Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Graphics Update 3/11 - Ice Scene

Well this is the first "Graphics Update" for the blog, so I guess this is kind of a test run of things! We will each highlight what we're working on for the film in our respective posts, and right now I'm gonna highlight what I've been working on graphics-wise.

Well lately I've been working on a scene we filmed a bit ago where we travel out onto a frozen lake/river. Why? Well... because we need to get to the other side, and there's no way around, of course! It's actually a very complex scene that will include explosions, graphic water, monsters, and more! And the funny thing is, that's not even a joke.

Well the first thing I had to do was edit a short clip of us walking over a hill. It looked good, but needed an arctic/other-worldly feel to it (as we aren't on earth in this scene). So I added in a cool aurora-light type of feature that didn't fit exactly with the real northern lights, but did have enough comparison to be recognizable (click for larger view).


So after some tweaking in particleIllusion, I imported it over to After Effects, where I tracked the camera and set it in the right plac so it would "stick" to the shot. It actually looks really cool in motion!

The next thing I did for the scene was some video/picture editing. In the original shot, me and Will walk over the hill, and the next shot is of us from behind looking out at the lake, talking about how there is "no way around for miles," and we'll have to cross. Now as you can see, in the original shot, you could clearly see a road even going up into the forest. Obviously this could not do!


So I had to take a frame and go to work on it in good ol' Photoshop! Eventually, I was able to edit-out the road, even into the trees, and extend the lake. I then exported the image back to After Effects, where it was motion tracked onto the layer, which you can see below.

As you can see, it turned out very well, especially saying it was taken with some jerky camera movements!

If some of this was over your heads, I apologize. This is only the first post, and I know there are many non-video-gurus out there who have no idea what I'm talking about with some of the above. Not to fear, just know the movie will look great!

In the mean time, I'm currently working on the next part of the ice scene, where the explosions and monster come into play, but that post will have to wait! Look forward to Island Wars, coming this June!

Happy Trails,
Sam.

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