View Full Version : Black Project - FX Shot

04 April 2007, 01:29 PM

I've always been intrigued by the brief clips you sometimes of old cold war footage showing top secret tests that were conducted out in the middle of the nevada desert.

I wanted to try and create a vfx shot that recreates such a piece of footage as authentically as I could. It was also a good opportunity to combine a few different skills into one shot.

The vehicle was modeled in Modo 203. The background matte was assembled from 4 or 5 different photos that I sourced from an internet search. This was then camera-mapped in Cinema4D where I animated the vehicle and the camera move. The scene was rendered as passes. These were then composited with After Effects. After I was happy with the comp, I then colour-corrected and degraded the image to resemble a piece of old film from the 50s or 60s.

EDIT: Here is a mediafire link to download a larger and better quality version (2.9mb):

The animation is hosted also on my cgportfolio:
Black Project- FX Shot (CGPortfolio) (

Here is a still frame from the shot:

Comments and questions welcome.


04 April 2007, 02:25 PM
Nobody have any comments or questions?

04 April 2007, 06:04 PM
Hey there,

The modeling and the lighting look excellent - what sticks out to me though is the scale. It looks like a R/C you could hold in your hand.

The movement seems too quick and dosen't convey much mass. You might also try scaling the desert floor texture down to make the ship bigger.

Lastly, and just a personal preference, maybe a bit of dynamic action of dust being kicked up as the ship maneuvers...

04 April 2007, 06:41 AM
I agree with neverman about the scale of the spaceship.

If possible, I think the best way to solve the problem is to make the spaceship appear larger by moving the camera farther down and somewhat underneath so that it looks like the viewer is on the ground looking up at it rather than directly in front of it.

I'm just a beginner, but I hope my advice helps!

04 April 2007, 03:39 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

The scale issue is something I gave the most thought to, so your comments are interesting. Other people haven't mentioned any issues with scale.

The idea with the vehicle is that it is a small prototype for testing out some sort of antigravity propulsion, looking somewhat unstable like it is trying to maintain a level hover but can't. Something that never quite got off the drawing board. The vehicle is supposed to be fairly small at around 3m to 4m in diameter and is supposed to be hovering around face height between maybe 1.5m and 2.5m off the ground. With the camera at around 1.7m off the ground with a 60deg field of view to approximate a 35mm lens. To my eyes it reads as being around this size. Although ideally the shot needs human actors in it to sell the scale better.

If anything the movement is probably a bit on the slow side, as I was trying to offset the tendency for things to look small.

Here is an RC model. The movement is way faster and more erratic in my opinion:

Here's the v-22 osprey crash. This thing is much larger and weighs many times than my imaginary vehicle but still swings around pretty quick when unstable.

I decided to leave out dust getting blown around, mainly because I figured some sort of fancy energy bullshit drive wouldn't be relying on downward jets for lift. Although I can see that it looks like the greeblies on the bottom of the vehicle look like they might be outlets of some sort.

04 April 2007, 03:39 PM
Original post now has a link to a better quality version than the cgportfolio flash one. Most of the image degradation didn't seem to make it through the compression process for the flash version.

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04 April 2007, 03:39 PM
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