Archives for March 2013

Modern Warfare 3 – Mission Control Screen

David Sayeed of Animated People arranged for me to interview with a company who deal mostly with computer game motion graphics. My previous work has not really been in that area so to sweeten the interview we decided I would mock up a Modern Warfare 3 style video clip. The clip was used to demonstrate my wide range of skills in After Effects and SynthEyes, I set out to demonstrate that I understood the look and feel for their work and to show my technical knowledge and work methods that allow for swift changes to be made and for shots to be re purposed quickly. The company was very pleased with the extra effort put in, they understood that the framework for the project had been put in place and that with more design time I could easily produce the work they would require.

The video below is a presentation of some of the steps involved in creating the above piece. Please view it in full screen mode for best results.

I also created a pdf document which outlines the important steps I took in creating this clip, you can view it here

Flash Man To The Victor The Spoils

You can read a little about the album here

This project was a little outside of Airsides comfort zone in that it was a full live action music video, wanting this piece to be great they brought on board a lot of talent who were very adapt in this area. Directing the piece was Tim Bricknell, and DOP was Carlos De Carvalho who has a long list of feature film work under his belt. I was brought in to head the compositing and 3d work, this involved a mixture of camera tracking, set building in 3d, and a fair amount of keying/rotoscoping. We had a small team of 4 working on the many shots, this video had a fairly quick turnaround and after seeing all the care and attention that had gone into the filming we did not want to compromise on the post production. I had trained an assistant to do some rotoscoping and guided her through her shots. Alasdair Brotherston was a pro and really helped us out in the last week to get the final long shots out.
During the start of the project it was just myself. I was going through each shot preparing the tracks and match moves so that they were ready for background artwork and keying. Once Everything had been setup I started to work on all the keying to a finished standard and adding extra touches to some of the shots, these included a snow storm and some squirting blood. The opening and closing shots were started by Simon Goodchild using Maya, I supplied the match moves and rough geometry in place for him to build the set around. After he finished we had to adjusted the closing shot to pull out from the crowd shot into the gallery as if it were the picture frame. This involved me setting up the camera move in Maya and then exporting it back into after Effects for me to build the crowd scene, this had some extra problems as the shot with the kiss was filmed with a pull out so it first had to be stabilized and then implement it as a 3d plane. The original picture frames were remodeled and a mixture of bump maps and displacement mapping was used to add the detail. I used high res photographs of the frames as the base for my textures, this really helped to add detail and form to the main picture frame that we move through.

Airside also commissioned a making of video for Flashman which can be viewed on Vimeo

Uli Meyer Studio – Domestos “Touch Me”

This commercial was made at Uli Meyer Studios, my role was senior compositor. 3D generalist and lighting TD Mark Bailey took the animated shots and brought them alive in Maya.
I used After Effects and Nuke for compositing. After Effects was used to stabilize some of the footage with its warp stabilizer, and handled the pack shot animations easily. Nuke was used through out for all the CG compositing. The live action shots required some cleanup and rig removing along with tracking points needing to be painted out, I first used SynthEyes to do a camera track this was very useful for some of the tracker removals as I would convert 3d points into 2d ones and attach my paint strokes to it. This workflow allowed the plate to be cleaned very quickly. I also used the tracking data to create a new floor and some geometry of the toilet inside so I could project some dirt and muck onto the live action plate. Geometry was created in Maya, and all projections done inside of Nuke for convenience and flexibility. Most of the CG was graded with mattes or subtraction of passes on the beauty and re-addition of the same pass that we wanted to adjust, this workflow was preferable for Mark as he had the time to tune his materials and lighting of shots to produce a very good looking render. Our renders were all done in house using Smedge, during the first couple of days I spent the time setting up each machine to be consistent with the software we were using and to pull all our plugins from a network source rather than locally. I also created a customized Nuke interface for submitting jobs to Smedge and for our gizmos along with bench-marking and prioritising machines for particular jobs . During the job I render wrangled and made sure we had the resources to get the job out in a timely manner. The fun part obviously was working with Marks renders. I setup a system of taking his Mattes and filtering them into my own channels in Nuke, I knew a certain amount of them would be standard and could be reused through out other Nuke scripts. This worked well in that most of my scripts were grade nodes using a channel for the matte. It kept the script tidy and compact, I would also leave notes in the nodes to make it clearer still what was going on. We added quite a lot of atmosphere to the shots with glows, trying to boost a wet look on the germs, and in camera effects like motion blur and depth of field. Mark worked very hard to make the Motion vector pass work exactly as it should and I have no doubt if it was the newer version of Maya that we were using it would have been easier but due to the germ rigs and associated scripts/ materials we were forced to use Maya 2009.

Mark Baileys website.

Compositing on a game trailer at Kazoo Creative

During 2012 I worked with Rotem Nahlieli Creative Director at Kazoo Creative. Myself and a small team of digital compositors were working hard to complete a CG Game trailer for an upcoming game, it is still under NDA so I can not show any of the work. It is completely CG generated and rendered in house, the characters and scenery generated in Maya they had cloth and hair simulations along with some VFX work notably some fire. We were using Nuke for compositing which had been customized with an in house pipeline for loading and saving out shots along with various gizmos.

Nokia Asha 306

I had the pleasure of working at Design Studio during June 2012, at the time based not far from Silicon Roundabout (Old Street). They have been creating many commercials for Nokia based on photo real renders of soon to be released mobile phones. The 3D renders are produced in Maya using V-Ray and my part was compositing the passes into the final look. All the on screen animations are produced in After Effects and supplied as a rendered pass. All the compositing was done in The Foundrys NukeX 6.3. The client had a specific look they wanted for the reflections on the glass and how the blacks of the phones were to look and feel. They were very happy with the outcome which evolved over a few meetings and viewings of work in progress.
All the shots were finally edited together with the music in FCP. This was one of two versions, the second phone looking almost identical apart from the addition of a second SIM card slot and the alternative graphics showing this feature.