View Full Version : The Gift - VFX Challenge - alim

01 January 2003, 02:11 PM
here goes... my first challenge :wavey:

i signed up so as to make sure i get into this one and get it done!

good luck everyone! :thumbsup:

now.... where did all those ideas go!?! (not to mention the copy of heavy metal :P )


01 January 2003, 08:14 AM
i feel lousy for not having updated, besides the fact that my workstation decided to die on me (possibly taking with it a mound of priceless work :( )... i still dont have it back but heres an idea of where i am right now....

i have a few ideas, two of which are storyboarded and a bunch of others that ive got scribbled down in a number of places...

this is the one that i think ill go with however, seeing as ive already done some r&d, storyboarding & previz work for it.
It will look simple but hopefully will be powerful.

(i know a picture speaks a thousand words, but atm this synopsis will have to do...i will post my storyboards up along with some previs and r&d work as soon as i get my comp back from the centre)

dark room, with aged stone slabs on ground (cg effect), with actor reaching for a orb (about 1 ft diameter). Orb is the light source and slightly pulses/flickers.

camera looking down over the "shoulder" of the orb (foreground), towards the actor (background). The actor has a look of awe and greed as he reaches for the orb. The orb sends energy through the actors hands and up through his veins and the actor tries to resist. The orb overpowers the actor, snaps his hands on to the orb and the actor goes lifeless. In a moment of silence, his eyes turn green and glowing green liquid begins to seep from under his eyes. The contents of the orb swirl and pulse in content.

- orb will have cloudy, moving contents that glow. Its centre will be pitch black (to imply it is evil). when depicting its active state (ie when it overpowers the actor), the contents will move or swirl faster in a way that is relevant to the action (so the movement will give the orb life and emotion)
- when the actors hands get close to the orb (about 5cm away), the glow around the orb streams out to his palms, creating a bright spot at his skin surface.
- the actors veins bulge as the energy passes through his veins up his arms, his neck and chest, and finally his whole head.
the bulge will have a green glow/tint to it.
- when the orb overpowers the actor, all the green glow will be made to flash brightly (to imply an exertion by the orb to contain the actor) and then recede to a level half that of before (to imply the lack of need for exertion since the actor is now possessed)
- the actors eyes will turn a green.
- once green, his eyes will seep a green glowing liquid down his face.
- the contents of the orb will swirl, and the glow around it will pulse (to imply that the orb is now energised/revelling in its triumph)


- orb will be a ball painted blue (or a blue ball if i find one :)) for keying
- ground and background will be covered by a blue tarpulin (or something better if i find it) for keying
- fake subsurface scattering will have to be taken in consideration as the glow will be showing through hands and veins.
- o and i have been told that the xfiles once used a similar effect to the eyes seeping a liquid.... might have to go and watchem as reference on what to do differently..

anyhoo, theres more, i just looked at the time and ive gotto go and check if my car has a ticket yet !
update soon!


01 January 2003, 09:01 AM
:surprised this is gonna be cool!

will be interesting because I think we'll see a lot of the vien and eye effects in the upcoming HULK movie! Make those newbies at ILM drop their jaws with your work alim!

can't wait man, good luck. :thumbsup:

01 January 2003, 09:25 AM
Werry interesting indeed, seems that you have got it all figured out. :)

But, may I suggest that you use a green ball/screen in stead of a blue. Then you will get green spill light witch will more fitting, since the ball has a green glow.

01 January 2003, 01:18 PM
I would agree with johs. Also green keys much better for video than blue (more green in a YUV signal)... Plus getting the spill for free could save a little effort - or at least provide a good reference. I think people may have trouble shooting in the dark though - several peopel are doing this. Get some lights or bounce it if you can.

01 January 2003, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by rendermaniac
... Also green keys much better for video than blue (more green in a YUV signal)....

Yes, but isn't that canceld when the fotage is imported and converted to RGB?
Or do you use a format that supports YUV?
-and in that case, what format?

01 January 2003, 02:40 PM
It doesn't matter if you convert it to RGB (which you probably would). There isn't suddenly more information from doing this. In the conversion though the green channel gets information from the U and the V channels whereas blue information is only stored in one of them (can't remember which offhand), making it more accurate.

I would recommend getting away from video as soon as possible - it is evil ;)

01 January 2003, 03:52 PM
well... hmm...yes, I know there dosn't come more information, when its converted, but when it converted to RGB, there will be the same amount of bits to describe each channel. When the image is converted from YUV to RGB, then the chanels is resampeld to fit the new format, and since green is described better than blue, green wil be sampeld down to fit the bit depth, and blue will be sampeld up (like when you convert a 16 color pic to a 256 color pic, it still looks like crap, because it just enlargens the information range, it don't get more information) Is'n it that way it works?
I'm not sure about this, but I think we are saying the same, and since my english isn't so good, I have some dificulties formulating what i'm trying to say

Anyway, it would be preferabel to key on the green instead of blue :)
For information on the YUV format (easy to read edition), clik the link below, and scroll dow to "History of YUV (Y?CbCr)"

PS: To alim, Sorry for discusing these technical matters in your tread, I'll try and get back to some more relavant the next time I post ;)

01 January 2003, 05:19 AM
cheers for the replies guys..

cogliostros i thought about that last night... maybe im working myself into a hole thats already being filled with this one... hmmm ilm sure aint the newbies in this scenario :P but thanks for the encouragement :)

johs i forgot to mention (before the ticket fiasco lol) that there will be a slight green light from a light bulb in shooting. so i need to use the blue as the difference colour so the keyer does not get confused with the light cast by the bulb. if any of u know a way i can get this done with green, please let me know as i know its usually preferable to have a green key colour (especially for video & digital video... remember episode 2 problems lol).
(o and its ok, the techtalk is welcome :) )

i get my comp back and a camera from uni next week so final tests will begin then... im getting pretty nervous about wether or not ill pull it off but hey, itll be fun eh :P

heres to not getting a ticket yesterday!!

02 February 2003, 07:19 AM
nope, im not dead yet :P

just got my computer back from sydney!! they sent it down without me knowing but hey, its all good cos its back and the stuff on the harddisks is intact!

bad news #1 is that uni is stuffing around with me on the camera loan and it looks like i wont have footage for another week at least! grrr

bad news # 2 is similar to what johs had to do with his....
i reread the comp guidelines and found that my plan was not entirely coherent with them (there is no such scene from the film to replicate)
so alas... im back at the drawing table for a short time, looking at how i can change it to fit and what i can feasibly do in the time left with all the equipment stuff arounds (just as well, cos it gives me stuff to do till i get it)

im thinking of going with skin cracking dry and then powdering off thing but have to work on it a lil...

will be going on a trip tommorrow morn, but will post some stuff as soon as im back (prob monday)


02 February 2003, 05:52 AM
Originally posted by alim
bad news # 2 is similar to what johs had to do with his....
i reread the comp guidelines and found that my plan was not entirely coherent with them (there is no such scene from the film to replicate)//

What? I thought we were only interpreting the film, not replicating any part of it. So long as an orb of evil was destroying someone, it was good.

02 February 2003, 05:41 PM
well i figure im still in the running (barely, the deadline is so sooon!)

here is a long overdue (blame that on technical difficulties -ack) update with plenty to get everyone up to date on my short.

there were some not so drastic changes to the effect, and i ended up playing with framing and directing alot (i lurved telling ppl what to do :P)

heres my lil site:

the gift (

**the glow effect will be toned down to see more of the disintegration

next on the to do is to finalise my 3d models and rigs, get the dv on to the computer & doing some major roto work (ack again!)

o courtjeseter - the guidelines say it is a live action version of someting from the film, and although that leaves alot of space for creativity, i didnt want to shoot myself in the foot by talking the risk... o well, we see how it goes anyway eh :) !


02 February 2003, 06:32 AM
boy is it quiet here :P

ive just gotten a new contract which is pretty big so i think im gonna have to do a late show and tell of my project sometime later on this month...

thought i might get finished but the main shot which contains the effect seems to be the most impossible to key, so i dreas i have not the time for the roto nightmare about to ensue lol

ill keep updating tho, and i still want crits from everyone, so dont count me out yet :)

seeing as how none of u actually made it to my site, ill add a few images here (maybe ill get some sort of feedback this way lol)

here is a quick animatic (

and here is an
effect test (
(the flare has been toned down to show more of the effect)
(semi finished matte for a moving end shot)
(shooting day)


02 February 2003, 08:13 AM
Ya its been real quite around here, :thumbsdow come on people, IT"S GO TIME! :insane:

I really like the mood your shots convey so far, its not photo-real but abstract grunge real, I'm diggin it... did that make sense?

I think your animatic is solid, gj. you have some nice shots in there. It's working for me!

The effect test, looks to be a 2d effect?

Keep working man, were all down to the wire here, I honestly expect to work on this after the 28th for my reel... I'm learning some new stuff and using them is going to take some more testing, and the rendering to achive it will be costly... regardless I will have some goods to deliver... and so will you! :shame: :D



02 February 2003, 04:11 AM
I went to your site last week, checked out everything, and totally forgot to come back and say anything, sorry about that. Seems to be a lot less commenting in every thread, I think this challenge is kicking all of our asses.

I totally dig your disintegration test, it's like he is being absorbed. Are the pieces going to flow into the orb or are they burning up like smoke? If your going for the smoke angle I'd put some randomness or slight wind into the movement of the particles.

02 February 2003, 09:56 PM
Agreed Arioch. I am amazed how pro the pieces look!

We should do a best of DVD.


02 February 2003, 06:56 AM
cheers guys!

its deadline time for this and my other contract (which i just finished) i havent had much sleep for the past few days cos of work and my rsi laden hands are beegging me not to...

BUT, hell im gonna try to get something submitted, maybe even a funny version lol. should be a fun exercise: what can u do in 2 hours time? lol

actually arioch and cogliostros, ur both wrong on the disintegrate tip, its animated textures and geometry warping!

the test was a bit funny at the very start when its at his hands but looked better when it burst his biceps and shoulders.

there will be a slight twisting in the final version and it will be in the rough direction of the orb so it will look a little more natural

i must say though i was trying to go for an akira/anime effect look, kinda like how everyting starts floating upwards when tetsuo is throwing things at kaneda at the end.... absolutely loved that and havent seen it in live action so was going that way here..... well see how it turns out tho

well, wish me luck im gonna see what i can do!


03 March 2003, 12:59 AM
good stuff, alim, that effect is a trip... and for the Akira stuff, please pull that off! those are some of the most exciting shots for me, when the force is shown expanding the physical around him almost in a state of suspended animation, then it unleashes! Maybe I'll just have to steal it as well!!! haha, j.k :D

peace 4 now.

03 March 2003, 08:03 AM
alas i have bad news...

i went home to work on the orb and the computer gave a whimper and turned iteslf off.

its gone back to the service centre (again!! - thats 3 times in as many months!!!) and they say that i probably wont see it until thursday at the earliest.

i have my footage backed up but not the actual project which is on the hdds.....

dont think im gonna get much in guys unfortuneatly,.. ill see what i can do with the footage... maybe well see :P


03 March 2003, 01:41 PM
Oh that is no good. Computer trouble is not :cool: .

03 March 2003, 04:41 PM
:cry: :cry: :cry:

Man! hope your puter is good and well... this last week I had my moniter blow up, and my internet provider go out of business, so I have been down for about 4 days total in the last week... its not fun!

03 March 2003, 10:40 PM
I hope you get your workstation fixed so you can keep the deadline. I really liked your cold green look, so I would really like to see your result.

03 March 2003, 11:41 PM
Yeah good luck on getting a swift return on your system. Hopefully it's something trivial that will be a quick fix and not cost much to take care of.

Your situation has certainly raised some fears for me as well, time to buy some more blank CDs and back some of this stuff up.

03 March 2003, 07:36 AM
cheers guys, ive been working at uni on our new computers now... (dual 2.4 xeons with 1gb ram and firegl 9700 cards... pretty much beasts!) and ive decided to work on my backgrounds which might appear on the final shot.... they were pretty much the only things that were in the prelim stages on my disks so its not too much work lost..

ive asked the service centre to not touch my drives so the data's safe, albeit a little missed for the moment :(

if u thought normal camera matching was hard try not having the source material with u lol! (i call it 'memory matching' :P)


03 March 2003, 05:40 PM
Post the animation!
You only have 6 hours!
It looks really cool so far.

03 March 2003, 01:59 PM
I guess you didn't finish, too bad, I really liked the look of your project. Hope you won't get any more anoying hardware problems, and that you will join in again next time.:wavey:

03 March 2003, 06:03 PM
"say it aint so" :annoyed:

So what the challenge is over, you have to finish it for us! :D

03 March 2003, 04:25 AM
alas i have been without my computer for a week now and i didnt manage to pull anythjing off with minimal footage that i wanted to post...

i will definitely be finishing this off and have incorporated it into my university degree to kill two birds with one stone..

ill be reshooting on a sony 100 cam (AU 10 grand camera = nice!) against a pro green screen ill be renting so its only up from here...
maybe ill pad out the story too so itll have a 'whole' story feel to it.

will definitely be down for working on the next challenge!, computer issues willing :/

thanks for the support guys! u all did awesome!


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