Final VFX sequence
This is a short written report to talk about what my part was in the group and project and what i accomplished. After the research, we decided as a group to recreate a scene from Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film ‘Monsters’. A highly rated film based on the fact that it was largely completed by himself, and that was one of the enticing aspects as we should be able to re create the scene by using the same programs and techniques he used. An achievable task made slightly harder by the fact we would have no source materials to work from like tutorials. What we had to work from was Edwards talking about how he completed the scene for example he used 3ds max 2011 and simulated tentacles from ropes in reactor. The main challenges we faced were that we were shooting at night. we did not want to implement day to night, only slight matching colour corrections. The other difficult task we had on our hands was the fact we were trying to seamlessly fit CG objects in real life. This is something that is done to a perfect standard even in the real movie shot which looked promising for us but we underestimated how difficult a task that would be. The problems we faced were that when filming, we parked the two cars too close together and there were too many reflections bouncing off the car in front from the headlights behind. Our shot was considerably lighter than the original and also we filmed the drop scene with the car in front . it would of been much easier to move it out of the way as it was not required any more. These were the problems we knew we would have to deal with as the cars were not available to shoot again. A tough learning curve that taught us about time management and also what to do if something like this happens again. We knew that this would be a challenge shooting at night especially with high ISO and noise and accurate lighting was needed to get the shot away.
I acquired a basic model of the same car on the internet and I needed to model things like the reg plate, the car badge and all of the bottom of the car for when it is flipped over.
The texturing process is something fairly new to me and i tried different techniques to achieve the likeness i needed, unfortunately this is where i feel i struggled most and if things were done differently i would like to use UV mapping to texture the car to get the realism. there were a few set backs in terms of the car not being available and the footage being too close and having difficult reflections to mimic. From what i have learnt, i would now render out the care in passes like the tentacles.
To simulate the car drop, i attached all of the editable poly’s and added a dynamic rigid body modifier using 3ds max’s mass fx. i gave the rigid body steel like properties so when it drops in the sim it looks realistic and acts how it should. It took a while to set up the drop as the simulation is very random and i changed the height of the drop and added ramps etc. until it simulated how i wanted which was landing and flipping and rolling on its side just like in the real shot.
The car needed to be damaged as it is being crushed and dropped by the tentacles but as the move happens so fast, i could afford to have the car already damaged before the impact. what i did do was have the taillights sharply go off (break) just after the moment of impact. I tried a few modifiers to disfigure the car but the most effective was the F4x4x4 which you can set volume with and position and then pick the the vertices of the 4x4x4 cube and manipulate the box and it will pull/push the object modified.
In the editing process, i helped with masking out and colour corrections but in terms of compositing shaun’s strengths were higher so he took charge to begin with as i learned more about it and then i used what i had learned to help out in the final shot . We were always together as a group when editing so we could all have our imput and it it always good having more than one pair of eyes on the screen.
Overall, apart from the problems that we knew about i thought that it was very well shot (maybe the acting could of been better ) but we struggled with willing participants as i appear as two different characters. I think the car drop is very effective and would of been even better if we didnt have to mask out the car and add the clear floor shot into the scene; but the switch to the car model from the real one was not good enough for me and we tried for as long as we could to fix it and this is the result.
Other things that we could of done better was working with sound. We did not have any proper sound equipment to work with and shooting on campus you could hear ‘party’ music in the background for most parts of the footage taken from the camera.
I think we worked well as a group when we were all together and our strengths played off each others and we achieved the shot to a good standard.