Monday, July 18, 2005

En Fuego

Added two more finished frames to the Gallery section. Have spent this last month doing a lot of overtime, but still managed to get quite a bit done on the movie. There is now close to 7 minutes worth of footage completed.

The current scene I'm working on takes place in the Frankenstein Monster's lair - a cemetery. It took a couple of days to build the cemetery itself, painstakingly positioning each of the headstones individually. There's a special effect involved in this scene which requires some special planning in the rendering process. The Monster is carrying a lit torch, and in order to create this effect, I am using an After Effects plugin from Panopticum, called Fire. By supplying an alpha image of the object you want to burn (i.e. the head of the torch), the plugin creates a fairly good flame simulation.

However, since the torch passes behind a number of objects, each shot involving the torch has become a composite shot. The background elements, including the Monster and the other figures are rendered seperately from the foreground objects (gates, trees, etc). The flame plugin is applied to the top of the torch (also rendered seperately), and then sandwiched in between the foreground and background layers. The still I've uploaded to the gallery shows the lit torch, but in the full scene, the gates start off closed in the foreground.

I also wanted a nice, horror movie graveyard fog for the scene. Initially, I tried a fog object I found on the internet which used multiple foggy planes all ganged together to create a sense of depth; this proved too time consuming to be practical (I used it in the first scene of the movie, however - that shot of the Monster emerging from the mist demonstrates the effect).
For the graveyard, I opted to go the cheaper, faster route - simply applying a photo of Photoshop-generated clouds to a flat plane hovering above the ground, partially transparent. While this works ok (see the graveyard image for details), I'm trying something else in future shots. Currently, I'm using a Wave Plane (a water simulation that can morph and ripple) with the clouds photo applied. This way, the fog actually rolls and boils.