View Full Version : Earthquake - VFX Challenge - Leonard

11 November 2002, 04:10 AM
OK this will be the first challenge I'm in. Here's my storyboard for the sequence.

1) Still frame. Car and lamppost.
2) Mild shake, crack appearing
3) Heavy shake, fissure expanding, gravel and dust falling in and coming out of fissure
4) shake settles down, lamp post falls and smashes onto car lying across fissure.


11 November 2002, 04:14 AM
oh no hello!!! Leo is in da house!! Ali is gonna have some competition :buttrock:

Looks great Leo, can't wait to see how it comes together, man it's good to see you in this challenge, rock on!!


11 November 2002, 05:23 AM
I presume we post here for the vfx WIP?

Sorry me new in vfx challenge.

Edit: nevermind, i know where to post now... sorry boss.

11 November 2002, 06:34 AM
Rock on Leo :buttrock:

i am starting my thread later tomorrow.


11 November 2002, 10:43 AM
Nice. Will be fun to see your progress.


11 November 2002, 03:49 AM
I went out and took the footage today.

Here's a very rough project plan for the shot:

Duration: 5 seconds @ 25fps PAL
Locked-down (no camera tracking)

I'm using two pieces of footage. One is a full 5 second long clean plate (without the car), and another with the car.

The car will be rotoscoped and camera mapped onto geometry.
The road will be made of several pieces of geometry and footage camera mapped on.

During the earthquake, the road geometry pieces will split apart.

A stobie post (3D) will fall from the right (out of frame) and crush the car. Using morph targets, the car geometry will be deformed to animate the crushing.

I have shot the clean plate, car plate, and have taken orthographic photos of the car (front and right side) to use as texture reference.

Prior to the crushing, the car will be rotoscoped as the reflections on the windscreen are moving (due to wind).

Subtle effects such as dust, bits of gravel and road falling, etc. will be added later, and the actual camera shake in 2D post.


11 November 2002, 03:58 AM
Here are the orthographic projections of the car to use as texture maps when the crushing of the car reveals parts of geometry not in the footage.


11 November 2002, 06:38 AM

All this knowledge!

This is going to be so cool :D

I thought i'd give this so tempting VFX challenge a try... but now i am so not into know sooo many things...

It's just blowing me away.....

Can't wait to see it :D


11 November 2002, 06:53 AM
Hey Leo - you are finally joining in a challenge! Way to go - I'm sure this is going to be great :D
Best of luck to you (and everyone else too) in this incredible challenge :thumbsup:

Storyboards are looking wicked so far, Leo, I'm so looking forward to seeing some more from the Head Honcho ;)

11 November 2002, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by CobraX

I thought i'd give this so tempting VFX challenge a try... but now i am so not into know sooo many things...

Hey, I might talk a lot of technical stuff, but I've never attempted a shot like this before! This is my first live action VFX shot, so I'm learning as I go along too. :scream:

Hope you change your mind and give it a go!


11 November 2002, 10:21 AM
Wow, I really looking forward to see your progress! I think it's great with a Vfx challange.

And I think your start looks great! Please show us all the steps :)
I'd love to learn more about Vfx!

11 November 2002, 12:11 PM
nice idea, gonna follow this thread closely. :thumbsup:

hmm, when the car gets hit, make the alarm go of or something, always cool :D

11 November 2002, 03:50 PM
Hey Leo, are those stills from your footage? If so what equipment are you using to get such great quality video. I'm stuck with analog and it just doesnt hold up!!!

Any suggestions!

11 November 2002, 12:22 PM
Yes those stills are from the footage. It looks so good because I took a still frame into Photoshop, did a auto-levels and resampled the image to 320x240 from the original PAL size. :beer:

No special equipment. I borrowed the video camera from Dr. Mark Snoswell ( -- a Sony TRV900, went out to an intersection near his place and shot.


11 November 2002, 04:05 PM
Ok, that clears things up a bit. Thanks and hope you manage to make the final look this good. Just managed to get hold of a digital! But the weathers gone poo!! arrgh. Anyway, look forward to watchin u progress.

11 November 2002, 04:24 PM
I must say you picked out the most difficult place on earth for the shot.
I think an urban environment would be much easier to simulate an earthquake.
Maybe if you shake it (the whole image) enough and add some leaves falling from the trees it will look OK.
But... your concept drawings showed some buildings in the background.

Check out this:


11 November 2002, 08:12 PM
That's real freaky i was gonna post about that in my last post! You read my mind. Is it new then? Cos i just recently found it too. Imagine - cammeramatching and Mokey all wrapped into one. - I love this prog and the best bit - non commercial all is free!!! This kicks Matchmovers ass, after a night of playing with it, i managed to use lines to help create camera perspective and focal length. Oh and the automatic mtching is great too!

Not much good for this project though!

I guess it was mere selfshiness that I didn't post this earlier. Well done for posting and not being selfish!!

Oh and it's produced by a fellow uk university!! Manchester! wow.

11 November 2002, 01:49 AM
Looks great Leo... also happy to see you participating. :)

Don't worry too much about the trees shaking... Camera shake adds motion blur which would obscure any leaf/branch shaking in the distance.


11 November 2002, 05:05 AM

I've done a very basic animation blocking to test that the camera mapping holds up when the fissure expands. So far so good.

To do:
- Texture the undersurface realistically
- Make the crack more 'organic' with rubble falling as the fissure expands. I probably actually have to individually create geometry and make the bits fall off the road. Could be time consuming...

Here's the animation (120KB Quicktime)


11 November 2002, 05:47 AM
Here it is again, this time with the car camera mapped in.

120KB Quicktime


11 November 2002, 05:52 AM
I haven't made the geometry for the car yet, but in case anyone is interested in what the scene looks like in 3D at the moment, here it is.


11 November 2002, 07:49 AM
:) i wish i knew how to do this... i have anyways wanted to work on movie effects and things ever since i watched "movie magic" yeeeeears ago.. with all the miniture models and the progression to computers and compositing....
unfortunately i dont know any school like that to go to... so im getting traditional art degree in college and working digital by myself.. hoping one day to get in and do some cutting edge work

i dont have the programs to do this tho.. i only have max and photoshop... no compositing programs or camera or anything

how did you learn to do this.?

i cant wait to see your progression :)

11 November 2002, 08:13 AM
Hey Leonard,

Great work there, really liking the progress and am very happy that MAX is being used here to show that it's perfectly capable of pulling this off.

Looking fantastic, hope to see more soon.

Will a tut arise out of the winner from this challenge?


11 November 2002, 08:28 AM
Originally posted by Nikodemus
how did you learn to do this.?

This is the first VFX shot that I'm attempting, so I'm learning as I go along. I learned about Camera Mapping from Alex Lindsay while I was helping out at dvGarage (, but the 3ds max tutorials do go through it too.

Heya Fede - yup. If I can actually make this look convincing, I'll write a tute as well! Right now I'm worried about how to make the crack look and feel realistic.


11 November 2002, 08:37 AM

I have no clue how to help you as i've never done a shot like this either but, i think that, as you suggested, using the rubbel and dust will bring that element of reality to it.

Also consider that, when ther is a crack it's not as linear as that what you have and you will have odd pieces rising above others.

In real circumstances, thats what you would have.

Besides, with the camera shaking and all i think it will come toghether.

Maybe have lava comeing out of the crack, it should be very easy ;)

Rent Volcano with Tommy lee jones and dantes peak, i think they have some good shots you can use as reference.


11 November 2002, 10:06 AM
Haha. This test render looked so crap that I had to share it! :beer:

11 November 2002, 10:19 AM
wow Leo that's some progress, I'm especially liking the fact you're using max :thumbsup: keep it going bro


11 November 2002, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by Leonard
Haha. This test render looked so crap that I had to share it! :beer:

Naa, it's not bad at all. It's actually really good for the stage your at. Just remember to bust things up a lot. I know your in a early stage but.... soo clean :)

Looking forward to the next update.

11 November 2002, 05:05 PM
Looking really good so far Leo. I wasn't sure if your plan to deform the camera mapped car would look right but even in this test it's obviously going to work out. Maybe if you can pull it off almost totally photo-real you should try to sneak it onto America's funniest home videos. :)

11 November 2002, 05:58 PM

Nice work buddy,
Suggestion: I think it might look better if you didn't quite pull the road as though it were slidding. Instead just open it slightly but fade it from bottom to top like your already doing so it seems to run along the road. Good Luck.

Oh and you can get an idea of how I'm attempting the crack on my thread. I'm also using Max! Whaaay we rule!!

I'm still in the experimental stage - doing the camera mapping now - so the textures match up.

11 November 2002, 01:32 PM
This looks good!

I like the sliding you have now. I guess if you make the motion a bit "jerky" it would look better. (An earthquake is "tecktonic" plates sliding in opposite directions my information is correct, this would make the sliding you have correct?). If you also elevated or lowered it a bit it would be nice.

And have you any geometry of the car other than the image plane? If so, could you post a screenshot of it for us to see?

This is going to be very good!:thumbsup:

11 November 2002, 08:53 AM
Hi guys!

I'm currently doing the detailed modelling of the car so that it will deform correctly when the stobie post smashes into it. Surface Tools in max 5.


11 November 2002, 08:43 PM
Crikey - you're putting a lot of detail into that car model. Should look pretty convincing when it distorts though...

11 November 2002, 03:15 AM
the fissure looks to clean and earthquakes have a lot of stored energy so when the pressure is release it will start with tremendous force...crack opens faster and the dies down.
and i believe it has been mentioned to that some vertical movement of the plates would add some extra ummph to this piece

11 November 2002, 03:45 AM
I have no time to enter this challenge :annoyed:

I'm so in next time though :airguitar

11 November 2002, 05:30 AM

Thanks for the comments.

Chi - the animations I posted were very early test anims to check that the camera mapping would hold up. I'm completely remodelling the plates and will do the mapping/animation again.

Right now, have to get the car to look correct :eek: !


11 November 2002, 11:06 AM
My first post,forgive my ignorance

It seems strange that the ground the camera is standing on(or is it?) slides under the camera when the other side of the fissure is locked to it(hope you know what I mean)

Although it might not be so obvious when the camera shake is added

hopefully this will arrive at the right place

11 November 2002, 12:31 PM
Hi LightFreeze, and welcome to the forum!

Actually, I think you made a very good observation. I didn't notice it myself but you are right, the ground is sliding under the camera.

As you say, maybe the camera _isn't _ standing on the ground, but it's kind of implied that it is.

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