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Movie Mimic Lab

Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 12:34am

Post 1 of 8

Terminal Velocity

Force: 2507 | Joined: 7th Apr 2008 | Posts: 1350

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Gold Member

I've brought this idea up before...once...but I don't think I made myself clear. I would really like a lab full of special effects organized into movie-based features. Take famous movies (or at least ones famous for special effects) and remake their special effects, less customizeable (Elab, Vlab) and more like plugins. Less versatile but more accurate, if you see my meaning. The Matrix, LOTR (please?), SW of course, Indiana Jones, etc. Real famous ones. And then maybe a feature for effects widely used in movies, like fireballs, a few explosions, and so on and so on. That would be super-awesome. PLEASE!

Thank you for reading my pointless and rambling wall of text. I hope you have not died of boredom or of trying to sort out my inarticulate speech patterns.

Anonymous: You really need to shut up now.

Oh yeah. Sry.
Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 5:22am

Post 2 of 8

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

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SuperUser

I think I understand your idea, and I'm not specifically trying to shoot it down, but I think you would be better off researching or asking about specific effects shots such from famous films one at a time, and here's why:

The general idea of having fanfilm-oriented effects replicated from famous films I can see, but having them less customizeable can't be a benefit. It would force you to shoot your scene to fit a specific pre-made effect, which really doesn't serve the purposes of filmmaking very well. I think if you were to discuss a specific effect or two, you would likely get some helpful suggestions of how to pull them off, but requesting an entire program chock-full of them seems a bit of a tall order. For example, when you say "LOTR effects," you could mean: shots of AI armies created by massive, you could mean the Balrog, or Gollum, or the optical flow effects of the 'ringworld,' or forced perspective, or digital sets, or Gandalf's fireworks or smoke rings, or avalanches on Caradhras, or those guys from the Paths of the Dead, or... the point is, those are all totally different types of effects, all requiring totally different approaches and techniques, hugely skilled artists, and loads of pricey software. Some are achievable in some form to amateurs and low-budget filmmakers, many aren't.

Generally when you see a version of a famous effect that isn't spot-on, its because of one of two reasons: First, its deliberately different either because of copyright issues or because the artist felt the desire to customize it somehow rather that ripping it off completely, or Second, the actual effect is beyond the abilities/budget/technical or artistic prowess of all but a handful of CG artists in the world, and comes at a very, very high price. Thirdly (this one was late in coming to my brain), the reason any of those effects shots look so good is that they were meticulously created to fit exactly into every aspect of the scene in which they are taking place. There are some types of effects that can't be achieved on a convincing professional level with stock footage.

EXAMPLE: an explosion inside a car. The way the explosion is shaped by the roof of the car, the way it blows out the windows, the way the flames roll along the various surfaces and the smoke escapes from the contained space, all depend on the exact angle of the car to the camera, and the exact model of car in question, as every car has a different shape. You can't accurately replicate this with stock footage, though you may be able to get passable results with lots of clips, lots of tweaking and lots of time, if it even is possible it won't come easy. Even with CG, this would require a high quality 3d application with very powerful particle generators and a skilled artist to use them correctly.

Keep in mind also that in many of the films you mentioned, the original SW trilogy and the original Jones trilogy) none of the effects were CG, they were all practical on-set effects, stock footage, or hand-painted rotoscoping. So to get accurate replication of them, those are the means you should look into.

I think what will be most helpful for you is to look into the specifics of some of the shots you would like to recreate, to learn more fully what is involved in them
Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 3:56pm

Post 3 of 8

Terminal Velocity

Force: 2507 | Joined: 7th Apr 2008 | Posts: 1350

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Axeman wrote:

I think I understand your idea, and I'm not specifically trying to shoot it down, but I think you would be better off researching or asking about specific effects shots such from famous films one at a time, and here's why:

The general idea of having fanfilm-oriented effects replicated from famous films I can see, but having them less customizeable can't be a benefit. It would force you to shoot your scene to fit a specific pre-made effect, which really doesn't serve the purposes of filmmaking very well. I think if you were to discuss a specific effect or two, you would likely get some helpful suggestions of how to pull them off, but requesting an entire program chock-full of them seems a bit of a tall order. For example, when you say "LOTR effects," you could mean: shots of AI armies created by massive, you could mean the Balrog, or Gollum, or the optical flow effects of the 'ringworld,' or forced perspective, or digital sets, or Gandalf's fireworks or smoke rings, or avalanches on Caradhras, or those guys from the Paths of the Dead, or... the point is, those are all totally different types of effects, all requiring totally different approaches and techniques, hugely skilled artists, and loads of pricey software. Some are achievable in some form to amateurs and low-budget filmmakers, many aren't.

Generally when you see a version of a famous effect that isn't spot-on, its because of one of two reasons: First, its deliberately different either because of copyright issues or because the artist felt the desire to customize it somehow rather that ripping it off completely, or Second, the actual effect is beyond the abilities/budget/technical or artistic prowess of all but a handful of CG artists in the world, and comes at a very, very high price. Thirdly (this one was late in coming to my brain), the reason any of those effects shots look so good is that they were meticulously created to fit exactly into every aspect of the scene in which they are taking place. There are some types of effects that can't be achieved on a convincing professional level with stock footage.

EXAMPLE: an explosion inside a car. The way the explosion is shaped by the roof of the car, the way it blows out the windows, the way the flames roll along the various surfaces and the smoke escapes from the contained space, all depend on the exact angle of the car to the camera, and the exact model of car in question, as every car has a different shape. You can't accurately replicate this with stock footage, though you may be able to get passable results with lots of clips, lots of tweaking and lots of time, if it even is possible it won't come easy. Even with CG, this would require a high quality 3d application with very powerful particle generators and a skilled artist to use them correctly.

Keep in mind also that in many of the films you mentioned, the original SW trilogy and the original Jones trilogy) none of the effects were CG, they were all practical on-set effects, stock footage, or hand-painted rotoscoping. So to get accurate replication of them, those are the means you should look into.

I think what will be most helpful for you is to look into the specifics of some of the shots you would like to recreate, to learn more fully what is involved in them
Holy wall of text, Batman! But I see yr point.
Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 4:05pm

Post 4 of 8

meast1431

Force: 405 | Joined: 6th Mar 2009 | Posts: 39

EffectsLab Pro User MacOS User FXhome Movie Maker

Gold Member

I would like to see you all come up with some nice motion capture software. To record a scene and have a reflective strip at the tip and base of the saber and then tell the system to analyse the clip and replace the captured blade with the light saber effect.

I am sure it can be done I am just not sure if it can be done in an affordable manner. smile

I mean if Peter Jackson can put ping pong balls on Andy Serkis and make Gollum and King Kong then I would think it could be done by the the folks at FXhome.

Last edited Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 4:36pm; edited 4 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 4:13pm

Post 5 of 8

Terminal Velocity

Force: 2507 | Joined: 7th Apr 2008 | Posts: 1350

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

meast1431 wrote:

I would like to see you all come up with some nice motion capture software. To record a scene and have a reflective strip at the tip and base of the saber and then tell the system to analyse the clip and replace the captured blade with the light saber effect.

I am sure it can be done I am just not sure if it can be done in an affordable mannor. smile
That's manner. But whatever. I am not a grammar nazi.

I think, if I have a clue what you mean, it's a cool idea, and would make lightsaber animation far easier.
Posted: Fri, 10th Apr 2009, 8:05pm

Post 6 of 8

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

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SuperUser

Motion tracking is a fine thing, but it doesn't work for lightsabers, its been looked into. The problem is that even with colored tips or tracking points of whatever kind, the blades move so fast that they blur out, and the tracking points can't be identified in the resulting blur. Theoretically, maybe if you used UV reflective trackers or something it might work, but it would also require special cameras and highly expensive hardware to make it work.
Posted: Tue, 21st Apr 2009, 3:26am

Post 7 of 8

Terminal Velocity

Force: 2507 | Joined: 7th Apr 2008 | Posts: 1350

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Okay, while I realize this idea is dead in the water, when I said "less versatile", I meant that I think that by definition, a more movie-accurate effect would be so. Just clearing that up.
Posted: Tue, 21st Apr 2009, 8:35am

Post 8 of 8

spydurhank

Force: 1956 | Joined: 24th Jun 2008 | Posts: 1357

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Axeman wrote:

Motion tracking is a fine thing, but it doesn't work for lightsabers, its been looked into. The problem is that even with colored tips or tracking points of whatever kind, the blades move so fast that they blur out, and the tracking points can't be identified in the resulting blur. Theoretically, maybe if you used UV reflective trackers or something it might work, but it would also require special cameras and highly expensive hardware to make it work.
Yeah dude,
With the lightsaber thing, you'd need cameras or some such thing all around you in a 360 type deal. think of it as almost like radar. you'd stick whatever type of markers on the lightsaber blade so that no matter how fast you moved them the software would emmit signals so that it would always know where the markers on the lightsaber are in a 3d plane.

Kinda like motion capture so you would always know where the lightsaber is so that you can import that info into a 3D app to be able to add the glow. After that it would just be a matter of masking "a crap load of rotoscoping" where the lightsaber passes behind a person or object. It could be done with the right software but then again who knows how far into the future that kinda software is and how much it would cost or be available to us. I don't know man. Ask the government, They sell stuff to just about anyone. eek smile