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Lightweight
09-15-2010, 04:53 PM
Hey folks! I was just asked if I wanted to help out with a shot for an upcoming live action movie/short film, and this is basicly what I've been told:

A moving camera filming about 40 real people infront of a car, all looking towards the camera as it ascends, revealing a bigger street/area behind them with CG people, and everyone in the shot is doing a crowd wave.
The producer wants about 50-100 CG characters (duplication required of course) in the shot, standing behind the real actors and doing the same movements as well. The shot is about 3 seconds long.

From what I can tell, the CG people will be standing about 10-50 meters away from the camera, and they need to look realistic/whatever you can get away with considering the distance from the camera/lens blur and all that.

When I talked to the producer I couldn't really estimate how long it would take but Im guessing that I would basicly have to model and rig at least 5-8 different characters, and give them different textures, as well as rigging them. The animation will probably be done on just one character then duplicate it to the others or so. Havent figured that part out yet.

My initial guess was that this would take 1 person at least 2-3 weeks of constant hard work to get this done, but after a couple of hours thinking about it, I suspect this is going to take ALOT more time if it's going to be done well. My job will include lighting and animating as well.

I would like to hear what your opinions are concerning how long it would/could/should take to do this yourself. I feel the urge to tell the producer that this is not a 1-man job but I would like to ask some more artists about this: you =)
I don't know yet if I can accept the job or not because of how much work it is.

Regards

Autarkis
09-15-2010, 09:37 PM
Im guessing that I would basicly have to model and rig at least 5-8 different characters, and give them different textures, as well as rigging them. The animation will probably be done on just one character then duplicate it to the others or so(...)My job will include lighting and animating as well.

My initial guess was that this would take 1 person at least 2-3 weeks of constant hard work to get this done, but after a couple of hours thinking about it, I suspect this is going to take ALOT more time if it's going to be done well.


2-3 weeks? that's an insanely short time frame to model/texture/rig/animate/light a cg crowd. Even with duplicating models, textures, rigs, animation with slight tweaks, you'd have to be an accomplished modeler, texture artist, rigger, animator and lighter to get this done, and maybe with no sleep at all for those 3 weeks actually meet that deadline. How long is the shot you'll be animating for? It seems that your producer does not understand much about a cg workflow to think that this would be a one man job.

Lightweight
09-15-2010, 09:56 PM
2-3 weeks? that's an insanely short time frame to model/texture/rig/animate/light a cg crowd. Even with duplicating models, textures, rigs, animation with slight tweaks, you'd have to be an accomplished modeler, texture artist, rigger, animator and lighter to get this done, and maybe with no sleep at all for those 3 weeks actually meet that deadline. How long is the shot you'll be animating for? It seems that your producer does not understand much about a cg workflow to think that this would be a one man job.

The shot is 3 seconds or so which is quite short, but as you are saying, this is way, way too much work for a ~3 week deadline. The producer hasn't said there wont be more people on this, just that Im the first one he's calling. And like you are saying, a schedule like this would require me to be a pioneer within each of these areas, which Im not :)
Thanks for your input, it helps me from making a probably stupid decision.

rtrska
09-16-2010, 01:16 AM
This would be an extraordinary amount of work for a mere 90ish frames of footage. I'm wondering if it would be possible to just fake out the characters by "billboarding" a short loop of a person animation onto a grid. If the scene's already been shot you'd have to re-create the lighting. If it hasn't yet, you could probably throw up a greenscreen and get a few dozen people to use as the virtual stand-ins, so the lighting will match up nearly perfectly. Some monkey work doing color manipulation on the animations could give a seemingly wider variety of people too.

Ahh well, it sounds easy, in theory... but then everything works perfectly, in theory :)

earlyworm
09-17-2010, 11:50 AM
Agreed. Shooting people on greenscreen cards might be the way to go for time and budget. Also if they haven't shot it yet then shooting multiple passes with the real crowd positioned throughout the frame might work.

Lightweight
09-17-2010, 09:10 PM
Yeah greenscreening people would probably be the best thing in the end, although the moving camera will make it alot harder probably. Not my field of expertise really.

I just started modeling what is supposed to be a very realistic male model, starting with the head.. I am about 60% done with a real good basemesh and it's taken me about 12 hours. Can't see that this project is doable with that short timeframe :P

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