Archive for the ‘Final’ Category

Burning City

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something on this blog. I haven’t made any progress on my ‘End of the World’ project for a while now. Every time I’m working in 3Ds Max on windows and I have to use Photoshop for just a little thing I have to reboot to get into OS X, and I hate waiting. I will get back to that project soon, but in the meantime I have something else to show.

I’ve watched a lot of matte painting videos on the internet and I have always wanted to create one myself. There are some great videos out there(search YouTube or Vimeo for ‘matte painting demoreel’) but I never got to actually making one myself. Just to be clear, the definition of ‘matte painting’ according to Wikipedia is:

matte painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that would otherwise be too expensive or impossible to build or visit.

Now in my case it’s a bit of both, but mainly the former. The environment created in this video is somewhere in Greece, and I can’t really afford a trip to Greece for a 30 second video(wish I could though). Secondly, this location doesn’t really exist as seen in the video, it’s created using multiple images. And of course, finding a city that’s on fire or setting one on fire probably isn’t a good idea either.

I will tell something more about creating this video and show a breakdown video but first it’s time for the video itself:

(make sure to watch it in HD)

I really like the outcome of this one, I think it looks pretty neat. There’s a lot of stuff going on, this is how I did it:

I knew I wanted to make a burning city. What I had to do was finding pictures that I could start with in Photoshop to create the basic idea for the shot. After a few hours of searching around the web on free stock image sites I found some images, but that didn’t work out that well. I searched and I searched until I realized that I maybe I already had some of the images. I remembered a few photos I took while I was in Greece, and that was my starting point. I started with a photo of a little stone house, that would be in the foreground and that was where I was going to position myself. The background from that photo was quite nice but I decided to go with another photo to create the background, so I only used the house of the first photo. I found an image of a free stock site of a nice sky, that was going to be my background. On top of that I added a photo I also took myself in Greece with some mountains on it. Then it was time to add in the city, which I found on another free stock image site. I did some color correction on all parts of the image so that the colors and general mood would match. I also added some light wraps and some shadows just to make everything seem more natural.

Now it was time for the fun part, the destruction. I started working on the city with the burn tool in Photoshop, creating dark edges and burn marks. After that I added in some burn marks from VideoCopilot‘s Action Movie Essentials 2 (which is awesome by the way) and just tried to ‘destroy’ the city by erasing parts of it making it seem like there were holes. After that I was done in Photoshop and I brought in the file in After Effects. I added a little life to the background by animating the sky as if it was moving a bit using ‘Corner Pin’.

I started working on bringing in fire elements from AME2, adjusting the colors so that it would seem as realistic as possible. I also added glows to make it seem as if the fire was casting light onto the scene. After that I added smoke elements behind the fire, and also blended them in. Just to give you an idea on what I was dealing with, here is a screenshot from After Effects. I wasn’t able to fit all layers on one image because my screen isn’t big enough.

Screenshot of my 'Fire' and 'Smoke' layers in After Effects. (click the image for bigger version)

Now all the elements of the background were done. I shot some footage of myself standing in front of my green screen(with really poor lightning), but fortunately I was able to pull a pretty good key. I color corrected myself to match with the scene and I was almost done. The next thing was to add a subtle camera move. As all my layers were flat, I couldn’t get away with very much but a little movement really added to the effect I think. I distributed my layers in After Effects’ 3D space, but not that far away from each other in order to hide the fact that the layers were flat.

After Effects had a really hard time processing all these layers, and rendering just one frame could take up to more than 30 seconds. I tried to keep this project organized as much as I could and that worked out pretty good. Here’s one final screenshot from my final comp for the first shot in After Effects:

Screenshot of my final composition in After Effects (click the image for bigger version)

To see how I built this shot in movement I’ve made a quick little breakdown video:

Hope you liked it, let me know what you think, and check back soon for an update on my ‘End of the World’ project :).


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Almost fell of a building

Had a pretty crazy weekend, I ended up on the roof of a building, just barely holding on to the edge of the roof.

Okay, maybe that’s not really what happened. I did actually hang onto my roof though, only the height was about a meter or 2. This was just a fun little project to test out my chroma keying skills. I tried it once before but that attempt totally failed, mainly because I used a DV camera that wasn’t that great. But now with the HV30 keying was no problem at all. For the background image I used a free image from stock.xchng. I didn’t use any lighting, the screen was placed outside and I made sure there were no harsh shadows so the lighting was even and it worked out perfectly :).

Normally I would just take some music of an action movie(like the music for the ‘Bourne’ trilogy by John Powell), but this time I decided to make the music myself. It’s a very simple track, just a few layers of instruments, most of them software instruments and one track which I played on my keyboard. It’s not perfect at all but I liked making it and now the final piece is something I completely made myself.

(I used YouTube instead of Vimeo this time because I YouTube lets me embed HD videos)

And just because I always love seeing the ‘clean footage’, here’s a frame of the footage without any of the effects:

Clean Footage

Clean plate (click the image for bigger version)

I will post an update on the ‘End of the World’ project soon, I just took a break from it for a few days because Windows and 3Ds Max were annoying me.

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Bouncy Circles

To take a break from the struggling with 3D stuff I thought I’d dive into after effects and do some animation. I just wanted to see if I could do simple animation with keyframes, and I think the result is pretty cool :).

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My Work

To start off I thought I’d post some work I’ve done. I guess you could call it a showreel, with both visual effects and motion graphics(although there aren’t that many motion graphics in it). It’s thrown together rather quickly and there’s a lot of old stuff but it’s just to give a little impression of what I’ve done.


So if you like it(or if you don’t) drop me a comment, let me know what you think. There’s more (better) stuff coming up, I’m working on a little project that I will post more about soon.

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