View Full Version : Previsualization work
I've been playing for the last ten months, day and night in my home office trying to master the technical and creative aspects of compositing/special effects as well as the workings of different programmes. I've come to the point where I feel ready to put it all together and am interested in starting by working in the area of previsualization. I've read what I can on current developments but am still trying to generate a plan for getting into this area as a freelancer as well as getting more concrete info on what people are doing in terms of previz work.
By way of background and current software, I've worked in film/television for the past fifteen years, most recently as a director of short films/feature/episodic television. My strength was actors but I dreamed of green screens so at the beginning of this year bought myself Final cut and Combustion on a mac. One thing led to another and I've since acquired Kaydara's Motionbuilder for character animation and am working with Wings 3d to make basic props/set models and to improve my character modelling skills. I'm also working with Maya's PLE although given I haven't made a penny in this time I'll wait til I actually make some money to acquire that one.
So my questions. I'd be using Motionbuilder for basic character/camera/scene setup and some effects with additional props/set from wings. Combustion for additional effects and layering. a) Lighting: I want to provide as much detail as I can but don't want to provide more than is needed. I can obviously provide a general feel for the lighting setup but should I be trying to set up folders of lighting setups that attempt to mimic different actual on-set lights? Is this going too far in terms of attempted detail?
2) Dollies/Cranes/Camera movement - I'm thinking of getting technical specs on all dollies/cranes/camera mounts used in my area and modelling track and rotation/height for each one with different low arms/risers so I can provide an actual shot possible with a particular equipment package. Does this make sense? Are people doing this? What about steadicam? Should I animate a moving camera with appropriate expressions to generate this type of feel?
3) Textures/Backgrounds/Effects - How much should I attempt to detail and make a scene look like the final scene is intended? Should I atempt to go to a location and provide an actual background through various combinations of modelling and mapping or is it better to just provide the untextured forms.
Any response to particular questions or additional general info would be appreciated.
02-28-2004, 12:37 AM
I too am interesting in jumping into the field of PreViz. I've been doing Character Animation for the past 2+yrs, but fee that PreViz is where i want to be at. The things you mentioned sound a lot like what's being done over at the Pixel Liberation Front studios. Pixel Liberation Front (http://www.thefront.com)
I've tried emailing them about aquiring info as to what skill i should enhance or concentrate on to become a PreViz artist, but i think their email system is down.
Anyways, if you have come across some info regarding the skills needed to venture in PreViz, i would definetely appreciate it.
02-28-2004, 08:37 PM
Is there any PreViz artists out there that could give me some insight as to what it takes to be in PreViz?
Any info would be helpful.
03-23-2004, 06:11 PM
Thought this might be helpful. I'm trying to find some reviews on it, but found none yet.
Maya Techniques | Pre-Visualization (http://www.alias.com/eng/education/learning_tools/maya_products/mt_pre_visual.shtml)
If i decide to get it, i'll let you know.
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I was actually going to let you know about the same Maya dvd. I've only been able to see content details on the Alias site, but given it's one of the few resources out there will be ordering it. You also might want to check out an article by S.D. Katz in the Nov. 1/03 issue of Millimeter magazine ("Populist Previz").
Best of luck
07-30-2004, 08:52 PM
I missed your post! Hehe, and now it's months later :) I'm still working as an animator, but still have that burning desire to be a previs artist. I just saw the movie Bourne Supremecy and saw that PLF had done the previs for it! man, i wanna work there.
Did you end up getting the DVD? I have not yet. I'm hoping it goes down in price. hehe
Hope all is well.
07-31-2004, 05:42 PM
I have some experience at Pre-Vis and am glad to give you my thoughts. PLF is excellent at technical pre-vis (how high the camera is at such and such a frame, etc.) and that type of work can be very, very helpful for visual effects shots. There is also another category - the type that I specialize in - which is essentially 'conceptual' Pre-Vis. You see, rather than doing pre-vis on a few shots, and saving the rest of the crew time by figuring out stuff for them, I prefer to Pre-Vis an entire sequence, edit it together, and tell the best story. If you find out in the edit that you can be a more efficient storyteller and don't need 20 of those 200 visual effects shots, than can translate to saving the production as much as a million dollars. Producers love to hear this and they are the ones hiring the previs crew.
Either way, one thing that you must concentrate on as a Pre-Vis artist is how to be an effective visual storyteller. You should know about composition, timing, blocking, editing, etc. Because as a Pre-Vis artist working on a shot, you are concerned at that moment with the exact same things that a director is concerned with. If you want to be a good Pre-Vis artists, a good filmmaker, and have the ability to grow into other leadership roles in the industry, I highly recommend that you spend time learning about film as an art form, either through a classroom setting or books such as "Sight, Sound, and Motion" by Herbert Zettl or "Shot by Shot" by Steven Katz.
While technical prowess is important, the vast majority of Pre-Vis artists I have hired I have done so due to the clear visual storytelling sense evident on their demo reel. I am very happy that I personally got into Pre-Vis because it really is one of the purest disciplines in the industry.
Best of luck,
08-02-2004, 08:05 AM
Wow! David Dozoretz! Thanks for that reply. " 'conceptual' Pre-Vis" sounds exactly like what I want to do. I mean ever since i saw episode 1 dvd and some of the pre-vis stuff you did, i was hooked.
I was having some difficulty trying to figure out what skills to attain as a pre-vis artist. I was thinking in terms of cg like modeling, animation, scripting, etc... but now i see what i should be learning. But how important are the skills i just mentioned in previs?
So pre-vis demo reels will usually consist of a story? Do you have any online links to some good prev-vis demo reels? I'd like to see what one looks like.
Thanks again for posting DD. I wish i could've taken your class at Gnomon, but for now I'll have to go with books. If you have more suggestions of books, please share them with us.
Hi, I Thought I'd drop a few words as I happen do to some previz from time to time.
First, what David Dozoretz said is very true : you have to be able to translate the director vision and style precisely. I find that I spend most of my time not actually modelling or designing the shot, but nailing exactly what the director has in mind, which is actually really fun to do as you kind of get to "direct" a bit yourself.
Be prepare for lots of revisions so keep your setups easy to manage. (I once had to work a couple of weeks with the director sitting behind me 12 hours a day : knowing the software and how to be fast proved useful).
On a more technical note, learn how real camera work and move : what are their limitation, etc. It's easy to forget in 3D that there are physical law in reality.
We specialise here in motion control shots, which really often demend previz, so precision is key. We've got a really precise model of our motion control robot that is setup exactly like the physical one and we take measurement of everthing on the location where were gonna shoot to build a 3D scene. I often do 360 panoramic view of the location that I map unto my geometry to give it a more plausible look (but that's just extras).
Another important thing to consider is the lens of the camera that will be use. We've built ourself a database of the most communly used lens type with how they relate in the 3D world. If you shoot miniatures, a really small difference in the FOV ends up making a huge difference on set.
That's pretty much it
Previz is fun
08-05-2004, 06:40 PM
Thanks for the input Sly. You mentioned that it was good to be fast, and knowing the software. I assume then it's important know your software well.
I've also been recommended this book:
In a Blink of an Eye
Wondering if you guys had any thoughts on it.
Thanks for the info.
08-06-2004, 10:42 PM
I just noticed this job post on highend3d for a previs artist at Digital Domain.
Seems you must be pretty proficient in most technical areas of cg. I think I'll apply anyways :)
08-10-2004, 05:20 AM
Have any of you found any pre-vis reels online other than the ones on Pixel Liberation Front's site?
Having a hard time finding any.
08-10-2004, 12:49 PM
check out www.proof-inc.com (http://www.proof-inc.com/) - they're a previz company that was spawned out of PLF by Ron Frankel. They mostly do on-set previz.
08-14-2004, 07:59 AM
Cool thx for the link.
While I was at Siggraph, i ran into the Previs guys for Star Wars Episode III. Gave me some great tips on previs. It was awesome.
09-25-2004, 05:45 PM
Hey guys, i've been given the opportunity to do previs where i work, and it's been a lot of fun working in previs and collaborating with the directors and editors... a learning experience for sure. Thanks for the comments and advice, they have proved valuable in my work.
01-16-2006, 12:00 PM
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