Some Final Thoughts

To sum it up:
After a trimester that I have been through, I learnt that simulating things in 3D is NOT easy at all. It requires a lot of efforts and understanding. Observing the real life will help a lot, but knowing how to achieve such an effect also matters. Creating convincing CGI isn’t the hardest part of the production process just yet. Blending them into the real world is even harder than make them believable because there will be REAL objects to compare with them side-by-side. Principle of animation is essential for the fine tuning stage due to the fact that it gives more ‘alive’ looking to the CGI.

In this trimester, I had a chance to go on a real shooting for compositing. I quite like it more than pure CG animation. I’d say it’s more “magical” when it comes to the final result. It’s a mixture of film and animation which I’ll be going forward to. Also, I’m applying for compositing jobs in my internship. I’ve learnt some basic skills from this study, which will help me with my thesis in post production.

Effects Usually Helps the Final Looks

Like the previous shot, it starts with keying out the on-green footage. By adjusting the hue and contrast to get ‘fleshy’ red, the keying work will rely less on clipping mask of the KeyLight effects. This will preserve more details on the keyed object.

Put the keyed shot on top of the white solid then make the shadow layer in the same manner mentioned above. Add CG background in and add some DOF(Depth of Field) effects.

Next up, I have an actress footage, which is on the wrong background. We can’t just key the footage out because she is wearing white dress. It’s Rotoscoping time.

Adjust the room to be darker as we’d like it to be.

Also, fine-tune with luma track for the hair detail.This stage is very time-consuming to get it close to perfection. In this case, I depilate the layer and crush one of them  into white zone and the other into black zone. After that, I rotoscoped them with precise masking and heavy feathering. This layer will be used for luma track for another actress layer (only for her hair).

Also, clean-plate of the screen received from rotoscoping the original background layer. The red area is masked out to be the alpha (see through).

I then layered them on top of another. Also I assigned new light direction by stacking darker  and darker actress layers on top with soft feathering.

Then I add screen like effects and light spilling with lens flares on top of the final composite.

Rendered Shot

Combining CGI and Footage in After Effects

I rendered only the layer that contains reflective monoliths, which have the moving red cloth within their reflection.

In this shot, I have 2 layers of Monoliths: 1 in white and the other one in black.

Then I blend the two together by adjusting the opacity. Also, I add a flare effect to make them shine.

The bed footage got keyed out the red, and then it was used as an inverted luma track for another footage layer. That causes the rest of the footage to disappear, so now we have a floating red bed.

Tracking the marker on the CG footage is a way to go. The movements of the ‘Null Object’ will be identical with the reference layer. With some helping hands from Pin Constraint tool, the perspective will be controlled and adjusted accordingly to the reference layer as well.

Putting the bed layer on top of the CG background will completely hide the marker on the floor of the CG layer. Adding another null object containing the position data to make it feels floaty.

To make a shadow of the bed, duplicate the bed layer, crush all the color detail to black, decrease the opacity down a bit accordingly to the distance from the bed to the ground, tweak the perspective,  and put the layer beneath the bed layer. putting fast blur effect over radial blur effect will do the tricks.

Some Process of 3D Camera Matching and nCloth

So, I’ve got a real footage of a red cloth on a green screen.

next up, I precisely match the camera view of the CG one with the one used in the footage.

Add a “polyPlane” on top of the model

Make sure that it has a reasonable amount of sub division.

Then try assign the plane to be an nCloth object.

Don’t forget to create nCache to record the nCloth calculation for the better performance of Maya.

with nCache attached to the object, you’d bear in mind that you may NOT make any changes on the nCloth object because it will lead to fetal error.

To get more sense of dimension from the CG work, adding AO (Acoustic Occlusion) is a wise choice.

“Sample” in AO setting defines the neatness of the shadow areas, but it requires more time tremendously.

Sometimes, the extra details does’nt worth the extended render time.

With some rendered passes.

Alright… My Last Direction Now

[Week 09’s Note]
I decide to do extra works in Maya Dynamic along with my Media Compositing class; however, there is no exploding scene in my short film. Alternately, I move on “nCloth”. Basically, it’s a cloth physics simulation tool in Maya. It highly requires computer specs, but not as much as Houdini did. I spent time online looking up tutorials and forums, but it seems like there are many obstacles in the way so far.

My given task here is to add 4 shiny monoliths (3D objects) into this shot and make it into a empty white space instead of green screen set up.
I found that it cause so many problem while I tried to mix between footage and 3D due to the reflection in 3D can’t follow the footage convincingly. Therefore, I decide to give nCloth a shot. By having everything in 3D, I can play with many things including camera movement, which will bring more “life” to the shot.

Some more Independent Works!

[Week 07 – 08’s Note]
Actually…. they are NOT related to what I expect to do, but it’s rather be my “serious” hobby… taking photos.

I volunteered to do the shooting for profile pictures of the senior in my faculty. They will be used for a so call “yearbook” for the up coming event in late August, 2012.

And taking some photos purely for the sake of my own sanity (trying to balance out my mind and relax from the load of work at school)

*then I realized afterward that it also takes away my precious time to work, duh!

Also, I got hired for a day to take photos of one’s commencement day.

Time Flies

[Week 05 – 06’s Note] **expressionism ahead**
There are so many things going on in this trimester!

I have less time to work on my independent project as I have another production course requiring me to work in a group. Also, I’m taking Digital Painting, which is my weakest skill. Therefore, it takes me ages to finish just one painting! Somehow, I’m glad that the Film Criticism class doesn’t take away my free time so much though.

Anyways, the course that I need to work in a team is Media Compositing course, so I can enjoy working on the shoot and doing post-production… at least.

Some Test Clips with Maya Dynamics

The first attempt with Pin Constrain (Nail Point)

Rigid body is applied to the ball and bricks without applying gravity.

This time with gravity added to the bricks

You can see that not only bricks don’t fly off when they get hit, but they also fall apart as they are stacked improperly. Also, this adds weight to bricks, so they can stop the ball, which hit a relatively low area where is densely stacked by higher bricks.

As a result, I changed the point of the constrain to give the ball more destructive power.

It’s not that different, but there’s still a little bit more impact power than the previous one.

After some experiments with constraining an object and wait for the momentum to work out, I decide to “cheat” with my old friend, Mr. Keyframe.

The rigid body applied ball passing through the rigid body brick wall.

The ball’s still a bit too slow…

Shortening the keyframe’s gap

It helps!!

This time, I turned the visibility of the ball geometry off.

Now it looks kind of like an explosion breaking the wall, eh?

Change of Direction!

[Week04’s Note]
As I attempted to study the new pipeline and the software, I started to notice the fact that my computer can’t handle the work*. Also, the student version of Houdini limits the render version to be only SD size.

Therefore, I decided to move back to Autodesk Maya and study about Dynamics system instead.

*The captured Screen while working in Houdini