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How to Create a Hobbit-Sized Illusion


Ever wondered how they create a Hobbit-sized person like those found in movies like Lord of the Rings? While "green screen" is the popular answer, this tutorial will show you everything you need to know about forced perspective, a technique which allows you to create these illusions in-camera.

To pull this off, the most important thing is the set and props. You need items that have a similar shape, but different sizes. I used an orange and a tangerine, an espresso dish set and a regular dish set, and bread and cheese cut smaller and larger. Anything you want to have in your image can work (like candles), as long as you have similar items in a small and large size.

You'll also need to create a table that has two parts. I used two pieces of cardboard to create a table, but you could use wood or some other material. The different sections need to be different heights as well, so I used books to elevate one side.

The Final Look


Watch the Full Tutorial

The mechanics of this video are geared toward getting the 1:1.3 ratio that is specific to hobbits. However, if you are looking to create any smaller mythical people, figure out how small specifically you are trying to make them, and you can calculate the new camera to subject distances required. Half height? Multiply the human distance by .5 or the hobbit distance by 1.5.

Any size can be created using this technique. Give it a try and tell us all about it in the comments!

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