Week 55 – Camera projection technique

posted in: Compositing, Textures | 3

Hello everyone!

It’s going to be a longer post than usual but we felt like doing things a little different this week and show you our camera projection technique. You might not realise it, but almost every shot in our film contains at least a little part of reprojection somewhere, going from small modifications to the entire retexturing of the set. Obviously it’s more work per shot, but it’s the fastest way to get exactly what we want on screen.

Some of you may wonder why we do not simply texture everything perfectly from the start. That’s a good question. In fact, our set is so huge that our computers could never handle the quantity of high resolution textures required to cover close-ups of every part of the set. For this reason alone, we have no other choice but to use this technique. From a visual standpoint, we also benefit greatly from this technique. Imagine one second that every single part of our set had sufficient details for a close-up. That might be fine for everything that is close, but everything that is going to be more than 10 meters away will look far too detailed for the painterly look we are after.

Let’s take this shot as an example :

That’s the kind of thing you might see when opening a new shot. Obviously, the set isn’t exactly looking the best it could. As I explained earlier, it is because it has been textured to be seen from afar. The cliffs you see in the back, for example, would be far too blurry and low-res seen from upclose, but are perfectly fine from this distance.

The first step consists in creating a new camera. It will be used to project the new texture on the ground geometry. The tricky part is finding an angle that covers the whole visible set from the animated camera. It’s also often needed to place it a little higher than the shot camera so that if there are little rocks or bumps, you don’t see their textures being all stretched out on the ground behind them. Once it’s done, all that’s left is doing a render of what we see on screen, paint over in photoshop and reproject it all on the geometry using the same camera. We often give ourselves the liberty to modify the set to make the composition more pleasing, like adding little rocks our remodeling a part of the ground that is too simple.

Here’s what the final texture looks like in the scene :

The time that each shot takes to be retextured varies, but it usually takes between one and four hours. It doesn’t take that long to do and as you can see, it looks much better!

Here are a few other shots that had heavy modifications.

Plan 027_030 : Original low-resolution textures

Plan 027_030 : Textures after the camera projection

Plan 022_030 : Original low-resolution textures

Plan 022_030 : Textures after the camera projection

Plan 022_030 : Final shot after compositing

Plan 022_040 : Original low-resolution textures

Plan 022_040 : Textures after the camera projection

Plan 022_040 : Final shot after compositing

Well, that’s it. We hope you enjoyed our little tutorial! See you in two weeks for more news about Le Gouffre™!

Week 53 – The return of the Render Beast

posted in: Animation, Compositing | 5

Hey everyone!

First of all, some very good news for Le Gouffre™… we received yesterday by Fedex our computer that was broken! The motherboard had to be changed, but now the Render Beast is back in full force. This means we’ll soon be able to start rendering frames faster and even while we work!

We’re also very proud to show you the two latest shots composited by Thomas. We did a lot of development regarding the wet look of the ground. We hope you’ll like the result!

First, in video:

And, why not, a HD pic of each one so you can better appreciate the work that went into it.

That’s it! See you soon for the next updates on the film!

Week 51 – Grant application

Hey everyone!

The last two weeks were rather busy since we had to complete everything that was missing for our grant application which is due january 18th. It’s a lot of paperwork, but we’re very proud of the result and believe we gave ourselves every chance to succeed. Cross your fingers for us, we should have the results somewhere in may!

For those who are curious, here’s what the package we’ll be dropping at their office tomorrow looks like!

Now, for today’s post, we prepared two images of the latest developments Thom and myself did on the film. First off, a frame of a new shot we never showed you before!

And next, a little pine tree test I’ve been working on. We’re trying to develop a very sketchy style where we can clearly see the paint strokes, something we see far too little in 3D (in our opinion!). Anyways, we’d like to hear your thoughts!

That’ll be it for this week! As always, thanks for being there, and see you next time!

Week 47 – Christmas

posted in: Animation | 1

What a year!

We had a certain idea of what was waiting for us with this project, but never did we anticipate it would be so hard. Or so rewarding!

Obviously, we would have prefered if our main computer didn’t die on us without warning. We also would have liked to be able to stay on schedule and actually be doing our last shots before leaving for the holidays. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. This project is just gigantic. It might very well be the most important thing we ever did.

But don’t worry, moral is at its best, and the project is now going at full speed. Now that every pre-prod element is completed, I’m finally able to help Carl with the animation. That means we now spend 100% of our time getting out shots while Thom is doing the lighting and compositing. During the last months, we fixed almost every single texture or render problem, found a visual style we like, and refined the animation style.

We don’t know exactly how long it will take before we can finish this film, but one thing is certain, we’ll do everything it takes to make it the best possible. And believe us, it’s gonna be worth it!

Since it is our last update before the holidays, we wanted to celebrate properly. It’s been a while since we showed you any new animation shots, so we thought it’d be the perfect moment to show you my first sequence, along with the very first shot featuring the little girl!

Happy holidays from the entire Le Gouffre team! Thank you infinitely for your support, and come back in 2013 for the latest developments on the film.

Week 45 – New look

posted in: Compositing | 2

Hello everyone!

Now that we can finally render the set (the textures and import script being done), Thomas is reworking our old shots. Although they weren’t that bad, they didn’t feel like it’s evening, as required by the story. Also, the storm effect wasn’t feeling menacing enough to our taste.

So here’s the first shot we showed you a while back with the new look. After that, you can see comparison shots between the old and the new look. Comments are welcomed!

SHOT 019_010 – Old version:

SHOT 019_010 – New version:

SHOT 019_030 – Old version:

SHOT 019_030 – New version:

For those who are wondering what’s going on with our screwed-up computer, well it will take a little longer that expected since the new piece we need is backorder. So we’re a little slower at rendering stuff there days but that should be fixed eventually.

Thanks for coming and see you soon!

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