7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 14, 2012 12:06 AM by Mylenium

    Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG

    Kevin C. Burke

      Hi,

      At my work we're setting up a shoot of a handheld device. We'd like to capture the natural reflections to composite with the simulated screen. What's a good production technique for doing this? It seems like tracking markers taped to the device would be helpful for getting the track, but they'd interfere with the reflections. I'd like to see what the AE community recommends. Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          I'd expect you have a good reason for not shooting the actual display... but if you don't you ought to try shooting a test using the actual display to see what you think.

          • 2. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
            Kevin C. Burke Level 1

            Hi Dave,

            Thanks for your response. Yes - it's a video for a User Interface that our client is likely to change frequently. We'd like to keep the flexibility and swap out screen's content. It would be great to get the motion blur, reflections, and pixelated/LED effects for realism, but we're going to try to emulate all of that in post...if it's possible to composite any of what we capture, I'd like to know the best techniques. I was thinking of putting 50% grey on the device.

            • 3. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              I'd start by building a rig that can hold the device rock-solid.  If you move the camera, you'll want tracking marks in the shot.  It should be pretty easy to edit in the finger movements interacting with the touch screen.

               

              You'll want to become well-acquainted with AE's Rotobrush feature to isolate the finger interacting with the screen.  The resulting shot can be used to place the changing display into the composite, and as a track matte to use an AE blend mode over the display: you get the real shadows and reflections from the actual screen, and it really sells the shot.

               

              Mocha would be a very good choice to define the screen edges. 

              • 4. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I second the idea of comping in the actual reflections.

                • 5. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
                  Kevin C. Burke Level 1

                  Yes, I agree...I think I'm going to just have to paint out the tracking markers...

                   

                  Here's a test composite I made with a still.

                   

                  http://blastframe.com/share/screen1.jpg

                  http://blastframe.com/share/screen2.jpg

                  • 6. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    You're going about this in the wrong way. You don't want to preserve the reflections, you probably don't need tracking markers, they only need to be painted out, and you should be shooting something to use as the reflections. Take a look at this How I Did It video from a really good AE artist that spends most of his time as a print guy. Richard Green did a magnificent job with this project and the video shows how he assembled the elements. All of the compositing and tracking for this project could be easily done using Mocha and After Effects. Only the airplane needed to be created in a 3D app. I've done about 30 projects in the last year similar to the one you're describing and Mocha did a perfect job without any tracking markers. You'll just need to block out the reflections which is very easy to do in Mocha.

                     

                    Pay attention to how they created the reflection maps at the end of the video. and laid them into the production. It's about 1:30 into the film. In most cases you can fake this with much less than 360º photography. You'll get the idea.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Production guidance needed - Capturing Reflections for CG
                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                      I wouldn't go so far as Rick and say you don't need the reflections. In fact Imagineer System's Monet made a big deal out of having a special method to retain reflections and re-introduce them. The decisive factor will be how pronounced/ clear you want them to be and how much they actually contribute to the reality factor, meaning in what environment your UI simulation happens. Naturally a bright window reflection like in your case or office ceiling lights will influence things quite a bit. Beyond that I wouldn't overcomplicate. It would in fact be much more straightforward to simply set the whole screen tio a suitable uniform color by ways of a desktop BG image or a uniform app window and then cover up the entire screen with your composites. Having a good contrast in the corners of the glass frame should well be enough to give good tracking and choosing a dark color might stil lallow you to extract the reflections or overlay them using Add or screen blending mode...

                       

                      Mylenium