Here’s the most valuable piece of information I’ve picked up so far from Part 2 on the Stan Winston stop-motion class: you’re building the set *for the camera* and not for normal view. I’m so used to dollhouses – where every item is faithfully reproduced at 1:6 scale, that this was a huge revelation. If you’re photographing a diorama (and not just looking at it) then you want to force the sense of depth perception by varying the size, shade, and details of objects as you move from front to back.
So, start building your set while looking through the camera. The objects at the front should be to scale (or maybe a little over scale), darker, and more detailed. As you move towards the back of the set, the objects should become smaller, lighter, and less detailed, till way in the back you might use a faint picture in a much smaller scale.
Anyway, that just totally changed my idea of what I was doing. I’m still loving the classes. Each one lasts about 6 hours (and I have two more to go this month) and you’re basically just watching the three brothers playing in the (set) dirt with dolls. Really, really great stuff. I have pages of notes, but I suspect if I really start building a set, I may have to invest in the DVD so that I can keep going back to it.