Imagine Worlds project Update

This is an overall summary of the past 8 weeks, versions have been made with improvement to; character interaction, Sound and obviously graphics.

My biggest struggles throughout the project has been the programming; on the bright side, I have been trying to grasp the more common features of programming by looking through YouTube videos, Unity script references and even my own written code and seeing if there is any similarity between what I have done and trying to do.

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A Change in scenery

Let’s say in a film, there is a scene which simply takes your breath away. Maybe a storm brewing above, the atmosphere changing in the environment. pretty interesting right?


This blog shows the magic of a changing in the skies and the feeling in which it brings to the environment you are trying to imply as the developer of VFX artist. First let me show you this image…


Firstly, this composition may consist of a JPEG image and either a still, panning or any other footage for the effect to really take hold. To start off, the linear wipe tool needs to be used to add the feather effect on the horizon as most would see any other sunny day. Applying this will show immense realism and give the audience extra to look at rather than a blank canvas.

Next, the ‘Linear color key’ will keep the JPEG image from being show on anything but the ground and by doing this there will be more room for safety and less for risk of positioning images or effects.

Finally, adding colour balance to your composition should give the overall effect and footage a more natural feel and with the right adjustments; everything should look more natural.

This video should show many other tutorials about Linear colour key and sky changing tutorials;



VFX – Skinning Effect

Like in Iron Man 3?

Tony stark flying about yet again whilst fighting of hordes of enemies which seem to look pretty steamed up… literally.

Skinning example (Iron Man 3)

This effect gives an immense amount of depth in the characters face from within, the effect mimics that of a photo shot of a hand with light shining through revealing the inner skeletal and vein structure.


Skinning effect shown in real life photo

Applying this effect required a MP4 sequence of a face in any view preferably being;

  • Front facing
  • Side facing
  • 3/4 View
Skin clip
After effects composition setup.

This alongside a JPEG image of veins and the fractural Noise which can give the cloudy effect between the veins. Furthermore, the use of the external software of ‘Mocha AE’, movement can be tracked using the bezier tool and the data from that process will then be copied and moved to the mask & pre-comp.

Skin Bexier
Bezier Tool

Going back to the tracking for the scene, this can be explained with a short gif that I made in another composition  to show of Mocha AE tracking capabilities within any environment;

Tracking Feature

Using the Bezier tool I can select a specific point on the video, preferably with contrasting colours and hit the track forward button to begin gathering tracking data and this tracking data can the be applied to the masks within After effects of the image layers.

VFX – Pulling the strings

Like a puppet, the theory and practice of rigging both in 2D & 3D is basically bringing something to live which has come from a mere idea tucked up in your head.

Rigging in after effects is just like rigging in Maya just without the work of taking it to a higher dimension… picture this if you will; one would need four tires, another would only need two.

2D Side View (2 Wheels)
3D orthographic view (4 Wheels)

For this blog, I will be explaining the process of rigging in After effects alongside the practice of joining through an asset hierarchy method.

Firstly there had to be assets to rig, we started with a robot asset with backgrounds and added effects to add aesthetics to the overall composition. At this point I had a slight idea to the concept of rigging for VFX animation but needed extra insight to come to use it for further projects. I have these few screenshots from the process of animation used in after effects.

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Character rigging or in other words ‘Puppet making’ in my opinion can only really be effective with pictures such as humans or and other animal as long as it has a natural concept to be bent or have joints which can bend, unlike inanimate objects unless an animator is thinking about the fantasia times from Disney where anything is possible.


Autodesk Maya – NEXT GEN IDENT

I have been progressing ever so slightly with my I dent animation developing and refining it with minor changes by using the motion graph editor to help me with ‘block animation’ which also means step-by-step animation to help me get those main poses or key-frames just right…

I’ve also been meaning to redo the lighting to either expose the scene and enhance the aesthetics of the scene. In other words basically bringing out those nice colors and making everything look spectacular. The method I thought which was best using was the three-point lighting method this will contain a main light, filler light and a back light that can bring out much more of the model or the scene.

During the pipeline of development, I was told about a new renderer called TURTLE. Turtle, like mental Ray can enhance and improve lighting by taking characteristics of lightning from real environments and apply them to your own scene which overall can inject realism but on an uncanny level which also introduces the term ‘uncanny valley’.

I DENT scene with motion blur + DoF (Depth of Field)

Uncanny valley – A term used when an event or a scenes characteristic turns out to be not fully realistic.

After all the lighting was complete I then moved on to cameras and the animation of the cameras, for this I did not need to use block animation. Instead, I switched over to the camera view which I wanted to animate and by moving myself to where my assets looked best I could insert a key frame, this would show off my version of what I wanted myself and the audience to see.

The only problem that I faced during this task was trying to get timing right, but I learnt that by going through the timeline I can pick out key points in the scene and position the camera to where I want when I needed. By doing this I found it a lot easier and a lot more successful to improve camera animation within Maya.

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VFX – Tracking ‘Eye see you’

This is something I have wanted to post for a while as I have also wanted to do this type of small project and thanks to a few lessons in VFX, I have finally done it. And to be fair it was easier than I thought.

Our recent lesson was a catch up on 3D camera movement and tracking points, sounds like mumbo Jumbo let me show you what I mean.

First off I recorded a small video of my partner looking directly into the lens and by keeping still, I can track the eyes movement frame-by frame so the tracking points can hopefully stay where they are placed rather than moving all over the frame.

trackeyeThe golden position for attaching a tracking point is to having it where there are two completely clean breaks in colours. By doing this the trackers should stay close to where you assign them.


This is what you should have after running the tracking system…

null5trackThese small compacted red dots are exactly what you need when tracking movement, this will make applying the effect a lot more easier on the animator and the actual ‘Null’ which the motion has been applied to.

Finally you would need to create a solid within your timeline and use the pen tool to cut out the exact shape you want, in this case I wanted to cut out the solid shape to the colour of an eye but only the inner part or more scientifically the ‘Sclera’.

Yes I did look that up to sound smart…

Anyway, after all that was finished. I had more time to experiment, looking at the entire scene. It looked too nice and original to have such an eerie looking eye so I then continued to add adjustment layers such as a black  and white filter and also apply contrast settings which gave my partners face a more natural look in connection with the eye itself.

This is the result of only 15 minutes work which is really good considering I havent had much experience with tracking.

giphy (1).gif
Final Result ‘Eye Effect’ Model: Jacky





Movie Review: Finding Dory

Last night I was trying to find a film to watch whilst I was chilling and having a snack. As I looked through the list of movies, my eye caught Pixar’s ‘Finding Dory’ I immediately thought that this should be good as Finding Nemo was a dear childhood memory and my first ever 3D animation movie alongside Monsters Inc.

Yet again, another top-notch movie by Pixar!

As the movie began, I saw the whole meaning of the movie unfold. An introduction to Dory’s parents show that Dory is not just any fish which appeared in Finding Nemo. Instead Dory is a very peculiar fish with a memoir and she is someone who has been brought down, shut out from her life and social interaction with other fish due to her ‘short term memory’. And throughout the beginning, I was intrigued by the small hints which surround her, sparking her memory and rebuilding what she set out to initially find.

Later on, I found shots of the movie which I can strongly connect to Finding Nemo, such as the shipwreck scene, seeing this made me infer that Pixar must have had thought about what fans could recollect and relate to predecessor Finding Nemo. The meeting in between protagonists and the menacing octopus left behind means if communication where as Bruce was more chatty and had more tied up personality when you’re supposed to see a shark as a killer without mercy. My point is that I saw a moment of flash back with the octopus scene even though both movies show different build-ups and different threats towards the moment of each scene.

Finally, throughout the movie. Alongside all the familiar faces of Mr. Ray, Marlin and Nemo. We have the new fresh set of new faces of Hank, Destiny, Bailey, Charlie and Jenny. I loved this idea as it created more story within the movie and more connection between characters, furthermore. I enjoyed the many different personalities which had been implemented by the writers to give a wider range of emotions over all character that I think keeps the movie interesting and engaging.

And to conclude … this movie is brilliantly set out to succeed its predecessor and can also enrich and introduce a new generation to follow through with Pixars legacy of moviemaking and story telling.