View Full Version : The Gift - VFX Challenge - RenderManiac

01 January 2003, 11:33 PM
Count me in.

I have already shot some footage - not because I am ultra mega keen, but because I have to give the camera back tomorrow! (if it had been last week it would have been great.... oh well....)

I also shot with two viewpoints to try and get a 3D roto shape. If anyone else is doing this I recommend using some sort of clapperboard to sync the two shots (if you can shoot simultaniously) - I didn't and I can guarantee I'll get problems later!!

Still not sure exactly what effect to apply though.... flames or goo.... not enough time to do both.


01 January 2003, 02:54 AM
I have finally been doing some testing and have some ideas for the story. I managed to see the movie - I guess we are mainly basing it on the first story as that's the one with all the people frying. Do we need naked ladies too ;)


There is a ring on the doorbell from the postman. Girl goes to answer it. Finds a mysterious box on the doorstep. Brings it inside, opens the lid and takes out the Lok-nar. Holds it up to see it. There are swirling green clouds inside and a glow in the centre (think Palantir from LOTR). Then there is a bright glow and she starts melting until there is just a pile of goo on the floor.


I am planning on shooting in daylight as the DV camera needs quite a bit of light and some tests I did at night came out very grainy and lost focus a lot. I may shoot at night as well just in case.

If the subject doesn't move much I think it might be a good idea to lock the focus on manual so it doesn't defocus at the critic moment.

I will also remember the damn clean plate this time! I think I have a matte silver and reflective christmas bauble hanging around which will be good as a lok-nar standin to get diffuse lighting and reflections.

To get the images to build the model I think I will get some shots against a bright sky to give a good outline... this is the bit I am least confident about.


I am not a good modeller - so a good place to start is a human model! The environment should be easier and I am planning on using global illumination/ambient occlusion to comp in the green glow.

For the disintergration effect I plan on using Maya's dynamics/particles. I have experimented a bit varying goal weights (gotta love Artisan) on a soft body dynamics model which is quite nice.

For the Lok-nar itself I am not sure whether to use particles with sprites or proper volumetrics - speed will probably win though.

Will try and post a storyboard tomorrow...


01 January 2003, 08:08 AM
Right on! sounds like a good plan... look forward to your work. :thumbsup:

01 January 2003, 10:00 AM
Hello rendermaniac

I'm using Maya too, and I plan to make the orb shading, by making some textures (3D or projections) rotate around the orb with simpel "sin()" expressions. Maybe I will fil it up with cloud og tube particles too, but I don't quite know about that.

01 January 2003, 08:05 PM
Come on rendermaniac !!!! :D UPDATE man!!!

:) Sounds very interesting your story and your technique, let's see some updates now :D

Good luck :)

02 February 2003, 04:40 PM
Ok I have finally gto around to putting some imaegs on a webpage.

This has the raw footage I shot this weekend (captured at 320x240 as my TV card doesn't go much higher). There are two shots - this is a rough edit from Premiere. i may add a final shot from the clean plate of the first shot to complete the destruction.

There are also clean plates, and a very basic 3D orb (need dirtying up a bit - not sure about a moving texture inside).

You may see some red dots on the footage - I tried putting some markers on so I could see exactly where joints were - this may have been a bad idea now, but we'll see :o)


03 March 2003, 10:50 PM
I have had a bit of a loack of updates lately. I have been spending far too much time learning how to model in Maya. Attached is my first ever character - and first proper model in Maya. I decided to start with the head as it is the hardest part, but have run out of time to animate it properly. It is made out of NURBS so that I do not have to rely on the Maya renderer if I wanted to use it again.

Now I think I will make some very simple arms with Poser hands and try and get at least a test in for Friday.

03 March 2003, 11:00 PM
OUTCH!! :eek: You have patch modeled the head, you'r a tough one :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 11:34 PM
erm yeah I am a little masochistic ;)

Out of interest does anyone know how to animate a patch mesh across surface boundaries without messing up the edges?

Johs - it's not that difficult as long as you use boundary to create your surfaces, then inevitably rebuild them. It has goen a little weird around the eye though, and the cheek is wrong - I need to take a curve around the back of the head and build the neck down from it.

The initial curves are made from a deformed sphere, make it live, draw your curves, duplicate them and delete history. Then rebuild and boundary them. I found a head that had been made from Alex's Gnomon tutorials and reverse engineered it (badly I am assuming!). The Human head website also helped.

I have worked out how to use project tangent, not too sure about align yet. Stitching seems very useful (didn't do it on this model hence all the seams).

03 March 2003, 11:47 PM
I have also tried camer a matching using Icarus, but I shot the footage too head on so it fails every time. Ironically it would probably have locked onto a moving camer a better.

Next time I will shoot an extra reference frame with just a cardboard box angled correctly to get this information.... or I could measure it I guess ;)

03 March 2003, 12:21 AM
When I tried to make a head with patches I used the square tool. But the worst problem was to pull the curves. It would be really nice if you could lock intersecting curves together, that way there would be better continuity in the surface if the curves not should be broken for each patch. But i don't know if boundary works the same way, I newer gave it a prober try ;)

03 March 2003, 04:24 AM
hehe u do have balls for doing it in patches lol

to keep continuity, u need to select the intersecting points, as well as the points immediately after these and move or manipulate these as a whole. u wont have probs with alignments this way but some more care needs to be taken when animating.

johs there was a script on highend a while ago that locked these together.. cant remember what it was tho and my computer isnt with me to tell u unfortuneatley :(

its a bitch personally so i tend to stay away from it, but i have to say u have done a great job for your first model!!


03 March 2003, 02:20 AM
Just a quick question which I am stumped on. How do you connect your arms to your body? (both deformed NURBS cylinders). I am guessing some sort of fillet? Is that right?

03 March 2003, 10:31 AM
I didn't conect the arms to the body. I just pulled CV's until they blended nicely in, and it works fine.

03 March 2003, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by rendermaniac
I have also tried camera matching using Icarus, but I shot the footage too head on so it fails every time. Ironically it would probably have locked onto a moving camera better.

I've just take a look at your footage. Because of the lack of camera motion, you're better off tracking it with Icarus' pan/tilt camera model. Seems to work okay with your "clean plate" sequence anyway, and it picked up the small amount of camera shake in the middle of the shot.


03 March 2003, 01:29 PM
Hi Simon

Ah - that is slightly outdated footage ;) I will upload the new clean plate tomorrow as I don't have time today. I was trying just a single frame, but using the whole sequence seems to work better. I also tried without undistorting it first - and found out I have quite a bit of barrel distortion!

The judder in the old plate is probably from the wind! In the actual plate it is from the ball hitting my tripod leg.

Johs: That would work. I'll have to give it a go. Or I may do a loft from a curve on surface. I think I am not gonig to get as far as you this time, but it hasdefinitely been a learning experience...

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