05 December 2010

Shot 108 Composite Test with Updated Background and Final Fire

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Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Cyrus animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Cyrus colors by Megan Miller. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan. Composite/After Effects advice by Ryan Gatts

With the textures in progress and the final fire coming together, compositing has never been so exciting! Admittedly I've never composited anything this complicated, but this is really interesting experience and I'm enjoying the process. This version of the composite is testing both the fire effects and the textures-in-progress.

Regarding the textures - I really like where it's going, especially on the right side of the pillar, where the texture is more smudged and doesn't have the lines. I'm really glad that we didn't end up having to color the backgrounds, at least for the Crystalin. Everything remains in greyscale, and is colored with the fire gradients I made in Photoshop and overlayed in After Effects.

This version of the textures has less contrast and is removing the straight lines. The section on the right is perfect, I think. Enough contrast so that the viewer can see that the wall has a wood texture, but not so much to draw attention to itself. And that little smudge adds a really nice touch and keeps the wood from looking too uniform. Uzi's doing a fantastic job, and I can't wait to export the final composite for this shot when the textures are finished!

Regarding the fire - For the fire itself, Zelda had it set up in three sections. When I imported the fire sections into After Effects, I duplicated the fire so that each section had two layers with the same animation. This would allow me to play with the Hue/Saturation on one layer, and be able to vary the opacity so that the colors would change just a little.

The top fire layers are a solid orangish/red color, are set to Overlay and have a low opacity to give the fire a varying redder tinge while (hopefully) maintaining its brightness. Ryan Gatts gave me a great suggestion to add a wiggle expression to some of the functions and effects, to make it less uniform. So the transparency of the top fire layers have it.

Also, the main fire layers (which are, for the most part, unchanged from Zelda's set up), have a slight opacity wiggle so you can see Cyrus' hand through the fire. But I have the opacity increase when he sets the scythe on fire so that the variance is smaller. You'll still see the scythe through the fire, but just a little bit.

Finally, all of the fire layers have blur effects, starting at 1 with the top/effect layers and 2 with the main fire layers. The wiggle is set to .5 and 1


Final Notes - I think all that is left to do for this shot as to add the highlights. Should there be shadows? Does anyone know of an easy way to add highlights or shadows, that would still look good? I have a couple of ideas/tests in mind, but my main concern is how long it might take and how much time can be spent on all the fire scenes by the time the trailer's completion in March. I do feel highlights or shadows are absolutely necessary, but I may try to do just one and hold off on the other until after March. But any suggestions would be great! And if there is anything about the fire compositing that looks off or any suggestions as to what I could do to make it look even better, please let me know!

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