• Incorporate two kinds of perspective, birds-eye or plan view, and front or elevation view to make their set.

  • Practice scenic design and creative problem-solving by studying their environment, identifying elements of interest, using those elements to generate a scenic design concept, and executing that design concept with available materials.

  • Use 3D methods to create a 2D image.

  • Understand and practice scale relationships by sizing objects to match their body or their constructed scene.

  • Use photography or cinematography to transform a scenic design into an invented space through camera distance, camera angles, and framing.

“Bird’s-Eye Backgrounds” is a set design activity in which participants find visual and material inspiration in their neighborhoods to construct a hand-made background or set for photos or videos. Everything is constructed on the floor, from a bird’s-eye perspective, with craft materials and found objects. Participants can advance their project by transforming available materials to create a costume or character that matches their background or set.

Find the lesson outline here

Materials Needed

  • Fabric

  • Clothing

  • Colorful paper

  • Large paper or drawing surface

  • Drawing media

  • Scissors

  • Non-damaging tape

  • Toys

  • Household objects

  • Unobstructed floor space

  • Camera or phone

About the creator

woman lays in crafts

Petra Floyd

Petra Floyd is a first-generation Liberian-American visual artist and designer raised by working class immigrants in Philadelphia. She collaborates with creative communities across disciplines to conjure up new social and cultural spaces. Her visual art and design practices extend and inform each other, overlapping in her manipulations of time and space. On the stage and in her studio, she uses drawing, sculpture, performance, and spatial design to meditate on shared cultural inheritances and use them to build new worlds again and again. Petra lives in Pittsburgh, where she is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University School of Art’s MFA program and a Freshworks Artist-in-Residence at Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Petra has worked with BalletX, Camden Repertory Theater, Simpatico Theatre, University of Pennsylvania’s Theatre Arts Program, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and Lighting Rod Special.