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What Layer Technique for VFX?

May 13, 2013 7:59 AM

I have made a collection of resources (links) for the study of ILM visual effects (digital).

Sorry if the subject matter is a little specific:

 

http://forums.adobe.com/message/5293822#5293822

 

You may notice that some of the images show non-lit blades - and some of these bades are blurry and some aren't (non-feathered masks).

It is my belief that these are they flattened these (as motion files) and then post-lit them. Notice how no light allowing blend modes are used in the intitial stages of the creation of the blade.

 

What I want to know is how much more detail/quality would one need to be able to determine the method behind the effects?

Are techniques uesd such as Channel Blur - did they have to invent really clever techniques?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2013 11:47 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    I'm not sure what you are asking here. Blurry? Non feathered masks? Your thread on ILM visuals is just a bunch of screen shots. Some have motion blur some do not. There are dozens of ways to create light saber effects. There are therefore hundreds of combinations of techniques that can be used. If you want to duplicate a specific shot then load that shot in one viewer and put your new comp in another and try things until you get things to match. There's no magic button to press. There is no single technique that will work for all projects. It just takes experimenting and looking at all the options.

     
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    May 13, 2013 5:43 PM   in reply to Bushy162

    One of the primary issues I have with your collection of images is that many of them are productions stills, rather than actual screen grabs from the films.  Odds are they have been enhanced or completely reworked (in Photoshop, probably) for the still, rather than reflecting the true appearance of the film's effects.  The true film look of light sabres is quite different to many of your stills - mostly pure white, with a reasonably intense coloured glow.

     

    There's a milion ways to recreate a lightsaber effect, and just as many online tutorials.  Andrew Kramer did a decent one years ago:

     

    http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/light_sabers_v2/

     
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    May 14, 2013 7:29 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    Bushy162 wrote:

     

    Yes, the images I chose are all production photos. I specifically chose them because I think they are less enhanced than the ones in the actual film. The film ones are much more intense in color/saturation, plus even on Blu Ray the compression is such that there is no hope of knowing what they'd really look like if you were one of the guys at ILM creating the saber on to the footage.

     

     

    I'm a little unclear what you are trying to achieve.  Do you want to create light saber effects that look like Star Wars movie light sabres?  Or are you looking for something else?  Becasue if the films themselves are not your benchmark, then you may as well just start from scratch and come up with the look you want.  Odds are that every tutorial  in existence is aiming to replicate the look of the films.

     
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    May 15, 2013 5:07 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    you are overcomplicating things on the wrong end. a light saber is a beam and a glow. period. what sets apart professiona from unprofessional is the location, the costumes, choreography, sound design, camerawork, editing, compositing and color correction. so if you have a cheesy scene not a real light saber could help you.

     
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    May 15, 2013 6:23 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    The formula that I gave you in the past will create a light saber that is as good as any in any of the films made by Lucas. It's just a matter of execution. No magic here except the performance of the actors, the lighting on the set, the color grading. Like Klaus said "you are overcomplicating things..."

     
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    May 15, 2013 7:16 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    Because I know some of the folks that worked at ILM and developed these techniques. Software may be different but it's just blend modes and blurs. That's all there is to it. That's all that can be done with a dedicated plug-in. You take pixel values and do some arithmetic on them. You add the values, multiply the values or perform other calculations on them. That is all there is to compositing and visual effects.

     

    There is no magic, just technique and care throughout the whole process. It's layers and arithmetic. That's all there is to it.

     
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    May 15, 2013 11:38 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    Pick one of your sample production stills and I'll send you a comp in a few days that looks just like it.

     
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    May 30, 2013 7:26 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    I'll try and get to it soon. I'm on a production deadline and I don't have much free time start a new project in AE.

     
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    May 30, 2013 7:39 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    I think the Good Mr. Gerard wanted a CLEAN production plate.  Not one with the effect already in place.

     

    To do what he proposed and you expected, he would have to remove the existing effect -- not a particularly fast or fun chore, incidentally -- and then replicate the effect.  There is such a thing as integrity, and Rick would not have foisted the original off on you as his take on the effect.

     

    Then, after a perfect replication was completed, how would you be able to tell he had done a single, solitary thing?

     

    See the problem? 

     

    Try again.  A clean plate, please.  An addition, a second plate with the effect in place for reference is helpful.

     
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    May 31, 2013 6:44 AM   in reply to Bushy162

    I'll just take a photo with my phone, match the color and add a light saber. It will probably take about 10 minutes. Maybe I can get to it this weekend.

     
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