What really makes a western is the rugged old wooden saloon doors that creak when they open leading to a dark dingy little saloon with wanted posters plastered all over the walls right????
Apart from really old photographs and movie sets theres not alot to go by so I found abit of historical information about saloons on the net.
'A Western saloon is a kind of bar particular to the Old West. Saloons served such customers as fur trappers, cowboys, soldiers, gold prospectors and miners, and gamblers. The first saloon was established at Brown’s Hole, Wyoming, in 1822, to serve fur trappers. The popularity of saloons in the nineteenth-century American West is attested to by the fact that even a town of 3,000 residents, such as 1883’s Livingston, Montana, boasted 33 saloons.' (www.wikipedia.org)
The batwing saloon doors are most commonly associated with the saloons of the old west and so it looked like that was one feature we were definately going to use on our set design.
We also decided as a group we could cut down our time by not creating full sets as we could take advantage of the type of shots that are shown in westerns. Looking from the storyboard we only need 2 backgrounds and a floor for one of the scenes so rather then spending time on the full set we decided to only do what was neccesary.
Exterior of a saloon
These are a few pictures I took when I visited Universal studios in Los Angeles and saw some of the sets used in the movies. The detail on these sets are amazingly accurate and they really give a sense of the old west. This is the kind of look we wanted to approach. The front of the saloon was created by Mohammed of which he took his inspiration from Back to the Future 3.
This would create the background for the first scene of which we used the same piece of set and all I did was simply stain it and we could use it as the inside part as well as the outside.
The set itself was also designed to be practical in terms of the animation. As the character of Trinity had holes drilled into his feet, and the floor of the set was an elevated piece of plastic, that meant we could drill holes into the set and bolt down the character in order to animate him walking alot easier.
This helped keep the character bolted down and as the legs are not seen in the shot, this means that we could focus more on the upper body when animating and not have to worry about holding the character down from the legs or feet.