Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Building Shot Breakdown

I am going to do a breakdown of each VFX shot I produced for my 'Invasion' short film. This is a breakdown of the first shot, where the UFO is shown floating ominously behind a large building:

As you can see from the feedback I gained during the final critique, I have slightly improved the animation, adding subtle rotation to the ship making it pop from the sky and add more depth to the overall composition. Also, I have included a similar particle emitter, showing the insect swarm emerging from the ships interior. Notice that I also rendered out a glow pass this time, Using an alpha mask created from the pattern on the ship. In Maya I then added a special, 'Glow Map' only applied on the glow render layer using a layer override. The 'lighten' blend layer option in After Effects added a nice glow effect, and for the reflection pass I used the screen blend mode. I adjusted each render pass's opacity until I felt the ship fitted the scene nicely. Originally, the occlusion layer was quite intense, meaning the shadows were too hard compared to the intensity of the sunlight and shadows on the building. Also, the sky is an image I collected online and added in behind the masked out building layer.

I made note of the order of the layers and how effect the composition:

On the bottom layer we have the sky backplate. On top of this there is the colour pass of the UFO. This is then followed by the reflection pass, then the glow pass, and finally the occlusion pass. I next added a slight blur and also a blue tint on an adjustment layer above the ship, this adding a sense of mist distortion as the ship is supposed to be reasonably far away. As well as this I brought in an additional teal pass using a colour correction adjustment layer. I also added some slight nose to simulate camera grain and to try and subdue the clean digital render against the footage. I brought the sky back in above the UFO, add assigned it an inverted alpha of the colour pass. This redefined the edges of the ship, while allowing subtle colour spill in the blurred layers below. The original building plate shot now came back in to the composition, with the building masked out making the ship and sky visible below. Finally I added the insect swarm, following an animated point light emitter.

Here is the final result:

I am more pleased with this result compared to the composite that I originally presented to the class. The slower and slightly rotating animation sits much nicer behind the building, and we now see the source of the insect swarm that consumes my actor. Unfortunately, I forgot to slightly lengthen the animation, but re-rendering out all of the passes is a luxury I no longer have as the deadline fast approaches.

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