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RAZ22
02-12-2006, 06:08 AM
Hey all,

I've just finished a new composite shot of a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter coming into a low hover and wanted to pass along the URL. The 8 second shot, in various resolutions and sizes as well as with a complete breakdown, can be found at:

http://www.robzeigler.com/images/bhd.jpg

http://www.robzeigler.com/work/compositing/index.htm


Any comments or suggestions on how it could be improved for next time are welcome and appreciated. Thanks!

-Rob

SHEjK
02-12-2006, 12:15 PM
Nice shot! Everything looks great! The only thing missing here is some soliders. It would be nice one solider running between walls, and then few in a chopper :) Anyway EXCELLENT JOB!

sgbox
02-12-2006, 01:03 PM
woow great work man. succesfull compositing. :)

SOE digital
02-12-2006, 01:09 PM
Nice shot.
Firstly, the blackhawk needs way more detail on the textures. I've never seen such a clean chopper in my life...especially a military one in the desert ;)
Also, more dust. Lots more dust. I've flow in one of these choppers (no, not as a pilot) and you can hardly see a thing when they land...literaly.

RAZ22
02-12-2006, 02:42 PM
SHEjK: Funny you should mention soldiers. I totally agree, by the way. A coworker was working on a nice soldier model but kind of got side-tracked. A pity, really, because it would have been nice. At one point I was also going to literally roto out some characters from "Black Hawk Down", but I ended up scrapping that because of inevitable integration and perspective nightmares. :)

sgbox: Thanks!

SOE digital: Thanks for taking a look. You're one step ahead of me because I've never even seen one of these in real life! ;) Perhaps some scorch marks, a few dings and dents and muck built up on the crevices and gear, yes? As for the dust: good idea. I let the cinematic side of me win over the realistic side of me on that decision. I still wanted people to see what was happening. For shame. :) Thank you for your awesome insight!


Much appreciated, everyone.

SOE digital
02-12-2006, 04:21 PM
Yeah definately some scorch marks, bullet scratches etc.
Add some exhaust fumes and heat distortion from the rear jets of the chopper.

Intervain
02-12-2006, 04:24 PM
agreed with all the suggestions but still, woah!! I love that - great work!:wip:

FrizzleFry0
02-12-2006, 08:45 PM
Great work Rob. I didn't even know you were working on this. If the soldiers ever get finished, definately add them in. Really the only thing I can think of adding or fixing, and this is after really struggling to find something, is to maybe adjust the way the dust is rising from the chopper landing. Is it using a particle system? It seems like the intensity and direction of it is a bit off in comparison to the chopper's position. I think increasing the amount of dust/debris near the end of the landing would help a lot. I'd like to check out the shake script too if I catch ya at work. :cool:

xtetra
02-13-2006, 03:30 PM
Wow! That's fantastic! Ya know, there's no way I could pull that off w/o a lot more experience and practice so I hesitate to even comment, but if the dust sort of came down the corridor and hit you as the heli gets low enough and then rocked the camera back slightly for a split second it would be almost like you could taste the rotor wash.

RAZ22
02-13-2006, 05:04 PM
SOE digital - Agreed, some slight warping from the exhaust would look nice!

Intervain - Thanks!

Jared - Thanks man. :) It seems that the dust intensity needs to be increased, especially as the helicopter comes to a lower hover. I agree with that sentiment - in hindsight it would probably throw up a lot of wash. Some debris flying around a la Black Hawk Down would have been nice but I needed to lock this one off. ;) The dust actually isn't a particle system or even a 3D element. It's actually 2D, rendered out of Motion. A few passes of dust going from left to right and then some moving up and down. Nothing complicated, just working with the elements that I had readily available. :thumbsup:

xtetra: Don't hesitate to comment on anything, at least when it comes to my work. I appreciate all replies, and your suggestion of camera rock is excellent. The relation between CG object and virtual camera always looks nicer with a bit of camera shake. :thumbsup:

Silverwing
02-13-2006, 08:24 PM
Great compositing work!
Looks pretty cool.
Nice moovement of the
helicopter.

The digital layer really fits in the
realfotage... great work!

ziv121
02-14-2006, 09:39 AM
mmmmmm link doesnt work

ENL
02-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Link's Dead...:(

IestynRoberts
02-14-2006, 12:17 PM
iyp - dead for me too.

RAZ22
02-14-2006, 01:40 PM
Hey guys,

The link is dead? So it is. Not sure how that may have happened.

I'll get that back up ASAP.

Apologies!

RAZ22
02-14-2006, 02:13 PM
Still not sure why the server hiccuped, but here are some direct links for the time being:

Blackhawk Shot, High Res - http://robzeigler.com/work/compositing/bhd_web_high.mov
Blackhawk Shot, Low Res - http://robzeigler.com/work/compositing/bhd_web_low.mov
Blackhawk Shot, Breakdown - http://robzeigler.com/work/compositing/bhd_breakdown.mov

Again, I'll try to figure out what's going on with the server later today.

Thanks!

UPDATE, 1:55PM EST 2/14: Original link should be working again, as well.
http://www.robzeigler.com/work/compositing/index.htm

ENL
02-14-2006, 04:35 PM
worked like a charm!...


Very Good stuff, actually left me wanting to see that landing!...lol

IestynRoberts
02-14-2006, 05:52 PM
if the dust sort of came down the corridor and hit you as the heli gets low enough and then rocked the camera back slightly for a split second it would be almost like you could taste the rotor wash.

It would be awsome if you could do what xtetra suggested - other than what's already been said about a few soldiers and beating up the Blackhawk up a little - i think it's pretty much spot on! Can you share with us at all how/where you learned about doing this? Any tutorials or books etc? Good work!
-Iest

RAZ22
02-16-2006, 11:18 PM
It would be awsome if you could do what xtetra suggested - other than what's already been said about a few soldiers and beating up the Blackhawk up a little - i think it's pretty much spot on! Can you share with us at all how/where you learned about doing this? Any tutorials or books etc? Good work!
-Iest

Hey iest_rob,

Thanks for the compliment!

Well, this is compositing, or the act of seamlessly integrating two or more elements together to make them appear as if they were shot with the same camera at the same time and at the same place. There are a small number of books on the subject, but of course the first two that spring to mind are:

The Art and Science of Digital Compositing - Ron Brinkmann
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0121339602/qid=1140134188/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-9512969-9639161?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Digital Compositing for Film and Video
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0240804554/ref=pd_sim_b_1/104-9512969-9639161?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155 - Steve Wright

I can say with certainty that the first book is quite a good read. It's not program specific, although it seems it can mostly relate to Shake, but it covers an excellent range of compositing knowledge.

If you're interested in compositing and you are primarily a PC user, you can look into programs like Digital Fusion and Combustion. Certainly there is also After Effects, which is used for quite a bit of compositing in and of itself, but I personally see it as a more useful motion graphics tool.

On the Linux/MacOS side of things, there is Shake.

There are schools that teach compositing as part of their visual effects curriculum. Alternatively, you can purchase books, such as the Shake 4 book by Marco Paolini from Peachpit Press (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321256093/qid=1140134295/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-9512969-9639161?s=books&v=glance&n=283155) that not only features detailed tutorials on compositing topics, it also includes a 30 day trial of Shake.

Compositing is a difficult subject to master, and even when you've "mastered" it there's still things you can probably learn. As it's also more or less at the end of the animation pipeline, it's also an incredibly important position. You are in charge of assembling elements that will be projected onto a huge screen in front of millions of people! It definitely calls for an experienced and trustworthy individual. What I'm getting at is: it's not a job for anyone straight out of school (unlesss you've got an amazing reel and perhaps some previous experience).

Compositing isn't just films though, it's commercials and game cinematics, too! Remember that. Other concepts that go hand in hand with compositing are rotoscoping and matchmoving.

This information barely scratches the surface on this topic and isn't meant as an end-all-be-all on the topic. I encourage you to do some more research and then e-mail me if you have any questions. My full time job is troubleshooting Shake and compositing problems. :D

And hey, when all is said and done, you've got to love it, right? If you have any eye for detail and color and are able to perceive and understand the natural world through the lens of a camera, maybe compositing is for you.

As for me, I've got a way to go, but I hope to get there someday. :)

IestynRoberts
02-17-2006, 08:19 AM
Hey man! Waw - thanks a lot for the detail analasys, this is great! I'll have a look at those books you mentioned, they look pretty good. I'll also look around for Digital Fusion and Combustion on the web - see what they have to offer. I have access to After Effects, so i might play around with that when ever i have some free time. One thing that get's me is the rendering in passes - rendering only reflection et, shadwos etc, at the moment i still can't get my head 100% around it - but i think im slowly getting there.
Many thanks for the heads-up man, and if you don't mind, i might get in touch with you someday with any question's i might have.
Good job!
-Iest

RAZ22
02-17-2006, 11:37 AM
Hey man! Waw - thanks a lot for the detail analasys, this is great! I'll have a look at those books you mentioned, they look pretty good. I'll also look around for Digital Fusion and Combustion on the web - see what they have to offer. I have access to After Effects, so i might play around with that when ever i have some free time. One thing that get's me is the rendering in passes - rendering only reflection et, shadwos etc, at the moment i still can't get my head 100% around it - but i think im slowly getting there.
Many thanks for the heads-up man, and if you don't mind, i might get in touch with you someday with any question's i might have.
Good job!
-Iest


Render passes are a must. I imagine a majority of people were stubborn about this when they first started rendering, I know I was, but nowadays I require flexibility and speed. One way to assure I get both of those from my renders is through passes.

I'm not sure which 3D app you use, but I pesonally use Maya. It's new render pass setup, although somewhat daunting and confusing at first, now makes much more sense. I like having the flexibility to adjust my renders nearly in realtime in Shake. If I want more specular highlights, all I do is adjust the appropriate slider in Shake!

Render passes also take a considerably less time to render when compared to full frame renders.

Check your documentation for more information and details about passes.

And yes, if you ever have any questions about compositing, drop me a line!

Thanks again!

T0NiC
02-17-2006, 12:37 PM
Awesome!

One small thing that caught my attention was the camera shake. I can't quite put my finger on it but it looks either too much or too contstant maybe.
Perhaps it looks more natural if the shake is slightly less as the camera gets closer to horizontal view. Because if you are not a pro and you hold a camera up to the sky you will have a less firm grip than holding it horizontally.

Again: I'm not quite sure, it just thought. ;)

Rawk
02-25-2006, 10:16 PM
VERY cool, i like the breakdown and the overall piece!!! I want to get into compositing myself, so this was great to look at...over....and over....and over :) 2 Thumbs up!!:applause:

RAZ22
03-02-2006, 10:18 AM
TON!C: Good suggestion about the camera shake. Perhaps some more variance in the amplitude would give it a more realistic look. I'll remember that! :)

leolady5: Thank you! I find myself looking at it over and over sometimes also, almost waiting for the next scene to magically appear and show me more of "the movie" this scene may have fit in. Compositing is a blast - if you ever have any questions, you know where to find me! :)

AOMTealFox
03-02-2006, 12:29 PM
Goodness gracious! Now that is pretty amazing! :eek:

RAZ22
03-06-2006, 05:31 PM
Goodness gracious! Now that is pretty amazing! :eek:

AOMTealFox: Hey, thanks very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the shot. :)

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