Watch the teaser trailer HERE!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Practical FX of SFN

Practical Film Shoot - Berardo (the bubble blower) is off screen

One important aspect of selling the underwater world to an audience is silt particles that drift in the current. In the teaser, quite a bit of the silt and sand is CG. But some of the shots where there are impacts with the sand or where very specific movements were needed in the sand particles or bubbles, we chose to shoot video footage to composite with the animation.


In a lot of cases, practical effects (effects shot in camera, not computer generated) are faster and therefore cheaper to create. For instance, the crab claw impact particles in the image above took the effects artist a couple days to get just right.  The sea urchin impact on the right uses a number of practical sand poofs that took maybe an hour to set up and do a host of takes, using a $10 fish tank and 5 bucks of sand.

For a lot of shots the CG simulation is necessary.  That crab claw impact needed to have particles that interract with the ground and character, and need to pull up with the claw as it lifts out of the sandy bottom.  So we chose key shots that needed the extra love and gave them the time they needed for proper simulation.

With some shots, as in the one below, it was more efficient to composite practical bubbles over the final render.  Note that in most shots a combination of the two are used, as in the cg silt particles in the background.


In the end, the goal is that the viewer doesn't notice the technique being used and it is all just a harmonious part of the visual experience...and we get the shot done on time.

Here is a short breakdown of a few uses we had for the footage.  There's no sound, so that's why you hear nothing ;)  Feel free to make your own sound effects:


Stay tuned:

Next week we'll go over some exciting uses of unusual techniques that dropped the render times from 5 minutes per frame to only a couple of seconds. Sound too good to be true?
Find out next week!


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