There are so many different ways to create a compelling display with AtmosFX Decorations. Colorful light-filled presentations with chatty pumpkins and mischievous witches. Translucent ghosts that seemingly materialize out of thin air. And sometimes subtlety is the key – the mere suggestion of something that lurks in the shadows.
The grave digger from Sinister Shadows seems to be too anxious to do his job at the home of Travis Lawrence in Littleton, Colo.
“Shadows” is the operative word – AtmosFX has several decorations that are designed as silhouettes. These decorations create a different type of illusion than other AtmosFX Decorations in that they are designed to look as though something mysterious is taking place just out of sight – creating an intense sense of mystery, wonder … or dread. You might use this technique to create the suggestion that, for example, a werewolf is beginning his transformation in your house behind the drawn curtains. Or, perhaps create the sense that a flashlight reveals that someone – or something – seems to be approaching from the depths of the graveyard.
There are three AtmosFX Decorations that have been designed to be displayed as a shadow or silhouette. Some are family-friendly and others are decidedly not. They are:
- Shades of Evil – One of AtmosFX’s earliest, the four individual decorations contained herein focus on the macabre, most of which are not for the faint of heart.
- Tricks and Treats – A family-friendly decoration, Tricks and Treats features classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and the werewolf.
- Sinister Shadows – This decoration collection focuses on the eerie feeling you get when you enter an abandoned cemetery armed only with a lantern or flashlight.
In addition, there are two other Halloween-themed AtmosFX Decorations that contain scenes created as a silhouette: Zombie Invasion! and Night Stalkers decoration collections. And for those who like to decorate for Christmas, Santa’s Visit Decoration Collection also has scenes created as silhouettes.
Pro tip: Because AtmosFX Decorations that are created as shadows are less detailed than, for example, full-color decorations, this gives you a great opportunity to use a projector with a lower lumen count or lower resolution. The silhouette modes will still look great on this lesser projector, and it allows you to use more powerful projectors elsewhere in your display.
So what are some good ways to display AtmosFX Decorations in silhouette mode? We have some great ideas for you.
Silhouettes in the Window
When the animators at AtmosFX first started creating digital decorations, one of the first ideas was projecting onto windows, creating the illusion to everyone outside that something mysterious was happening inside. To this day, it is still one of the most popular decorating techniques.
It is not hard to see why. Once you place Window Projection Material onto the window and project onto it, you can make it appear as though nearly anything is happening inside. Decorations made as silhouettes create the illusion that the blinds are closed. And, perhaps most importantly, it creates the illusion that whoever is behind those blinds would prefer that you did not see it!
That’s certainly the case when Dracula, as happens in Shades of Evil, approaches a victim, has a quick snack, then turns into a bat to fly away. Or, in the case of Tricks and Treats, one might get the sense that Dr. Frankenstein has the curtains drawn to hide his science experiment from inquiring eyes.
Shadows on the Walls
Surface projections are another great way to display silhouettes. And when we say surfaces we mean it – walls, ceilings, floors, anything!
There are several great advantages to projecting shadows and silhouettes this way. The first is this: It is incredibly easy. Just find a solid surface and project onto it. And because you are creating the illusion of a shadow, you don’t even need to worry about any obstructions on the surface – shrubs, windows, tree limbs, etc. – getting in the way. They just appear to be a part of the effect. In fact, they enhance the effect!
Projecting as shadows also creates great depth in busier decoration displays. For example, if you have a lot of lights, animatronics, AtmosFX Decorations in the foreground of your display, projecting shadows on a wall in the back will give your display more complexity.
Sinister Shadows is great for this. While it certainly can be displayed in windows, the decoration’s strength is projecting it on surfaces. The decoration makes it appear that strange spirits are somewhere nearby – we can see their shadows, but where are they, exactly?
The shadows are revealed by flashlight, spotlight or by lantern light – you choose – which really creates a sense of dread for all who see it. When you display Sinister Shadows on a wall at your home, you’ll enjoy watching others looking around, trying to find where those shadows are coming from!
How do others use silhouettes and shadows in their decoration displays? Check it out here!
Diedre Pena of Brunswick, Ga., displays Sinister Shadows on the side of her house, creating a sense of dread for all who see it.
Kristin W. and her husband are scientists, so they recreated Dr. Frankenstein’s lab using Tricks and Treats at their Springville, Utah, home. Read about it in the AtmosFAN Hall of Fame.
Adam Willhite uses Shades of Evil to make it appear as though Dracula has dropped in at his Atlanta, Ga., home for a quick snack.
Check out how these and other AtmosFANs have silhouettes and shadows – as well as many other techniques – in the AtmosFAN Hall of Fame!