digerati Wrote:Didnt mean

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digerati Wrote:

Didnt mean for it too sound nasty, just being real.

How exactly are muzzle blasts made. How do you work them into the movie? I dont really know how to extract frames of my video to put them in photoshop and paint flares and then re-insert them back into the clip.

We knew this was going to be an issue before we even started shooting. It had to be done right or it would all be for nothing. So I spent some time playing with different looks for the muzzle flashes. I tried many different approaches, from hand drawn to 3d to procedural. I found that a happy mix between hand painted and procedural yeilded the best results.

I started with a very basic flame shape (which was actually a rotoshape in Shake), and began layering in different warps. These warps were significant because they really had to sell the look of the flame. I found that using a few different types layered together really gave some nice edge distortion. These were kind of ‘global warp nodes’. The reason why the word ‘global’ was so important to me was that I needed to have a way to make this as ‘automated’ as possible. One real time saver was that warp setup.

Because Shake is node based, it gies you a great amount of control over th image, so I easily have the warp only effect certain parts of my script while covering the entire frame. This permitted me to create an effect that never produced the same looking flame twice. In the beginning I figured that I would just create a library of flame images that i could randomly switch through. This became incredibly time consuming, and there was no guarantee that you would not see the same flame more than once in a shot (there was a lot of shooting!!).

Plus if I wanted the flame to come on 3 frames earlier, I would have to go back and change a good amount of settings on alot of nodes. Thats why I took the approach that I did. The other way that I saved time was by using expressions. Shake has a scripting language (like Maya’s mel scripting), which allows for total flexibility when needed from the app.

After arriving at a muzzle flash that everyone was happy with, I decided to make a template script based on the type of gun that was being fired. For instance, we had Christian’s gun that produced a multi-flame flash, and Tony’s gun was a single shot burst. I set it up so that the flame and all atmophereic fx were controlled by one side of the script, and the color treatment for interactive lighting was controlled by the other side. This made for quick and easy swap-outs of the footage serving as the main plate. The use of expressions came into play heavily on these shots. I basically had a flame “fader” which controlled when the flame was visible. Linked off of this fader, were expressions that controlled how much interactive lighting was reflected off of the face of the person and surrounding envrionment, as well as controlling the glows, smoke, dust and camerashake.

This was all accomplished by moving only 1 slider instead of 35. since the warps were constantly changing on a frame by frame basis and the flames only lasted 1 frame, I was assured to have a different effect any time it was visible. I had ton of these shots to complete in a very short amount of time, so these types of setups are instrumental in completing complicated or tedious tasks in a much shorter amount of time.

The explosion was kind of a surprise for me. I knew we were going to have that kind of effect, but I didnt get to see the plate until post. We went and got a stock footage CD that had all sorts of fire and explosions, the CD also had some muzzle flashes, but they were very basic and restrictive as to their integration into many different scenes.

So I did this shot over the weekend starting early Saturday morning, and finishing Sunday night. I wanted the effect to have ‘Impact’ to it, so I knew the blast would have to be fast and fierce. So I started laying in the explosions, while having to do ALOT of retiming. That took a little while because these elements were high res an over 35 seconds long for some of them. I needed these things to fit in a 35-frame window. We didnt have any good smoke elements so I had to color correct one of the explosions to look like smoke.

The main thing to keep in mind when doing VFX composites is that its all in the details. Little things like faint lens flares, subtle camera shake and atmosphere help to sell any shot. thankfully the explosion was not supposed to break the light housing apart, so that saved me a lot of paint work.

Hope that help. X-D

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