Thursday, April 28, 2011

Almost time to polish this thing off. I think i've already hit the diminishing returns point. Just need to make sure that i'm happy with the overall composition, and that any details added from now on will actually be seen.

To that end, it's time to specifically plan out the tracks/shots for this thing. I had it roughly planned out to begin with; now it's time to make a very specific plan. So that I can work on the composition of detail areas rather than the whole thing.

Had to learn a bag of new hotkeys to make this process more efficient. I knew they were there, I just never bothered. I'm shooting the little dudes in batches; i'll shoot about twenty at a time, on a bluescreen. Then I HDR them (they don't really need it, but I can make the lighting more directional with it), and HDR them again with exposure fusion to produce the most key-able shot I can. Then I drop a harsh matte in After Effects, and save the matte (in 'matte' mode) as a photoshop layer. Then bring it in to Photoshop, and apply it to the dude shot in question. Then 'replace footage' in AE with the next exposure-fushion shot. And repeat. It's goddamn tedious.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The clip is a test-drive of the parallax action. The layer height needs fine-tuning. The lowest layer is too high up, etc. But it all seems to be working.

The pace is starting to pick up with this monster. Lots of copying and pasting elements.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've got a multi-stage plan for this part of the project. In order to avoid too much festering and time-wasting. Stage 1 is the longest (current stage); pour in tons of non-specific junk in there to get the composition nailed down.

Stage 2; spend a couple of days putting in the more fun, imaginative details. There's a boatload of shit in there already, but it's all pretty white-bread.

Stage 3; make the details for scene segues, that'll be separate, higher-res files parented to the main file.

Got myself back on track today. I bore down and followed the plan I formulated for the piles of gooey monsters. That, plus a few aerial elements, all following the composition plan, made it feel more like a proper composition. It's not even close, but I can feel the suck being dialed down.

The master file i'm working with is quite bright; this pictures are all darkened down. I'll almost certainly ending up doing that with the final composition; one of the things bothering me was being able to see every little corner of Hell. It's more interesting when, in some parts, you can only see little glimpses of shapes in the darkness. Leaves some room for imagination.
Had a crappy day with this thing yesterday; spent alot of time staring into space, thinking of ways to make the composition work.

The above picture includes my composition plan reference layers. There's been a few of them, but these are the current ones. It's awkward making something that's a coherent composition via tons of little layers and details. Not a very painterly way of doing it. But this is how i'm going to have to do it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Made a bunch of Breugel monsters. Probably not gonna go here, but I slapped them in for fun. They're the wormy-looking things.
The middle part of the painting. I actually had to crack open Photoshop, once or twice, for this part. I've got a general plan for composition. You can see evidence of it in the flame-y bits.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A detail of the centre of the painting.

This part of the project is going to take longer than I anticipated. I'm starting to hit the threshold where I can copy and paste elements. I've already shot about 50 separate elements.

The carriage is a temporary version, for compositional purposes. I've got separate layes with all sorts of compositional reference lines drawn on them. So the thing will feel like a coherent composition when it's done.

All the little dudes in there so far are a bit dull; they're just non-specific dudes there to make it look crowded. I'm going to start adding fun stuff pretty soon.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Goofing around with the Hell composite. These shots are goofy; sweeping helicopter stuff. And the camera isn't looking at anything in particular.

I'm currently working on populating the centre of the thing. Gonna be a lot of work. There's a certain threshold you hit where you can start copying and pasting existing elements. I'm a long way from that point now. There's about six rusty-armor-spear guys in there now, and about 10 'souls'. I want to have hundreds in there. I've got some efficient ways of doing it though; I make a single crude key in Aftereffects of the element, and then just 'replace footage' for the rest of the elements from the shooting batch. And i've got an array of Photoshop actions saved, some tied to hotkeys.

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to blend elements into the painting. The little people are almost the same size as the entire hell set. Their level of detail was obviously way higher. All I did was a 'reduce noise' in photoshop. Which could also be described as 'throw out detail'. I lost some nice detail, but there's not help for that. It worked quite well to smoog all the elements together.
The painting, underway. It's rather a big file; 12,000 pixels wide. The red rectangle in the upper left is 1920 pixels wide, or maximum zoom in After Effects. The photoshop file of the landscape has three layers; the basic picture, then a shadow layer and a highlight layer; i'm painting into masks to reveal them if I need a dropshadow or a highlight from an added light source.

For the specific close-ups for segues within the story, i'm going to be doing some separate higher-res stuff and parenting them to this file in After Effects. Still not enough resolution in this file for that, even though it's huge.

The middle of the thing is going to be pretty busy and full of people. The edges are gonna be more sparse. There's also going to be some aerial elements that'll go in these parts. I.E. flying things. So the stuff underneath ain't so important. There's some suck going on in the left-hand part; gonna be covered up.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Hell, in progress. I'm going to do this part of the movie for the next two weeks. I was losing my work ethic with the other set; better to switch to something fun and keep working. It's all floral foam. With a tealight in the middle for lighting. I'm going to photoshop all the people into in. Gonna be hard. The puppets i'll be photoshopping in are the same size as the Hell set. I'll figure something out. Also have to figure out how to get enough resolution out of the thing. I did the math today; a nine-photo stitch still wouldn't be enough. And it takes my computer about five minutes to save a photoshop file that's 12,000 pixels wide. Which ain't enough. Gonna have to do some shenanigans with AE, I expect. Parenting high-res close up shots to a lower res wide shot.

Also considering having Dave bust out his medium format on the thing. Might even still have his 4x5. That would do it, for resolution.
The baroque window casting was a complete failure. The mold sucked ass. Because I ignored all the basic rules of casting. That's disingenuous; I ignored common sense. I'm not going to try to do it again. I'm just going to build them all, like a man. I'm going to put that bit on hold, because it's going to be expensive.
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