Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mini Personal Project - Hydrant in Live Action

Okay, so this blog has been pretty dead recently, so I'd thought I'd update it with a little bit of what exactly I've been doing recently.

Okay, so mostly I've been doing research lately on compositing. A lot of it. I've been exploring Combustion, which I personally find to be much better than After Effects in terms of compositing. However, I'm still not very comfortable with it, so I'm still going on about it. I'm also partly exploring Fusion, which is a hell of a complicated node-based program. Lots of patience required. Other thank compositing, I've been researching on different lighting and rendering techniques using Maya and mental ray. All of this research will be applied on a short mini personal project I'm working on.

This personal project of mine involves the latest fire hydrant that I've modeled. What I'm aiming for this project is seamless compositing of my CG hydrant into the live action background footage. So I went downstairs with my video camera and still camera and did a little bit of shooting.

The above represents a still frame from the live action shot. Basically, the hydrant will be placed at the empty area on the frame. After shooting the hand-held camera shot, I used my still camera and took about 7 photographs of different exposure levels of the surrounding area so that I could create a HDR image.

After the shooting was done, I converted my footage into a sequence of frames and had them tracked using boujou. Awesome program to get accurate 3D tracks. I also created my HDR image using Photoshop. Once that was done, I got into Maya and started creating the geometry to match up the orientation of my hand-held camera with Maya's 3D camera.

Once the geometry had been matched up, I imported my hydrant and placed it in the scene and scaled it accordingly.

This is where I've stopped. Basically the whole point of this personal project is to practice and test out my lighting, rendering and compositing abilities to get as perfect a seamless composition as possible. Once I'm done rendering several passes such as diffuse, occlusion, specular, etc., I would composite these elements in Combustion and Fusion and try to get both the end products to look as similar as possible.

So that's the update so far. More later.

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