December 17, 2010

First "Wizard's Crag" Prototype!

The first prototype of my "Wizard's Crag"paper model is complete! I am VERY happy with the results! For the cliffs I applied an overlay of crinkled paper with the stone texture printed on it and it looks amazing! The model is 14.5 inches (38cm) wide, 11.5 inches tall (30cm).

Anyone who has followed my progress on past paper model projects knows it is a very long process.
This os the first of several more prototypes that need to be constructed in order to fine tune the details and geometry. Then I must create the construction diagrams and write the instructions, which takes quite a while.
Bottom line...completion will not be before mid winter.

UPDATE: December 22,2013-  I've received many inquiries about the status of this particular blog post.  In more recent posts I explained that this model kit is essentially dead in the water.  Warner Bros will not permit me to release Wizards Crag (as a free download or purchase) without it being an officially licensed product.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find an interested licensee.  Without a license, I risk legal action by the owners of the properties.  Right side
Top view

December 13, 2010

More "Wizard's Crag" Progress

December 13, 2010
This is the first time all of the prototype elements have been brought together. The cliffs will have a printed stone texture but I am also providing a second sheet of "stone" which the builder can crinkle and apply as a very convincing dimensional overlay. You can't see it in this photo but the cliff is "bumpy".

December 9, 2010
Here is a prototype of the lower buildings beneath the astronomy tower.
I have moved on to the cliffs, which are already looking pretty interesting.

December 4, 2010

More "Wizard's Crag" Progress

Here is the prototype of the Great Hall.

Here are all of the prototype structures so far.

December 2, 2010

My Interview

Tim Girard, who wrote a very nice article about Haunted Dimensions for Xomba a couple of weeks ago, asked to interview me as a follow up. Here it is. Thanks, Tim!

The Ray Keim Interview

November 28, 2010

A Return to "Wizard's Crag"

I have picked up where I left off on the "Wizard's Crag" project.
I needed a little inspiration, so I jumped ahead and built a prototype of the great tower, which will sit on the shelf in front of me and taunt me to complete the rest of the model.

November 24, 2010

Connected to the Web

Trent sent me photos of his mansion models which have been displayed
on a shelf for long time. He proudly states that "the spider webs are REAL!"

November 8, 2010

A Very Nice Article About Haunted Dimensions!

Tim Girard wrote a very nice article about Haunted Dimensions and my paper models for

"Ray is a true contributor. In our genre of mediocrity we could use a whole ton more like Ray!
Don't hesitate to check him out! It is well worth your time!"

Wow! Thank you so much, Tim!

Read the article here,

November 6, 2010

Halloween Success!

Our Halloween projects made for a spectacular Halloween evening!
The battery tealights worked wonderfully in the 35 jack-o-lanters, and Sam made every trick or treater approach with caution. Sam was backup up by a fog machines that shot a blast randomly, scaring several of the little scamps to near tears (although not so scared that they didn't continue to the porch to get the candy)! Everyone had a great time and we were told that our house was the best!

November 3, 2010

“So shines a good deed in a weary world”

Two years ago I received an email from April who lives in Toronto. April told me how she built the Phantom Manor Cookie House (based on my free pattern available at Haunted Dimensions), and donated it to a United Way raffle. It was a HUGE success, and raised lots of money! Her story touched me deeply and added a new dimension to my models and projects!

Well, April is back!

"The house was again used as a bucket raffle item and apparently there was quite a war between two of the lawyers here, both of whom were buying a lot of tickets in an attempt to win the house. The lawyer who won the house had originally intended to take it home to her three children but decided instead to donate it to Ronald McDonald House ( It was a double win for your karma this year!"

April was forwarded an email from the Toronto Ronald MacDonald House, along with photos of the kids enjoying her creation! The email said that the cookie house was a huge hit at the Halloween party held for the families and children staying at the house. It was displayed, then happily eaten! The photos, which I am not at liberty to share, brought tears to my eyes. Seeing families and kids who are going through unspeakable trauma, yet smiling and happily exploring a gingerbread house, was overwhelming!

It is a wonderful example of a good deed being handed down from one person to the next, brightening the lives of many.

Thank you so much, April!

“So shines a good deed in a weary world”~ Shakespeare & Willy Wonka

October 31, 2010


It's the big night!
As always, I appreciate your continued interest and support of my sites and projects!

Halloween in America is part of our cultural heritage. The traditions and stories of Halloween in the U.S. represent the melting pot of world cultures who have gathered here. Those who shun, fear and misrepresent Halloween, for whatever agenda, are diminishing that "spirit" which binds us.

However, I'm preaching to the choir here! You guys "get it"!
So for all of you in the U.S. and around the world, I hope you all have a spectacular, spooky and safe Halloween!

October 30, 2010


I've been working on several Halloween projects and have also been derelict in my duties of keeping Haunted Dimensions up to date! Sorry about that!

First, take a look at our most recent project.
This is "Sam" from the movie "Trick 'r Treat"! Mrs. K and I built him over the course of the last week. Mrs. K sewed Sam's jammies and cowl, while I supplied the armature, construction and lollipop. BTW - the lollipop is real! i made it from melted orange Lifesaver candies! I wanted to make it out of transparent orange plastic, but couldn't find anything within the amount of time we had, so I made this temporary pop.

I also made a few "Witch Jars". They are an idea I got from I start with a regular jar, give it a shot of black spray paint into the bottom (it should create a light gradient of "soot" almost to the lip). Mix white glue, a little bit of acrylic green paint (optional), a few drops of water and and a pinch or two of dirt. Pour it in the bottom of jar (enough to cover the bottom about 1/4 inch). Coat the entire inside, pour out extra and let settle and dry. I prefer to use battery flicker tea lights. A handful of white feathers hides the bulbs and gives it an ethereal, nauseating glow!

I also just completed carving 35 "craft" pumpkin jack-0-lanterns! They will be in the trees and bushes around our house on Halloween night, lit by flickering battery powered tea lights.

October 21, 2010

Update the Blog Archive, OR ELSE!

I took some time to update the Haunted Dimensions Archive blog, to document some of the awesome events I had the good fortune to be part of since April. From being a panelist at the "Entertainment Designer Forum", to working on the opening ceremonies of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter", and the many events in which I participated as a member of the Universal Orlando Entertainment Art & Design Team, it has been a spectacular season. So if you haven't been keeping up with the "News & Notes" section of Haunted Dimensions, here is your chance to see what I've been up to! April, May, June, July and August now have entries.

October 10, 2010

Catching Up

So much to do, and so little time to do it! I really can't complain though. Not many people are as lucky as I to be able to do what I love. I am still cranking out art and props for the Universal Halloween Horror Nights events, and also preparing a few projects to complete for Halloween once I return home to Pennsylvania next week. I also have a small paper model project (related to "The Knoll") that I hope to release soon.

First I would like to recognize a few people who have sent me photos of their Haunted Dimensions projects in recent weeks.

Michael B. sent a photo of their first attempt at a cookie house. It is nothing short of spectacular!

Next, MaryKay, Karen and Kathyrn, who live in Beijing, China, have created several Cookie Manors over the last few years. Here there most recent.

MaryKay writes,
"Since my daughter (now ten years old) always wants to do something different each year, we took your template and made a few tweaks: flipped the porch to the right side; put a gabled addition on the left front; added a second portico-tower on the right side, above the porch. We also raised the roof pieces by 1.5 inches, to make the house taller. For three years your template has been the foundation and inspiration for our family's new tradition of creating a gingerbread haunted mansion. Thank you so much! "
As usual, MaryKay, you and your crew have outdone yourselves!

On Thursday, October 7, I had the opportunity to meet the fans and discuss the behind-the-scenes process of writing and designing our "LegendaryTruth-The Collective", immersive web mystery! I joined TJ Mannarino (Director of Entertainment Art & Design), Vickie Fraser (designer) and Rick Spencer (writer) for an evening of secrets and fun stories we experienced while inventing an online phenomenon. The evening is part of series of special events taking place in the "HHN VIP Lounge" at Cafe La Bamba, at Universal Studios, in which fans of HHN can meet the designers of Halloween Horror Nights and learn about key milestones of the last 20 years of HHN. For more info about the HHN Lounge and the special designer forums (Thursday nights), click here, "Secrets from the Past.
Meeting with LegendaryTruth fans, aka "The Collective", at the HHN VIP LOUNGE at Universal.

With my boss, TJ Mannarino (Director of Entertainment Art & Design)

Revealing the journal of Dr. Mary Agana for the first time!

Thanks to Chip Lundell for the photos! (

October 3, 2010


Sorry for being away so long. As most of you probably know, my spring, summer and early fall are consumed by working in the Art & Design Department for Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights event. Sadly, my season of Universal horror ends next week, but it also frees me to pick up the projects I had to set aside in the spring.
Projects such as "Wizard's Crag", and "The Knoll" will be dusted off and reanimated and hopefully I will be able to create a Halloween treat or two to drop in your bags before Halloween.

While I'm still on the subject of Halloween Horror Nights, I will be speaking along with TJ Mannarino (Art Director for Horror Nights), and several other HHN designers at our HHN VIP Lounge located in La Bamba, in Universal Studios, on Thursday, October 7th. It is part of our weekly forum series, "Secrets from the Past". Fans can see our museum of props and concept art spanning the last 20 years of HHN, and have a chance meet and ask questions of the design staff. We will be speaking about the design process and story writing behind our successful fan mystery "LegendaryTruth: The Collective". VIP Lounge tickets are $9.99 (tax included) and are available at Universal Studios' front gate and Guest Services windows, as well outside the Lounge itself.

August 22, 2010

The Themed Entertainment Association

I had a great time Thursday night on the "Horror Makeup Show" stage at Universal Studios, as one of the representatives of the Universal Art & Design team, speaking to visiting members of the "Themed Entertainment Association" about the design process of our Halloween Horror Nights events!

August 1, 2010

A New Feature Coming to Haunted Dimensions!

In an effort to keep Haunted Dimensions interesting, while also giving me a creative outlet, I am currently building an online graphic "serial" which will be a new feature for the site.
"The Knoll - A Trespasser at Reeves Hall" will combine stories and graphics which will lead the trespasser, YOU, through the abandoned estate, called "The Knoll", where you will encounter ee rie sights and discover intriguing clues to a yet unrevealed mystery. Yes, possible new haunted models and projects may also appear!

The story will not "go live" until the fall, but I wanted to give you a teaser.

July 25, 2010

The Haunted Mansion Movie We Always Wanted?

Guillermo del Toro announced that he will be writing and producing a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion!
Del Toro told MTV's Josh Horowitz, "For some people, it's just a ride, but for others like me, it's a way of life. We're serious fanatics. I'm a big, big collector of it. I've been collecting not only memorabilia but artifacts and original artifacts from the mansion for the past 10 years".

I am a HUGE fan of Del Toro's cinematic visions! A new Haunted Mansion movie that has a similar level of artistic depth and storytelling as "Hellboy" or "Pan's Labyrinth" has the possibily of rendering us Mansionphiles unable to lift our chins from off the floor after seeing it! This is very exciting news!

It also means that I will have a NEW haunted mansion paper model kit to design!

Guillermo! Please drop me a line! Let's talk!!! :)

Del Toro tapped artist Brandon Ragnar Johnson to design this teaser poster for the movie annoucement.

June 20, 2010

My Stay in Hogsmeade

What in incredible week! I had the extreme honor to witness the grand opening celebrations of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure! I was part of a very small "emergency decor team" whose job it was to clean up any forgotten details on our sets and props prior to the big events and keep them looking good.
There were three big events this week. First was the grand celebrity preview night which featured John Williams and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra preforming the music from the Potter films! Warwick Davis conducted the Hogwarts Frog Choir, and the stars of the Potter films made an appearance, arriving in the actual Knight Bus used in the film!
Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint arrived in the flying Anglia car and kicked off the amazing display!
Everyone in the audience received a wand, and on Radcliffe's cue, everyone swished and flicked and said "Lumos Maxima". On that command all of the wand tips glowed and Hogwarts castle came to life as John Williams worked his magic! The orchestra accompanied the most spectacular show of lights, projections and fireworks I've ever witnessed! Truly wonderful to experience!
The event was repeated the following night for Universal Execs and VIPs, however Williams and the orchestra were not part of the line up.

This spectacular shot was taken just after the show's finale. John Williams is on stage in white, and the cast of the Potter films are the brightly lit figures in the center. I even spotted myself in the crowd
with my camera (in green circle)!

Here I am with Potter film art director Alan Glimore, whom I first met in April at the Entertainment Designers Forum. Behind us is the real Knight Bus, and the Anglia which brought the stars to the stage.

Warwick Davis, from several of the Potter films, conducted the Hogwart Frog Choir. I briefly spoke with Mr Davis during a rehearsal, who seems to be a very nice guy!

Hogsmeade was full of townsfolk, the wizards and witches who call Hogsmeade home.

Ernie, the Knight Bus driver took a moment for a photo!

Then June 18th was the big day! The official grand opening of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"!
We were charged with helping with the set up of the stages and props to be used by the celebrities at the gate of Hogsmeade for the grand opening.

Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) prior to the grand opening.

Part of the opening ceremony was a skit performed by Oliver and James Phelps (The Weasley Twins). They attempted to light their "Wet-start, No Heat" rocket, but as often happens with the Weasleys, things didn't work as expected. The rocket fizzles, followed by a barrage of rockets shooting from the roof of Zonkos Joke Shop!
I created the large prop match in Oliver's hand, and we helped set up the rocket.

A view out of Hogsmeade gate at the crowd waiting to enter the land after the grand opening ceremony. This shot was just after Radcliffe, Grint and the rest of the cast (Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy),Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore),Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), and Warwick Davis) escorted the first guests into the land.

It was a crazy day, but despite the throngs of expectant guests, the sun and heat, the day went smoothly and everyone remained safe and orderly.
Days like this are a wonderful reminder of why I love doing what I do!

June 5, 2010

The Phantom Manor in 3D

Haunted Dimensions had its start back in 2004 as a showcase for my 3D illustrations of
the mansions, and later as a place to offer my free paper models. Liberty Square was my first illustration and model project, naturally followed by New Orleans Square a year later. My process was to build completely detailed 3D Lightwave models (for the illustrations) and then deconstruct the models into less detailed boxes for their paper model versions. Haunted Dimensions had these two mansion illustrations as alternating front page images for several years.
Then, in 2008, I finally decided to create the Phantom Manor Paper Model. However, unlike the previous two mansions, I did not create a detailed Lightwave model first, but went directly to the simple paper model version. Instead of creating a 3D illustration of the Phantom Manor for my front page, I used a Photoshop manipulated photo of the Manor (taken by long time HD fan, Rita).
I am finally in the process of completing a 3D Lightwave model of the Manor which will be used as a new front page illustration!
Hopefully I will complete the new illustrations in the coming weeks and incorporate them into the front page.
Here is a rough rendering.

May 3, 2010

HauntCon Meets Horror Nights Designers

On the evening of April 29th I had the honor of being one of the representatives of the Universal Entertainment Art & Design team, appearing for a meet and greet session with members of HauntCon.
Our team members represented different design disciplines required to produce Halloween Horror Nights. Scenic Design, Set Decor, Construction, Makeup and Prosthetics, Costuming, Writing and Web Design (me). After introductions and a brief Q&A session in the Pantages Theater, on the Horror Makeup Show stage, we moved into the lobby where guests could view props, blueprints and concept art as well as get a chance for informal chatting with all of us.

The HauntCon folks were VERY nice! Their questions and insights went beyond being fans. They are peers!

On Sunday I went to the HauntCon convention floor at the Ramada in Celebration, FL.
There were lots of great vendors selling lots of fun stuff for Haunters!
Below, I met Dustin during a lunch break who was mid-way through his makeup and prosthetics demo.

Many thanks to HauntCon guru, Leonard Pickel, for his hospitality!

"HAuNTcon is an acronym for the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference. A expo and convention "Designed by Haunters, for Haunters" of every age and level of experience. HAuNTcon brings people together who love Haunted Houses and Halloween for a fun filled three days and nights of Haunter Education".

April 25, 2010

The Entertainment Designer Forum

On the evening of April 23, 2010 I had the honor to be part of a panel composed of top entertainment designers. Our goal was to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, taking place in Celebration Florida on May 23rd. My fellow panelists were:

- Alan Gilmore: Art director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the films Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

- Stephanie Girard: Set designer for the films Ray, Dreamer, Leatherheads, Dear John and more. Designer for Halloween Horror Nights, Grinchmas and Universal Dubai.

- TJ Mannarino: Director for Universal Studios Entertainment (Halloween Horror Nights, Grinchmas, Mardi Gras), Nickelodeon Studios and Mickey Mouse Club.

- David Hughes: Universal Studios designer. Halloween Horror Nights lead designer for houses, art director for Terminator 3D, art director The Little Mermaid, Disney Studios, and Mickey Mouse Club.

- Ray Keim: Haunted Dimensions, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

- Kim Gromoll: Designer for Universal Studios (Halloween Horror Nights Streets and Shows), Disney's Animal Kingdom shows

- Rick Spencer: Manager for Universal Studios. Writer for Halloween Horror Nights website, producer of special events, producer/director for Shining Time Station PBS.

- Michael Burnett: Manager of prosthetics for Universal Studios, many feature film and television shows and all prosthetics for Halloween Horror Nights.

- Rich West: Designer for Halloween Horror Nights houses, The Simpson's Ride and Universal Dubai.

- Manuel Cordero: Designer for Halloween Horror Nights houses and Disney parades.

- Nick Farrentello: Designer for Halloween Horror Nights. Set designer for the films Ali and The Trouble with Mary. Designer for the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.

- J. Michael Roddy: Creative Director/Producer for The Shark is Still Working, MonsterKIDS and Halloween Horror Nights.

- Jason Surrell, Author, screenwriter and Walt Disney Imagineer. Author of Pirates of The Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies and The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak.

- Michael Aiello: Writer and show producer for the Bill & Ted show and houses and streets for Halloween Horror Nights.

Below is Rick Spencer, me, Rich West, Michael Burnett, Alan Gilmore, Mike Aiello, Jason Surrell and TJ Mannarino
(thanks Orlando Attractions Magazine!)
Also thanks to Ricky Brigante for his support and coverage on "Inside The Magic" !

It was a wonderful evening of stories, design philosophies and meeting fellow designers and fans.
All three of my Haunted Dimensions HHN paper models were won by guests in the silent auction!
As of this writing we raised over $5000!

On a personal note as cancer survivor, it was an uplifting, satisfying experience to witness the love and concern of cohorts and fans alike during this event!

Six years ago I was unemployed and dealing with an illness which took several weeks to determine its scope and spread. In that dark time of uncertainty I reevaluated my life and career. My life was unquestionably wonderful but the potential of my career had not been fulfilled to my hopes and I questioned whether I had gone as far as I would ever go. Thankfully, after several surgeries and years of observation, I was given a clean bill of health. On top of that, during my recoveries I had created the projects in Haunted Dimensions which helped me get my first freelance job at Universal Orlando! To go from where I was 6 years ago, to where I found myself Friday evening, sitting on a stage as part of a panel of such an amazing collection of talented people (who are also my friends), was almost unbelievable! Truly a gift!

Many of you will know the name Jason Surrell, who is a Disney Imagineer and author of "The Haunted Mansion - From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies", which helped inspire my creation of Haunted Dimensions. Jason is friends with many of my Universal coworkers but I never had the opportunity to meet him until Friday night when he sat on the Forum panel with me. Yes, I brought my copies of his books (including his "Pirates of the Caribbean - From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies) for autographs! I also gave him my Madame Leota paper model, the original of which Jason helped design for Disney.

Before the show started, I had the opportunity to chat with Harry Potter Art Director, Alan Gilmore, who is a very charming, smart, fun guy! We talked a little about his experiences with the Potter franchise, but mostly we talked about about life and kids.

At left, my wife and I with Alan Gilmore (on left)

I also had the opportunity to meet Leonard Pickel, aka "The Godfather of the Haunted Attraction Industry", who is the creator of Haunted Attractions Magazine and the man behind HAuNTcon. Leonard was in the audience for both panel sessions and WON one of my paper models in the silent auction (Psychoscareapy)!
Turns out Leonard is a Haunted Dimensions fan!

March 6, 2010

The Pilgrimage

Sorry for not posting in while!
I just returned from a long visit to California, from San Diego to Sonoma wine country.
Of course, a visit to Disneyland was manditory.
The last time I visited the New Orleans Square mansion was in 1988!
So much was new that it was as if I had never visted it before.
And the differences between the New Orleans Square mansion and Liberty Square mansion at WDW made it a new experience also. I will write more about in the near future, but for now, here is a shot of me at the gates of the manse, getting reaquainted.

February 11, 2010

My Newest Paper Model Project!

It is official. I have begun the long process of designing a new paper model kit.
This one will be based on the Hogwarts castle, currently under construction at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, for "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter". The working title for my model is "Wizard's Crag", but that may change.
I am using online fan photos as reference.
As usual, I am beginning the process by building a simple model in a 3D application (Lightwave).
It will be a challenge to design. Half of the model will be the cliffs and gully on which the castle sits. I need to make this cliff base interesting, but relatively easy to build, relying on printed textures for most of the effect.

I do not know how big the model will, since it will be limited by the size of letter paper, but I would like it to be at least 12 inches tall.
I will be designing this in my spare time, so I do not know how long the project will take. My mansions took 6 months, and this model will be no less complicated.

So stay tuned, or become a member of my FaceBook page for updates!

Haunted Dimensions Fans

Here is the most recent 3D blocking.