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View Full Version : How can objects look really BIG, especially in animations ?


nikopol_gfx
08-04-2005, 10:21 AM
This is an old 3D related problem of mine, right now I seek an answer more LW-centric. What are the techniques that are used for make a 3D rendered model to look very, very big ? I seek as many different answers possible, please. For example, what make a 1-meter robot to look small and insignifiant, and what make a 20+ meter height battle robot to look gigantic and scary. A starship is a similar example.

It's obvious the answer isn't that simple, like just scale the object, it's more than that.

I'm sure that some interesting things could say those who had worked with miniatures in SF movies, especially about ilumination for faking the real dimensions of the object. Some of these things could use in 3d as well.

How are used things like lightning, texturing, fx, camera setup etc.

Sorry for my bad english, and have a nice day !

pooby
08-04-2005, 10:52 AM
http://usera.imagecave.com/Dillon/bigsmall.jpg

Which one looks like the bigger robot?

TheFreak
08-04-2005, 10:56 AM
I am no expert but i would imagine that its a matter of figuring out how your brain sees something. Using perspective to your advantage.

If you want something to look really BIG then you just need to put it beside something really small and then either focus on the small thing (so the big thing is exaggerated OR focus in the big thing but make sure to include smaller items in the shot so the brain has something to compare size with)

See pic

Well that is my 2cents. I probably picked this up all wrong :P

Carm3D
08-04-2005, 12:29 PM
Watch The Iron Giant (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129167). Esp. the first few scenes containing the Giant himself. Not only is it a great movie, it shows how the placement and movement of the camera helps with the impression of size.

IC12
08-04-2005, 12:47 PM
The easiest giveaway of the scale of an object relative to others is it's speed.


The bigger you want an object to appear, the slower you should animate its movement.

colkai
08-04-2005, 12:53 PM
What Carm said. ;)
Seriously though, yeah, when most people get into 3D they tend to do a sort of 3/4 top down shot, which always ends up making the shot look like a model. You are used to seeing everything from about "eye-level", which in my case, is about 5' 6" off the ground, (allowing a couple of inches off my height for the difference between my true height and eyes).

So if you build a house to scale, but then view it from 30 meters up, it's going to look tiny. However, set the camera level at around 1.65 meters, and it will look more impressive.
Oh, and of course, if you have a recognisable object in the scene, that also helps scale, so even a 3/4 top down shot of a house looks better id there are people in the scene because then you can relate based on what size you "know" people tend to be, so the house must be big.

E.G.: Same car, same scene, different perspective.. one looks more like a model, the other unusually big.

assistant pimp
08-04-2005, 02:12 PM
Sorry if this was said, as I did not read all posts. What I learned in class the other day is something that I tend to not think about, which is speed. Like if you have a small fighter and a large battleship in the scene. To give the effect of the battleship being immense and ominous you tend to make is move slower. While the fighter can zip around. So my .02 is speed and scale in comparison to a familiar object is what helps the giant illusion.

colkai
08-04-2005, 02:18 PM
Of course, all this simply brings to mind the classic Father Ted sketch.
"No Dougal, this is small, the cows are far away" :p

IC12
08-04-2005, 02:20 PM
Sorry if this was said, as I did not read all posts. What I learned in class the other day is something that I tend to not think about, which is speed. Like if you have a small fighter and a large battleship in the scene. To give the effect of the battleship being immense and ominous you tend to make is move slower. While the fighter can zip around. So my .02 is speed and scale in comparison to a familiar object is what helps the giant illusion.

Yup - I've just remembered why I don't post here very often!

Sequent
08-04-2005, 03:10 PM
Speed in motion is definitely important. Ever notice when you see a commercial airliner up in the sky it seems to be barely moving? Yet it's travelling at about 500mph.

That was one of my complaints about sfx in some movies a few years back... oftentimes what was supposed to be a huge object would move what seemed to be way too fast and manuevered way too easily. So it ruined the illusion because it didn't look right.

Angles of vision is a very good answer too.

Thanks for starting this thread nikopol_gfx... good stuff to think about!

colkai
08-04-2005, 03:15 PM
Yup - I've just remembered why I don't post here very often!
hehe - not like there was 50 pages of posts to read through was it? :p

assistant pimp
08-04-2005, 04:19 PM
hehe - not like there was 50 pages of posts to read through was it? :p

lol...well you can call it an expansion of what IC-12 said. I gave little example.

monovich
08-04-2005, 05:03 PM
agree with the speed thing and the camera thing.

a wide angle on your camera and a low camera position looking up at the object add to the sense of scale of an object. It makes you feel like backing up to take it all in.

pooby
08-04-2005, 05:38 PM
Speed is relative though, a large object travelling at the same speed as a small object will appear slower because you are more likely to be viewing it from further away, whereas, to see the small object, you are likely to be closer.

On an animated robot, it's actions, relative to the actions of a human it would appear slow, but its limbs would actually be moving greater distances, so in fact, it would be moving faster.

Momentum is the key thing. For a limb weighing a ton to move about, it takes a great deal of energy so it's not going to whip about quickly. it's going to have slow ease-in and ease-out on movements.

BigJay
08-04-2005, 11:17 PM
it is not your distance from the object but the distance different parts of the object have to move to make the same movement.

If a kid 4' tall walked and swong his arm the hand is only covering like 2-3feet. a 40' giant swinging his arm has to cover 20-30 feet. If the arm on both characters swing at the same speed it may take 1 sec for a full swing, forward and back, on the kid but 10 seconds on the giant to just swing it forward. The same with a step. The giant has more ground to cover so he seems to move slow.

Some good examples:

Iron Giant. Already said.
Antz. late in the movie when they run into a human.

gerardo
08-05-2005, 12:22 AM
(From MythBusters) if we slip a real car and a toy car in an inclination, the toy car will accelerate much quicker, but at the final, real car will move forward quicker.
So I agree with Pooby, momentum is the key, mainly if we understand it as acquired velocity due to the gravity, I think is important to keep in mind the motion behavior in relation to the weight and the gravity force, since if a big object (understanding heavy), gets up from the floor (let's suppose a foot) will have a slooow ease-in, but if has to return to the floor (helped by gravity) will do it with a fast easy-out; on the other hand, a big but not very heavy object for its volume (a zeppelin or space ship for example), will have a slow ease-in and ease-out.
Apparently there are two types of factors, some work by contrast, in which we perceive the size or weight of an object by comparison with other well-known objects in the scene, as compared velocity (as Pooby referred) or the size (as TheFreak said) or by reaction with other elements in the scene (as for example the objects and camera vibration because of the dinosaur weight walking in "JurassicPark"); and other factors that work in relation to the way in that the camera registers an object of big or small dimensions according to distances, like lens angles, point of view, depth of field, framing, take scheme, etc.



Gerardo

oracle
08-05-2005, 02:57 AM
Another thing to consider is that details in the object can play a part too.

For example, a big star ship would have many windows, ports, etc. It is also like to be covered in plates of metal to cover the hull, due to the fact that metal sheets can only be produced so big... but when car manufactures make a car, they don't make the body out of 5000 different pieces of metal... they fashion it out of 10 or so.

As others have stated, I'm no expert, so my opinion may be promptly flushed down the toilet.

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