View Full Version : Challenge issues resolved here.

01 January 2003, 12:57 AM
we're rolling...

01 January 2003, 01:35 AM
This is complex and yes 'Challenging' shot that will require the full use of the 5 fingers of CG... If we are eligable to make a fist... ahh greater the blow of impact you shall recieve...

Are we encouraged and able to team up? If so, is there a group limit?

Or shall we all stand alone in our efforts...

Thanks for the Challenge guys...

01 January 2003, 01:45 AM

We actually discussed this... but didn't put it in the rules.

pairing is allowed.


Joel Hooks
01 January 2003, 02:10 AM
Does the "digital double" have to be a super realistic model of the actor? I am talking about in general to achieve this effect.

This sounds really interesting, I may have to drop my other challenge and go for this instead!

01 January 2003, 03:34 AM
Is the VFX challenge going from the 13th of january till the 9th of february or the 28th??!?!

01 January 2003, 03:55 AM
Originally posted by CobraX
Is the VFX challenge going from the 13th of january till the 9th of february or the 28th??!?!

Sorry the 28th, I'll change it :blush:


01 January 2003, 03:56 AM
Great challange.

Curious though....

You have 10 steps? We did this way back in school in about 4. You don't really need a 3d character for this effect, as AE or DFX can do this with a few filters?

I suppose I am asking, have to do all steps, or are those just outlines for people who may not know how to accomplish the task?

01 January 2003, 03:58 AM
pretty scary challenge by the a newbie i don't know if i can do this......who knows what will come out...:blush: :sad: :cry:

Joel Hooks
01 January 2003, 04:13 AM
Originally posted by CobraX
pretty scary challenge by the a newbie i don't know if i can do this......who knows what will come out...:blush: :sad: :cry:

I am thinking the same thing, but I really want to try. The part I don't understand is the camera mapping and digital double. I understand the principle - it's just the implementation that I am curious (ie scared) about.

amorano - Could you elaborate on the 4 step process? I'd imagine the overall quality would be better with 3d effects as opposed to filters.

01 January 2003, 06:02 AM
hehe, video rental stores will now see a very odd and unexplainable rise in 'heavy metal' rentals.

01 January 2003, 06:07 AM
monster challenge this is. :insane:

gonna be wicket fun though :twisted:

01 January 2003, 07:51 AM

as I mentioned in the description, this effect can be done in 2D but your design gets limited...

if you want your actor to have wisps of smoke crawl around his limbs, turn into ropes which tighten on his skin down to the bones while they burst into flame and the skin burns on in wispy flakes while the muscles and tendons turn into jelly hanging on the bones, which slowly ooze onto the ground, evaporate into green smoke, while the skeleton crumbles from the head down... dont think you could do that in After Effects....



01 January 2003, 08:12 AM
hahah, is that all you got Alex???

:hmm: I'd like to see the actual body odor for 7-15 frames as the light reaches the armpits, causing a violent gaseous effect, triggering convulsions in the body that shakes off slabs of flesh, splattering 2 feet in the air, all the while the interaction of light emulsifies with the splatters of searing skin, flesh, organs, nerves, muscle, and bone, causing a vast array of colored light emisions...

but thats just me, :surprised

-Count Cog
VFX Minion...

01 January 2003, 08:16 AM
Originally posted by A.Alvarez

as I mentioned in the description, this effect can be done in 2D but your design gets limited...

......dont think you could do that in After Effects....

Was just curious if it was a limitation to only be done in 3D, no need for a pull down the pants comparison :)

01 January 2003, 09:02 AM
does it ....really have to look like its the 80s?
i mean can i just use modern clothing, because finding custome is kind of difficult...just wondering :eek:

01 January 2003, 11:37 AM
To all the scared "newbies" out there. Go ahead do it! I really dont know how to make this effect. Ill just have to take it one step at a time, and with the help you get from the forum, i would think anyone with a bit of stamina can make a product you can be happy with. (Dont have to be perfect the first or second time, practice makes perfect..or something like that).

Good luck!

01 January 2003, 02:07 PM
sounds pretty full on :) might have to watch the rsi staying in control... lol

i just have 1 question/comment... for those poor folk (yes i am talking about students) out there, it may not be so easy getting a hold of a video camera to shoot with.... this may shy a few poeple away from getting involved...

i wonder if (optional) example footage could be offered to work with. I know this limits you in what you can do creatively with the shot, (ie the plate is a full body shot, when person x wants to do a closer shot) but i think an optional generic stock would enable those of us without cameras to get into it a bit more... (maybe even see who can make the most creative use of a shot)...
i think for so many poeple the point isnt about quality or anything.. the focus would be on the fact that alot was learnt while working through the shot that they otherwise could not have worked on.

just a thought.... ill probably have to save up the cents to go and hire a dvcam...

broke me :p

01 January 2003, 04:17 PM
Two questions:

1. You specify a locked down camera, but does the shot have to be a single piece of footage? I.e. we can't pan, but can we cut between different angles (each with a locked camera)?

2. Since this isn't a modelling challenge as such, can we use third party models in the shot (e.g. a skeleton model)?

Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 04:57 PM
this time, i also want to join the challenge.
one question, just to make sure, that i`ve understood the rules:

-do i have to take a specific scene from the original movie and turn it into a live action interpretation, or...

-can i also come up with my own idea, of how someone gets killed by this green orb (which in my opinion would be easier for those who don`t have easy access to a copy of heavy metal)

i thought of some kind of mutation effect, where someone`s body turns into an ugly something when he touches the source of evil - just like in akira!

otherwise, i hope that i can find a tape of the movie somewhere in a video store. but this film is old and not very well known in germany.
i have seen the movie some years ago, but cannot remember it properly.

thanks... manuel

Aaron Moore
01 January 2003, 05:02 PM
I'm so lost... anyone have any screenshots or images of what the challenge is suppost to be like? I won't be able to go to vid store for a few more days :(

01 January 2003, 07:37 PM
sorry... I don't say that I'm completly lost with the enligsh language but your way of trying to explain gets me off and without reference I have no clue what the competition is about!

But it sure sounds awesome! :>

01 January 2003, 05:38 PM
In regards to the previous three comments...

you have to see the film...

But yes, you can design your own effect... thats why the challenge is an 'interpretation' of one of the shots.


01 January 2003, 10:45 PM
I'm also interested in Astrofish's #2 question... does all the modeling work have to be original? or can we use other models?
I have a skeleton model from a previous project I worked on
that would work well in this shot

Originally posted by astrofish
Two questions:

1. You specify a locked down camera, but does the shot have to be a single piece of footage? I.e. we can't pan, but can we cut between different angles (each with a locked camera)?

2. Since this isn't a modelling challenge as such, can we use third party models in the shot (e.g. a skeleton model)?

Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 10:54 PM
That's fine...

It is quite common in production to reuse assests whenever possible.

It is just a question of whether you have the rights to the assests being used or not.


01 January 2003, 07:50 PM
Come on, don't be wussies! :wip: I want to see some action in here, it's been too quiet! :beer:

01 January 2003, 06:40 AM
For modeling our actor replica in 3D...i know it might a trivial answer to this question...but, do we need to model as acurate as possible the actor and clothes so as to have an awesome effect????

01 January 2003, 07:34 AM
I saved a few movies from Tippet Studio's shot breakdowns from Blade2, one of them shows the breakdown of matchmoving the CG reaper mouths to the live actor... basically exactly what we need to do... I'll see If I can't start a thread and share it. Otherwise go rent the DVD!

You answered your own question CobraX, :D OF COURSE!

See look...

" acurate as possible" = "awesome effect..."

You want your CG actor to be as close a duplicate to the live actor because you can have more detailed effects with more control and realistic interactions...

So for my shot I want to do some volumetric lighting... so if my CG model doesnt match, lets say a big collar on the shirt... then its going to look funny if the lighting doesnt match the collar from the actor... ( if I were to do it this way, ;) )

You need to sell you shot regardless, so it's also smart to design your effect and determine where you can get away with less detail, and where you will need a lot.

I think the reason that VFX shots with CG/Human interactions are looking so damn good is because of the ability to one, get a perfect matchmove, and 2, building and ANIMATING precise CG models to create the effect... Check out the new matrix teaser, you'll see Agent Smith hit Neo's chest with some chromatic virus that starts to spread across his body and up his face... same stuff.

So our first step is fairly easy because we have a locked down Camera... the 2nd is more of the challenge... but think about it once we have a good model to work with and matched the animation, we have the ability to create whatever effect we want, and it will be a, as you say "awesome effect" :thumbsup:

Matrix Teaser Thread (

thats my 2 pennies...

01 January 2003, 02:08 AM
Thank you for answer Cogliostros it is veryyyy clear :D

Now what about the lighting???

I want to shoot the footage in my building's basement it is very dark...

Are there any tips i could use from anyone?

How should i take notes on the light in the room so as to recreate it in the CG shot?

01 January 2003, 02:34 AM
My shot is going to be dark as well... lucky for you, you have a basement! I gotta go find a location, ie, knock on ppl's doors, "Hi Can I use your..." :cry:

Take notes, diagrams of lighting placement, do an overhead layout. whatever info you can gather in the practical world can help you in the CG world.

If you can get your hands on a chrome ball, you can photograph it and use it for reference, reflection maps, and HDRI...

01 January 2003, 03:09 AM
A chrome ball??? i saw this tonight in the Blade 2 EXTRAS on the DVD pretty interesting material !!!!

WHy the chrome ball and why the other balls....i would like to kow photographing a chrome can help me?

I just scanned my "Story Boards"....... BTW they suck hahah :D :p

01 January 2003, 08:40 AM

The main reasons to photograph a chrome ball in your environment are realistic reflections and as a lighting resource. You can shoot it with the video camera you are using or a still camera for better resolution. I'm sure any of the top 3D apps can use a single image for reflections but the beauty of the sphere is you can place it in the center of your scene and shoot it from 4 sides. You can then use a program like the free HDRShop, , to process the images into a single panorama or whatever other environment mapping your 3D app uses. I did this for the last competition to get a 360 view of the city.

If you really want to go nuts you can shoot multiple exposures from each angle and combine them into a single HDRI image that some apps can use to do GI style lighting.

Another thing that is helpful is just a solid white or gray ball that you can move around the set while shooting. This way you can get an idea of how the real world lights are illuminating the scene.

Finally if you don't go the chrome or solid sphere route at least shoot a few frames holding up a white piece of paper in the room. You can either use this to white-balance the scene before shooting or use it's value later to bring down the brightness of your CG to better integrate it into the scene.

I hope any of that helped and made some sense, it's past midnight here and I'm only half awake.

01 January 2003, 08:55 AM
Stay Awake!

I'm almost done with my boards! if I can't sleep, you can't either!

heheh :drool:

sleeep... mmm... zZz... :shame:

01 January 2003, 01:06 AM
Hi, i have a question about ORTHOGRAPHICS pictures of my actor.

How should i take them?
With what lighting?
With what background?

01 January 2003, 12:47 PM
I was just wondering. How are people going to create their character models? As one large mesh? As individual pieces? Or adapt an existing (eg Poser) model??

01 January 2003, 02:22 AM
Question: Since we are expected to deliver at 320x240 resolution, that means we could crop DV source pretty tightly without significant loss in our destination format. I've got some issues with my raw video that I'd like to solve by zooming in and panning around in post, to simulate camera motion. Does this violate the spirit of the lockoff requirement? It was shot locked off.

01 January 2003, 11:53 AM
I'm sure that's fine. I think that the locked off camera requirement is just to make life easier.

The previous challenge specified a locked off camera, but then asked us to add fake camera shake anyway...

02 February 2003, 03:53 PM
Ok I have been capturing my footage, but I am quite new to using DV and I think I have damaged the tape. There are large square blocks all over the tape - especially where there is motion.

Will this be aceptable to submit with the effect on top? I am assuming this is more a challenge to see how godo you are at doing the effect, not shootnig the footage.

I cannot really reshoot as I am borrowing the camera - it is not mine.

Has anyone else had a problem with this?


02 February 2003, 04:09 PM
this must be artifacts, caused by the compression of your dv camera. if you`re filming on dv, you cannot avoid this. one thing you could do, is check your settings, when capturing the material. you should always use the best quality settings. otherwise, you pc adds more artifacts to your footage. what codec did u use for capturing and what kind of device/program?

02 February 2003, 04:23 PM
If there are easily visible large blocks, then this sounds more like tape drop outs or camera damage than compression artefacts. After all, if the compression artefacts in DV were really obvious then nobody would be using it.

If you've captured via firewire then there shouldn't be any further artefacts caused by importing into the computer, as it's a direct digital copy.

Do the blocks look like they are confined to alternating good/bad horizontal bands across the image? (It's hard to describe but you'll probably know what I mean if you're seeing it). If so you probably had dirt on one of the heads.

If you're lucky then the heads got dirty _after_ shooting the footage, and it's a playback problem, which can be fixed by cleaning the heads and capturing the footage again. If it was a problem during recording then you're probably stuck with it.

If you can't reshoot then there's not a lot else you can do. If the damage isn't too extensive then you might be able to clone over the damage in your graphics package, but you'd have to do it frame by frame which could take a long time...

Cheers - Steve

02 February 2003, 04:40 PM
thanks Steve and Manuel

Yes there are alternating lines of good and bad so it looks liek clogged heads. I might see if I can get a cleaning tape and hope that it got dirty after I shot it. I captured it on my TV card first

Do you know if a lot of seeking around would cause dirt/damage to the heads?

Also are you meant to stripe (ie lay down a timecode) DV tapes before you use them or is this not necessary? I know with other digital formats (D1/betaSP) this shuodl always be done.

I may be able to reshoot this weekend, although to have any chance of finishing this challenge in time I think this weekend is pretty much my deadline for getting footage.

PS anyone who hasn't shot your footage yet - Auto exposure lock is your friend - use it!

02 February 2003, 05:56 PM
Can you play back other footage on the camera OK?
If you can then the heads are not clogged now, and it was probably bad during recording. Unlucky.

If you can't play back _any_ tapes on the camera without this problem happening then they're clogged now, so you might be lucky and find that your recording was OK.

A lot of seeking _could_ cause particles to flake off the tape, but it shouldn't be a problem in practice unless you are doing a _lot_ and wearing the tape through.

Regarding the timecode, I don't think that it's really necesary, as long as you don't leave any gaps between recordings. Anyone know different?

I guess that this is why my (cheap) DV camera always rewinds a few seconds when I stop recording - extremely annoying...

If you've got a firewire interface, then you should definately use it to get good quality data.

Cheers - Steve

02 February 2003, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by rendermaniac
thanks Steve and Manuel

Also are you meant to stripe (ie lay down a timecode) DV tapes before you use them or is this not necessary? I know with other digital formats (D1/betaSP) this shuodl always be done.

You don't need to. DV comes with a control and timecode track. The trick is to make sure you rewind a few frames back where the timecode ended to make sure you continue to record with a consistant time code index.

Typically, lower end consumer dv cams shouldn't be used as control decks. They are not made to handle the back and forth seeking (most can be easily damaged if a lot of backwards seeking is performed). This is just cause manufacturers are cheap P)

Typically when dealing with consumer level hardware I que up the section I want just before, tape the whole thing, then just edit it down in FCP or AP or whatever flava you got.

And a big most definately on the auto expose lock, if you are luck to have one. It not only keeps the light settings right, but sometimes if you don't have it on, and are shooting in very low light (esp camera incapable of even a 5 or less lux) it will start to autofocus. Known issue on the JVC consumer cameras, very annoying. So much for cheap, good DV.

02 February 2003, 11:42 PM
Just wondering how amny people will try and finish this project anyway even if they miss the deadline? I am planning to myself. would there be any chance of an extension to get some really good work rather than rushing things? (I know that is industry conditions, but most peopel have to make time for this project).

If I can get my character modelled and rigged by the deadline I will be happy! I don't see myself getting any further in less than a week though.


02 February 2003, 02:47 AM
yeah - i would also appreciate an extension of the deadline. i had to learn for my exams for the last two weeks, so i couldn`t really spend some time on the challenge. but i really want to finish it.
two more weeks would be fine !
what do you other guys think?

02 February 2003, 08:08 PM
Well, I won't be able to work on it _at all_ for the two weeks after the current deadline, so it wouldn't help me. I don't mind if the deadline is exterded though.

Cheers - Steve

02 February 2003, 02:40 AM
I'm not against the idea... I'll email the mods to see what they think.

02 February 2003, 10:48 PM
I agree with the others... 2 weeks would be nice...

As of right now, I'm matching my digital double to my footage, and its painstaking... there is now way I can make a complete 'quality' shot for tomorrow... :(

Most of us are making time for this project, and for those who are doing everything themselves, it's a jack of all traits job so its up and down for me, things move real fast in some areas but real slow in others...

I'm ok with either decision, a deadline is a deadline, you have to meet it... but I could use a couple weeks, ;)

Thats my 2cents...


02 February 2003, 11:04 PM
Well, I've talked to Tito and we can extend the deadline one week.

So the new deadline for the VFX challenge is NEXT friday...

hope this helps.


02 February 2003, 12:01 AM
Sounds good to me, I was rushing to finish but was going to have to cut a bunch of corners.

I think what really got us all this time was the character element. Creating and rigging a human character that matches reference photos is a challenge in itself. To then go and match this character to a live action actor ups the difficulty another notch. Things like 100% accurate location measurements and perfect camera matching seem to be essential for pulling this type of work off. Id love to redo that part of this challenge but with so many other steps its out of the question.

This had been a good experience in that we are quickly learning how important the early stages of these projects are but with the restricted time, zero budgets, and sometimes limited access to equipment, turning out a quality entry is difficult. Time management becomes a big deal, especially when we have to budget in the rendering times that can be pretty hefty for complicated effects. For me working on these projects is supposed to be a challenging escape from the boring work of my day job. After putting in so many hours on a challenge you really want to see it through and will do almost anything to get it done. If every free minute is spent working on the challenge however, especially during the stressful last week, it becomes a chore and is no longer fun.

Id love to be able to enter each VFX challenge that comes along but after these last 2 I know I cant keep going at this pace. Sometimes Im envious of the more focused aspects of the classic and animation challenges but I know its hard to focus a VFX challenge and still let the participants be creative.

In the future maybe any VFX challenges that include something like character work should automatically have a bit more time allotted. Or perhaps these tougher challenges could be alternated with simpler ones at the standard timeframe that will attract more novice participants. This would also allow those with a bit more skill to have some free time to help others out.

Another idea might be to try a crossover challenge where characters could be modeled by the excellent people in the classic challenges and we work together in teams, like Maniax and Manuel have done. Or maybe once per year we should have an uber-challenge that combines a modeler, an animator, a texture painter, and a VFX/composite person. :)

Thanks to the Mods for the extra time, and perhaps considering some of my suggestions, but I guess Im rambling now so I better go and get back to work on this challenge!

02 February 2003, 02:30 AM
Originally posted by A.Alvarez
Well, I've talked to Tito and we can extend the deadline one week.

So the new deadline for the VFX challenge is NEXT friday...

hope this helps.


great, that will help a lot.
thank you, alex

02 February 2003, 12:02 PM
thanks Alex . Can't say fairer than that :)

03 March 2003, 03:08 AM
Is it Night to Friday or Night To Saturday?


03 March 2003, 07:52 AM
It's the night between friday and sataday, and it's 01:00 in our (GMT +1 Oslo, Copenhagen etc.) time zone

03 March 2003, 02:26 PM
Thanks Johs!

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