A concept design is thought out, then than concept design is put to paper, this is the sketch. The sketch is drawn out on paper, incorporating all of the characters and supporting items which will be in the sculpture. Later a sketch is created in clay in 3 dimensions.
This helps to prompt new ideas, and many times you discover things which you had not previously thought of in your head. Next is to have live models pose in varying positions. In the case of the Big Nativity project, we had our models dress in attire fitting of a nativity scene, and we positioned the models in the stance which would be used for the finished sculptures. The body position on the maquettes and the sculptures get adjusted many times, so you don’t need to get too hung up on how the models look. Besides, they get tired of sitting in one position, so you have to keep moving.
Once good images are taken of all of the models, including Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Wise Men, and Shepherds, then it is time to move onto your more difficult subjects – the animals. Animals sometimes are still enough for good still images, sometimes not. You take what you can get, the important thing is photos in all angles. Many times the backgrounds are removed or the photos are taken against a green screen so the background can be removed. This makes it a little easier to focus on your subject, especially when images are re-sized to scale.