View Full Version : Earthquake - VFX Challenge - CobraX

11 November 2002, 07:41 AM
The video:
So here it is, the final thing and the first footage...poor quality...sorry about that..but it's the sorenson codec..


After having thought about it a lot of times....i decided to start ,y first challenge ever with the one in which i know the least.

I am sure i will learn stuff...and as VFX were the reason why i got in the 3D world i'll have to start learning one day or another, so here we go :)

I'll be taking my shot on fraiday after noon if the weather is good here in was kinda snowy tonight. Could be a cool shot with a road with snow.

I'll try to post a mini-storyboard too.

I am thinking about a fissure that splits into two cracks leaving either a piece of the road fall or rise up, anyways...trying to have different levels on the road after the quake...

How does it sound?

Anyways...we'll see wehere it goes :wavey:

Good luck to everybody :thumbsup:

11 November 2002, 08:03 AM
I know mister AMcKay sent me tutorial for camera matching on 3DSMax so as to model the street we filmed.

I am using Maya 4.5 Unlimited and i am really new to this stuff...and i can't find out how to do this in i have to use Maya Live?

And Moreover, for the 5 seconds shots, i am pretty sure that having an empty street is alot easier right? can you find an empty street in a big town?:surprised
....i'll take a back alley i guess:p

11 November 2002, 11:48 AM
You wouldnt "have" to use Maya Live! , but you might as well since it is designed for Camera Matching ;)..

Just run throuh the LIVE! tutorial in the Maya help, its awesome fun, and you'll really want to use LIVE after that .

11 November 2002, 04:37 PM
OK so after roaming in the streets here is my final spot.

I'ts kinda empty...but as it's going to be my first try ever let's just try to make a fissure and we'll see where it goes...

In my mind a fissure should start from the bottom of the pic and go straitght forward passing by the sewers...wich should make the "manhole cover" fly in the air letting some steam coming out

The light pole should fall on the postal box too squashing it a little, i thought about shattering the glass of the light, we'll see...

anyways it's what i am hoping for to do, with of course the asphalt being at different levels with cracks and fissures...

11 November 2002, 04:22 PM
Sounds good, but you might want to pick a scene with less trees...they usually sway a lot during earthquakes.
It is possible but could be hard.
Good luck! :thumbsup:

11 November 2002, 05:00 AM
Hey everybody, i forgot to post my noodle..hehe or some might say, anyways here is my mini-storyboard on th earthquake...

By the way...this earthquake of mine is really getting nowhere...
i can't figure out of to model the scene in maya and making it match, as well as texturing the modelled stuff... :shrug:


Anyways... here is the storyboard.

11 November 2002, 02:30 AM
Ok, so here is an update on what i am working on...

Apparently in Maya Live I've been able to lock the camera, very easily...i don't know if it's good..but we'll see.

Here i am trying to map correctly the texture to the cube that represents the street.

I have created an ambient light too to fake the sun.

So far it lokks ok to me. I'll try to map the texture correctly tonight...and see where it goes.

11 November 2002, 02:43 PM

I think i'll "start over"..which means, just taking new footage.

Thank you 3dsmax5 for the comment about the trees i'll listen to you for the next Footage...

For the tried some cack openings.... but quite frankly it doesn't look good. My most convincing crack opening into a fissure would be with some Polygon Sculpting (Artisan) tool.

...this takes time to learn. it's all trial and error...

I hope i'll be able to finish it.

C ya later.

11 November 2002, 05:15 PM
How do you convert Projection texture to UVs in MAYA? or any other apps?

11 November 2002, 12:57 AM
Hi CobraX,
Well, in C4D projection mapping is always from the current camera position, so you have to convert to UVW which you do be clicking on a texture tag and selecting 'create UVW coordinates'.

In things like Universe/3D Toolkit, I think that mapping is tied to a specific camera for that purpose, so you don't necessarily need to convert to UVW, though I'm sure you still can.

I'm sure that Maya will have something similar - check the documentation.

Don't worry if you don't manage to finish, the main thing is to try to do what you can, and to learn what you can along the way.

And you're not alone if you're finding that this stuff takes a lot of time and experimenting!

11 November 2002, 05:46 AM
...hey astrofish, thanx for the support dude :buttrock:

It's nice to see that i'm not the only one here tearing my hair out to get this thing working...and it's also pretty neat to get some tips from guys just like yourself :D

So thank you again astrofish...i'll do what i can


12 December 2002, 05:00 AM
Ok here is the end of my first ever VFX challenge.
I would like to thank my girlfriend for her support(and her laptop *ahem* my CPU burned),AMcKay, Pyro2301, Johs and Astrofish for the support too.

So here it is, the final thing and the first footage...poor quality...sorry about that..but itès the sorenson codec..

Thank you CgTalk for this Great challenge i have learned a lot :)

Here is the DivX version <= Better Quality!


12 December 2002, 11:11 AM
Well done CobraX!

I don't know about you, but I'm glad it's over now - it means I can take a break. (I was dreading another extension...)

12 December 2002, 08:20 PM
Links to the MOV files have been chagend so now you can see them :D

12 December 2002, 08:35 AM
One of many critiques on my VFX challenge would be the lack of photorealism of my 3D elements. It looks too fake.

I really wish i can work on it is a very important thing to know.

Another critique would be the crack and fissure itself, the lack of realism, no texture on the inside and the lack of debris popping out.

So i guess it is an overall learning i have to do :) animation, texturing & lighting, and modeling too which is why i love digital effects and just don't stop LEARNING :bounce: :buttrock:

That's what it's all about :) ... only critiques to the guys that viewed my thread and the others' would be, in my opinion, the lack of critiques and comments we recieved.

Critique is what makes us see things we doubt to change or didn't even thought about changing, in other words it makes your work a better one as long as you keep an open mind.

My humble opinion here, it was an excellent experience which i am willing to repeat...and if i get good enough which i am going to get, i'll get a job in VFX :D

Perseverance would be my final word. :)

This was my analysis of this first challenge.
Thank you for reading :)

Take care all :)


12 December 2002, 10:37 AM
I thought your last post was a good idea, a kind of overview of what you thought about the challenge now that it's over. I'll write a similar one in my thread.

In reply to your comments:

I think that this is something that is always difficult, because unlike any other style, it can be obviously wrong.

Have you looked at the DVGarage ( site, where they tend to concentrate on photorealism?

In addition to the products that they are selling (which I think are very good value), they have a set of mini video tutorials for free here (

The guy who set up the site (Alex Lindsay) is an ex-ILM animator and he really knows his stuff.

If you haven't seen the mini video tutorials before, and you want to learn about photorealism, you _must_ watch them. I recommend them very highly.

It's worth checking out their forums as well, as they have a lot of talented people there.

Just one word of warning, the 3D Toolkit product that they sell is very good, and the app. that you get is _very_ powerful. BUT, the modeller is also very unforgiving if you don't use it 'properly'. Unfortunately, you find out what 'properly' is by trial and error in many cases. There's a 30 day demo if you want to try it.

Anyway, make sure you watch the mini video tutorials. Do it now.

A few specifics regarding your entry,
I think the most obvious 'fake' element is the red container, because its colour is too saturated. The colour is more vivid than anything else in the scene.
In real-life, colours are usually fairly muted, especially outdoors.

Another important thing is to tint your lights appropriately. I set my lights for the CG objects to be the same as the sky colour of the background. This gives them the right tint.
The thing you've got to watch for is that your camera mapped textures are already correctly tinted, so you need to use pure white lights on them (or colour correct the footage).
Actually, I think I'll write a mini-tutorial on how I went about colour matching. I'm certainly no expert, but my approach seemed to work.

Other things are to add grime and surface variation to materials. The number one giveaway that something is CG is that it is too clean and perfect. Its amazing how much more real things can look if you just add a layer of grime. This is the kind of thing that they really stress over at DVGarage, and I think they are right.

Oh yes, I don't know whether you did or not, but _never_ use ambient lights in your scene. Proper radiosity is great, except that it's to slow to be practical in most cases (for animations), but standard ambient lights just wash out all the shadow detail and make your images look flat.

Yes, it's very helpful to get constructive criticism, and if the threads got more, that would have been a good thing.
It's important to be be self-critical as well, which you are being.

Yes, CG is definately a non-stop learning experience. Makes it really interesting.

Definately. If you want to get good at anything, you've got to stick at it.

So many people these days expect to just be able to read a book, watch a few tutorials, and then be instant masters. The only way to get good is to keep practicing. Certainly, books and tutorials are very helpful, but you don't learn anything much from them unless you actually try to implement what they are describing, and experiment with it.

Yes, I agree that this challenge was a great experience, and I also will certainly take part again.

12 December 2002, 11:33 AM
The thing you've got to watch for is that your camera mapped textures are already correctly tinted, so you need to use pure white lights on them (or colour correct the footage).
I would sugest that since you use Maya, you should use the "surface shader" to the surfaces where you project the video onto the the goemetry. That way you dont have to ligth it at all, and you can concentrate on the light matching on the real 3D objects. Then make a sescond render scene where you switch the surface shader with a "Use Background shader" to render the shadow pass.

_never_ use ambient lights in your scene
absolutly correct.

12 December 2002, 02:29 PM
Thank you so much Astrofish ans johs for your comments.

Man Astrofish yoiu have been SUCH a great resources! Your posts are mostly filled with great stuff. And thank you for that.

Thanks for your feedback too :D

12 December 2002, 01:08 PM
No problems!

Just one further comment on what Johs said:

I don't know Maya, but it sounds like the 'surface shader' is equivalent to the 'luminance channel' in Cinema4D.

I originally used this myself for the camera mapped geometry, and as you say, it means that lights don't affect this material.

However, I eventually replaced this material with one that put a colour corrected camera map in the standard colour channel, and I then lit it with the same lights as the other CG elements.

The benefit of this over the unlit luminance approach was that as my road fragments rotated, their shading varied slightly due to the changing angles relative to the lights.

So, the results weren't strictly accurate because of my simple light setup, but this approach did look a lot better than the luminance approach.

Note that I'm talking about shading here, not shadowing. As you say, shadowing can be put into a seperate pass.

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