Dan Hume's Blog

Finished Product For Computer Graphics
January 21, 2010, 10:04 pm
Filed under: 3D, Computer Graphics for Animation and Film, Maya

Ok, here is my final piece for the Computer Graphics unit.

The concept of the piece was based on Realism. I was inspired by this approach from the 3D week channel 4 hosted. It made me realize how much everything is continually changing and developing and that this 3D week is possibly a pre-curse of what’s ahead in the future for television, film and gaming. 3D has been around for some time, but it’s now becoming slightly more commercial and there is a hunger of people wanting to be physically in the action. In terms of 3D animation/graphics, media companies are obsessed with how real, everything that is computer generated, looks. So the concept is basically ‘how far are media companies prepared to go when it comes to realism’?

The bullet is a good representation of  the movement of technology. As we all know, technology is constantly moving forward in one direction at a rapid speed. It’s exactly the same like with a bullet, it shoots out of a gun at a rapid speed in one direction.

I am happy with how this has turned out actually, even though I’ve had problems along the way. One of the problems that I had was I never had the chance to use Blast Code. Blast Code is a maya plugin which allows you to create an explosion effect in maya. It was really hard to get hold of it in the time I needed it for me to actually use it. So the alternative was to use the shatter effect in After Effects, which I feel executes the effect just as well.

I have noticed a little error in this piece and that is you can see a glimpse of light coming from the torch which is resting on top of this box as the camera turns to face the T.V. It’s not the end of the world that you can the see torch, but obviously I would reshoot it again and make sure the camera turns quicker or have the lighting positioned from behind the camera… possibly.

Just to add that I did include the Drizzle effect of the TV screen, which I created at the beginning stage when I was compositing the 3D bullet into After Effects. This was my way of representing the 3 dimensional world that the bullet has broken out of.

At the beginning I found the overall computer graphics unit very daunting and I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do or how I was going to get through it. I think what I’ve done has worked out well for me and I am happy with the finished product.


Video update with sound
January 19, 2010, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Computer Graphics for Animation and Film

This is an update of my project including an instrumental piece of music that I made in GarageBand. I’ve yet to add the sound effect of the TV screen smashing.


Here is a screen shot from GarageBand of what I used to create the music:

Re-shoot & Creating a Shatter
January 16, 2010, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Computer Graphics for Animation and Film

I decided to re-shoot the scene I created for my 3D project because I wasn’t happy with the quality. I have used a slightly more advanced camera this time round, which has allowed me to manually control the exposure so the footage doesn’t become grainy.

This is a screen shot of the new footage. Compared to the last video this has little noise and grain.

Controlling the exposure manually is a very effective way of keeping the background lighting the same if the camera is moving in an environment where the natural light is different when varying form different shots.

Creating a Shatter

I am now able to make the TV screen in my  lounge scene to explode. I discovered in after effects that you can create a glass shatter effect. This is probably the closest to blast code I’ll get with this project. The first thing I did was to create a glass texture in photoshop.

I opened up a new photoshop file. Created two layers, the bottom layer white and the top layer black. I went to filter, render and clouds. Then I went back to filter, render and then chose different clouds. I did this a couple of times until I was happy with the definition of the clouds.

Then I went back to filter again, scrolled to distort, then selected glass. This then opened up a new window where I was able to create a glass effect on the image I had created so far. Below are the settings I used for this effect.

After that, I altered the colour effects using colour balance, under adjustments, to give it a slight blue tint. The glass texture was now complete, so the next step was to import the image into after effects.

Creating the Shatter

I created a new composition and dragged the image onto it. I then dragged my video clip into the same composition so I was able to match the up the shape of the image to the TV screen.

I then pre-composed this composition and dragged into into my original composition that I have already been working on. Then I went to effects, simulation and then shatter.

Here are some of the settings I used to customize the shatter. To start off I        went to the shape settings where the default pattern was brick shatter. I changed it to glass shatter.

I also played around with the repetition settings which allowed me to  increase or decrease the amount of broken particles.

Using the extrusion tool I was able to alter the thickness of the particles.

I also played around the position which allowed me to pin point where I’d  like the impact to happen.

I used a bit of physics as well to adjust the gravity alter the speed of  the  particles falling down and also adding some randomness to the particles direction.

This is where I am at so far:

The next step would be to work on some sound for this piece. I am going to:

  • Add and explosion sound effect for when the bullet smashes through the T.V screen, which I have already found. It’s mixture of an explosion and glass smashing which I’m hopeful will work really well.
  • Make a dark instrumental piece of music in GarageBand for the panning shot to create some atmosphere as it’s bit dull without any non-diegetic sounds.

Bit of Tweaking
January 10, 2010, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Computer Graphics for Animation and Film, Maya

I have made some minor adjustments to the video. I decided to make the size of the bullet much smaller to make it more realistic.

Secondly, I wanted to make the bullet seem like it hits the person or is directly aiming at the person. In the first draft video, the 3D bullet felt like a layer on-top of the video because you see it fly past the persons cheek as it goes out of shot.

I created two layers of the video footage. On the top layer, I masked around the person sitting down. Once I had done that I made sure that the 3D bullet layer was in between the two video layers so as the bullet reaches the person, it disappears behind the top layer, which I masked around.

Testing out compositing
January 9, 2010, 11:13 pm
Filed under: 3D, Computer Graphics for Animation and Film, Maya

Well it looks like I’m not going to be able to get blast code for the explosion that I’m wanting to create. So I have decided to go for a different effect for the bullet coming out of the TV screen. I have made the TV screen look distorted and blurry so bullet comes out of the digital world, which is locked inside the TV.

To create this, I used the drizzle filter in after effects on a separate layer from the video footage. I then sized ripple layer to the size of the TV screen. It’s the best solution I could think of as a replacement for the TV screen exploding.

3D Bullet

I attempted to make a 3D bullet in Maya. I animated the bullets movement, which was a very simple key framing process. I then rendered the animation into a quicktime movie file and imported it into after effects. I haven’t added a texture to the model yet, so it doesn’t look realistic at the moment in the draft video I’ve rendered. Then the animation was composited with video footage at the very basic level. I am not feeling confident about this at all but I’m hoping with the extra week extension I’ll be able to improve this project big time as I’m not happy with how it’s looking.

Things I’m going to work on:

  • Adding some lighting to the animation so it fits in with the lighting in the video.
  • Make the bullet look smaller
  • Composite the bullet further into the video footage so it actually looks like the bullet is in the scene rather than layered on top of the video.

Here is a video of the first draft of the animation composited with the video.

fracture Image for Blast Code (3D animation)
January 8, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Computer Graphics for Animation and Film, Maya

I have gone into Illustrator and created this “cracked glass” effect for my 3D animation. This will be used as a fracture Image used for the blast code plugin that creates explosion effects against a plane surface. Each individual shape on the image will be converted into a 3D particle when Import the file into maya and then into blast code. I’m not sure how well the look of this image will project in maya but I’m having to put this on hold as I currently don’t have blast code installed. I used the line tool to create this effect.

Footage for 3D Animation
January 6, 2010, 11:29 am
Filed under: Computer Graphics for Animation and Film

Ok before christmas, I put words into action for this project. I managed to film a panning shot of someone watching T.V. This will be composited with the 3D animation that I’m going to have of a bullet smashing through the T.V.

Here is what I’ve shot:

I felt this panning shot was not going to work with the camera being handheld, so I was aiming to get a dolly, which never happened because there weren’t any available to hire. So I had to improvise and fortunately for me, my living room has laminate flooring so all I needed was something smooth for the tripod to stand on so I could slide it around the sofa. I ended up using a sleeping bag for this effect and I’m pretty satisfied with how well it worked.

I’m thinking of experimenting with different speeds to make the shot more interesting by speeding it up and then just over halfway slow it down. But I thought for now I’d post it in its original state. I’m concerned about the quality of the footage because it was shot in low light conditions because I wanted it to be more cinematic.

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