View Full Version : The Gift - VFX Challenge - Arioch

01 January 2003, 05:06 PM
UPDATE -- View my enrty here:

I'm right in the middle of a freelance project but I hope I can find time for this one. The challenge theme is too interesting to pass up.

If I can't do this one justice it's still going to be fun to watch all of the other entries progress. The different interpretations and techniques should make for a variety of clips.

Good luck to everyone, let's get more entries to the finish line this time!

01 January 2003, 05:21 PM
So I rented Heavy Metal last night and was surprised at how much of the movie I had forgotten. I've got a few ideas now to play around with but no storyboard yet. The gruesome disintegrations inspired me to hop on the computer and do a little R+D so I've started a page to keep track of the tests. You can view the first one here:

01 January 2003, 06:57 AM
Good Stuff, I fear we all have loads of R&D and testing ahead of us, :D

I look forward to more tests!

01 January 2003, 08:41 PM
Hi Arioch,
Looks pretty good for a first test, keep em coming!

Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 08:58 PM
Hey Arioch,

just a plain simple did you do this?

I didn't model every pieces of skin that burns how do you get your skin to ply in little particles??

God this chalenge is so appealing. But it seems that with the little knowledge i have i can't find a way to make someone disappear...

And other thing...what so you think if i take my girlfriend as the actor? Talking about the long hair...will it be a problem when her head shakes...??

Thanx for answering. :)

01 January 2003, 03:13 AM

The test was done in Max. There is a duplicate arm that is hidden as well as a box that moves up the arm. A volume select modifier on the hidden arm uses the shape of the box to select faces of the arm. Then particles are generated from the selected faces.

Honestly I don't really like how it looks right now because the particles are too uniform and right now don't have any forces like wind effecting them. More tests coming soon.

As for using your girlfriend as the actor I say go for it if she's willing. You could ask her to put her hair up or just do the shot in a way that it won't matter. BTW I think it's a great idea to get her involved if the alternative is her getting jealous of all the time you are spending at the computer and not with her. ;)

01 January 2003, 05:09 AM
Hahahah Arioch MAN!!! I am LMAO Big Time you are so right about the 'her getting jealous of all the time you are spending at the computer and not with her'!!!! How did you know :D hahaha

...eventhough i spend a lot of time with her.....:D

It seems to be a universal fact these days :P

01 January 2003, 12:09 PM
Just a short comment to CobraX:

Ther are to ways to do the effect i Maya.

If you use polygons (or SD's i guess), then you can do it by boleaning (substraction) the arm with an invisibel object (WITH construction history), and then move the invisibel object up along the arm. Then you could use an animated ramp texture to do the texture switch, and an other animated ramp texture to control where the particles are emitted.

If you use nurbs, then you must use intersection + trim (WITH construction history) instead of bolean, on the to objects.

I have not done it myself, but I'm pretty sure that's the way to do it in Maya.

01 January 2003, 08:15 AM
I've put up another test. This one was to try a new way to dissolve the skin so that it looks like it's bubbling along the burning edge. No particles this time and the muscles are only temporary. Time to do some anatomy study.

01 January 2003, 10:56 AM

I assume you're using some sort of displacement texture, constrained to the place where the burn has reached?

If you make the boundary less 'flat', then I think that that would help a lot.

01 January 2003, 03:47 PM

I havenít tried using any displacement maps yet. The vertex points on the edge of the burn are just pushed out a little along their normals and given a little 3D noise. You are totally right about the flatness of the boundary area, I'm hoping to tackle that next as well as getting back to working on the particles.

01 January 2003, 05:34 AM
thats pretty cool i love the new test....are you going to have flakes of skin and gobules of blood flying off??
oh and mabey have more skin burn off befor the meat starts to dissolve

01 January 2003, 03:45 PM

I've got 3 different ideas in mind so far but havenít chosen which to do yet, depends on when I can get the camera and if I can wrangle a friend to help shoot it or act the part of the victim.

The first would focus and the upper torso and 1 arm and in that one I'd probably try to burn and peel the flesh as you suggested. Another idea would effect the entire body of the actor so it would have to move quickly to dissolve him completely. The third is most complex and would need a lot of help in the shooting phase.

02 February 2003, 09:17 PM
I am still trying to find some down time to get back into this challenge. Some of the other entries look like they are going to be very impressive. I've got a feeling that with each new challenge the submissions are going to get better and more elaborate.

I've decided to go very simple on this one just to meet the deadline. The basic idea is that a guy see's something glowing under his couch, and when he grabs the thing it disintegrates him. Here's the storyboard.

02 February 2003, 11:36 PM
Here's a quick test of a possible material for the Locnar.

03 March 2003, 04:02 AM
I was going to skip the muscle layer because of problem with the mesh penetrating the skin before it was supposed to. Now that we've been given another week I'm going to spend 1 more day trying to get the rigging right. Here's a screen shot of the models:

03 March 2003, 02:52 PM

The Flesh model looks really creepy! Are you using a biped to make the anmation? Lucy you, i think i will have to make a really simple rig to finish this on time.

03 March 2003, 04:43 PM
Yeah the animation for the hand and arm were already rigged and animated with biped. Now that I'm trying to add the muscle layer it's simple to link it to the biped but the deformations are killing me because the meshes are quite different and the physique envelopes all need to be tweaked.

If I had to do this all over I'd do a single whole body skin, rig it just right, duplicate it, and use a push modifier after the physique to sink the muscles below the skin.

03 March 2003, 05:07 PM
I am curious to know if the animation you roto onto the film is accurate down to the last pixel? I can't see that i can make a perfect roto so i'll "hide" the transition from Video to Digital Double inside some flares/particles. That way i can match the motion with my rig, but not be accurate to the pixel with the mesh. Did that make any sense?


03 March 2003, 10:58 PM
Yeah there is no way this is going to be close to pixel accurate. For one thing the camera match isn't perfect so what matches correctly close to the camera is off when pulled back. Also the acting was a bit, uh, exaggerated, so I'm hoping to improve that with smoother animation for the arm. Like you mentioned I'm also hoping that the effects will mask any glaring differences between the double and the scene.

03 March 2003, 01:36 PM
Thanks for that, then i won't pull my hair out when it does not match exactly. I'll give the digital double another try this evening. So if i'm lucky i can post something useful later.

03 March 2003, 10:52 PM
Arioch, about your orb in the latest pic you posted, I guess it's from the footage, but i'm not sure what it is. Is it some sort of plastic ball with selfiluminating sticks inside or what? (the plastic stick with two kinds of fluid inside, that mix when you break the stick, and then starts to glow)

Anyway, it iluminates the scenery quite nicely, especialy the carpet, great idea.:thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 11:17 PM
You guessed it. The sphere is a 5 inch lightbulb with the base cut off and inside are 3 glowsticks. But also behind the camera I had a small desk lamp with a green bulb to light the underside of the couch better. I flicked this on and off a few times in the clean plate for some interactive lighting but probably won't have time to add anything like that now.

The image that I posted shows a version with boosted levels so I could match the footage better. The lighting setup looked great on my TV but was really dark when captured. I havn't adjusted my gamma for video work because I'm primarily doing web stuff these days. One of the last stages will be to adjust all of this in the comp to find a good middle-ground.

03 March 2003, 05:26 PM
that thing looks are you gonna disintegrate the skin first, then the bones or only the skin and leave the bones?

:applause: :bounce: :buttrock:

03 March 2003, 05:42 PM
It all depends on time. The original plan was to quickly burn away the skin, slowly burn away the muscle, then melt the bones into goo. Not sure how much time I'll have to render all of that so the bones might disintegrate also or the muscle might just get charred a bit and constrict down to expose some of the bones.

This will certainly be a project to revisit and improve after the challenge is over.

03 March 2003, 07:44 AM
lookin pretty good there! i like the idea with the glowsticks too, very resourceful!

u can isolate the highlights and reuse them for the 3d orb at comping point, natures taken care of the realism for u :)


03 March 2003, 03:46 PM
Here's a link to my challenge entry. It's only a 2.5 meg download, hope you all enjoy it. It's been a long night so I'm finally off to get some Zs, good luck to all the participants!

03 March 2003, 01:03 AM
Haha..i had a big laugh now. When his skin comes off with a snap, he have this shocked look in his face. Very funny. The inside of the orb is really cool, like a lava lamp. I like the flesh that stick to the skeleton in the last few frames. Maybe the transition from live to cg would have been better if there was some steam (or other particles) billowing out from it. The transition from flesh to skelton is really nice i think, but again some particles would have been cool. But i guess that deadline was pretty tight. Well done! :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 01:12 AM
Yeah I didn't have time to render out and comp in the particles from my earlier tests which was annoying because I spent alot of R+D time getting the right look. Oh well, it's now on my post challenge to-do list. Hopefully I'll get some good constructive critisim here so I can improve it later.

03 March 2003, 01:24 AM
I really like this Arioch it seems to have the creepiest feel of all the clips

one crit though is the cg arm seems to bend the wrong way

03 March 2003, 02:45 AM
Yeah, i agree with Lightfreeze on the arm bending the wrong way (Or maybe only a bit to much movement).
I think the particles will add a lot to the shot. So it would be easier to crit when you've had time to put those on.
If you had delayed the flash from the orb by 2 frames, i think the timing of the hand reaction would feel better. That is what my tired brain can drain at this hour.

03 March 2003, 02:16 PM
Nice result you got, the green light from the glowsticks still works really fine. I can see that you changed the look of the orb, I liked your older version better, with the cracking surface structure. But I guess you had a reason to change it. See you next time.

03 March 2003, 05:59 PM
Ouchy, that nasty orbisissss.... bending arms in directions they should not lay...

Great shot, love the composition and idea... I can really see this guy who cant find something and goes to look under his bed and finds this damn lok nar on accident... poor soul!

Good stuff Arioch, :D

03 March 2003, 05:15 AM
worked really well as a quick shot!

i think your idea of using a clear ball with glow sticks gets my vote for most ingenious idea of the comp! im gonna see if i can do something like that for mine


03 March 2003, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the comments guys. About the arm my elbow in the live shot really did pull that way but as Knut mentioned it was exaggerated on the 3D model so it looked wrong. I think the main reason for this was that the field of view and focal length on the 3D camera were not matched close enough to the live shot. As a result when trying to match the live hand position I needed to bend the elbow more to pull the palm back enough.

In retrospect I wish I had rendered out a test and posted it for those comments earlier. I was too focused on tracking the live actor and not paying attention to the overall look of the scene. The way to fix this now would be to move the globe closer to the camera and shrink it down to fit back in to the video. The proportions would no longer be accurate but it would be a longer reach for the CG model and that would help.

Another thing I'd fix that nobody mentioned yet was the lighting match. I had a much better match when I was using GI and photons to calculate the fill and bounce lighting but the render times were too high to meet the deadline. So late Thursday night I switched to just a main and fill light setup with a few extra dim lights to simulate the bounce. The result was that at some times the palm looked too bright while the muscles and bone looked a bit dark when they were exposed.

So aside from redoing the arm motion and switching back the lighting I'm going to re-render it with motion blur and get the particles in there. If anybody has any other suggestions fire away. ;)

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