll need the following: chicken wire, cotton balls, orange and yellow tissue paper, glue, forescent yellow and orange spray paint, flat black paint and an LED light. I blew up a 1/63 scale RV with this mixture. For a great instruction on this see the Swedish modeler Bjorn Jacobsen's site "How to do It" at http://dioramas-and-models.com/how to do it.html See the final diorama of the below on our website at https://midnightoilstudios.org/2018/07/06/desert-patriots-last-stand/
  6. Relocated to Ohio from California and joined the Colmubs chapter of IPMS. I create dioramas that comment on pop culture. More info in my profile. See the Diorama page on our website at https://midnightoilstudios.org/dioramas/