2nd Year Film Project ‘Rushes’ VFX

Synopsis

“Rushes is an experimental thriller observing the instant nature of a bad decision and the ripples and effects it can have on other people’s lives. Looking at the mechanical nature of time from 5 different perspectives this stylistic short takes inspirations from High Rise, and Vantage Point. Set in a confused world, somewhere between the 70s and the future there is a strong push on colour and distortion through art deco themes.”

Intro

I was approached by Tara Trangmar, a third year DFP student, to do the VFX for her FMP. She is the producer on the Vanitati project and had heard I was keen on creating liquid simulations.

There are four different shots that require VFX. There are two screen replacements I need to create and composite on Nuke. Also, there are two tricky water simulations, the first requires a custom mesh of a duvet and a guided simulation to trickle down it; the second requires the liquid to emit from a moving person and react with the scene around them. What makes this tricky is the camera is moving also.

I chose to help on this project because it was an ideal opportunity to practice some more complex simulation and compositing techniques. This is a solo project for me so I am able to practice some efficient workflows for if I ever work freelance.

Shot 1

I am having a lot of issue with this shot. There is tonnes of motion blur as the actor starts to move. This is making it impossible to track the phone screen, it doesn’t help that the tracking markers are not crosses or small dots. there is a solution however, the video is longer than the shot and there is about 10 seconds art the start where the actor isn’t walking and this is trackable, I’m just waiting to hear back from Tara on whether it is ok to move ahead with this change

Shot 3

The only reference I was given for this shot was the short story board and that she wanted it to be ‘kubrick esq’. This was the scene from The Shining she gave me as reference.

Because this was the only reference my first tests the blood was very powerful. After showing it to Tara she said it was too much so, next time i am going to tone it down, make it more realistic.

First of all I needed to track the camera on nuke, that’s what all the locators are in the first video.  With this markers as a guide, I have made a basic model of the room for the liquid to react with. The first video is made using Bifrost but I have switched to PhoenixFD as it is easier to simulate smaller scale liquids and renders better with Vray. I am using a similar method of using a body rig as a collider for the actor and animating it to match-move with him. This is working OK, but there is a little bit of sliding where it doesn’t completely match his movement, I should be able to fix this in Nuke though, using the tracking markers provided.

 

Shot 4

This shot requires the screen to be replaced with a custom calling screen and for their to be blood splatter over the whole thing.

First of all I am planning out what needs to be done. The tracking and screen replacement will be done on Nuke and the blood will most likely be done using Real Flow.

screen_1_ano.png

First of all I need to create the video for what the screen is going to be replaced with. I have used a combination of these Android templates and custom images in After Effects to make a calling screen.

 

Below is a breakdown of the call screen replacement. I’m tracking the green markers, and using the data to drive the roto paint to remove the trackers. The same tracking data is used to hold the screen and cracker screen onto the phone.

breakdown_gif.gif

Here is a quick slap comp of a still frame of the fluid simulation. Here I’m testing to see if my camera track is sticking to the plate properly.

breakdown_blood_gif.gif

 

Conclusion

I took on this project because I wanted to test myself produce the full vfx pipeline. This project has required me to do modelling, rigging, texturing, lighting, rending, dynamics and compositing. This project has really helped me improve my dynamics abillties, with varied shots for me to practice on. In hindsight it was too much work to take on, I think it would’ve been possible to do just one VFX project. However I have time over summer to fully complete each shot.

I had a lot of issue with these shots, mostly to do with tracking markers and lack of reference. I put the blame on myself because I was not able to attend the shoot where i would have been able to better direct what I needed, however it was on our last deadline so I could not make it. This made it a good opportunity to work with footage that wasn’t perfect, causing me to find effective ways to solve the problems, even if it is ‘boshing’ it till it works. The method does’t matter as long as it works.

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