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Posted by Scott_Mo, on 2011-12-05 16:25:34

Alien set, green screen compositing

Hello all, I'm shooting my first puppet animation and I'm working with a limited but usable budget. The film's story takes place on an alien planet with various lighting scenarios (night/day). The lead character is a levitating being. Her movement would resemble Eve on Wall-E. She is consonantly moving (up and down) and she will require a rig 99.9% of the time. Should I try try green screen her as much as possible? The landscape will have many practical lighting sources and the light on her face will need to reflect these changes. She sometimes interacts with the landscape (ie: picks up rocks, sculpts giant boulders) Or should I shoot her on the set and remove the rig using a clean layer of the set (rigless/puppetless)? Which is more work for the compositor? ** I was planning on using my moco device for a few tracking shots. How does this fit to the two above options? If I shoot green-screen is it as easy as adding motion-tracking points? Maybe I need to replicate the exact parameters for both motion tracking shots. Any advice or links to vids/blogs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! -Scott

Posted by Isomer, on 2011-12-05 19:52:41

I think rig removal is the better option and you would probably need to have her on a flying rig for the animation anyway so, you wouldn't necessarily be removing a step... you would actually be adding one. If you plan for it properly, rig removal is really not much of a chore. It can be done extremely cleanly and can look much better than a puppet composited in. As you've already stated, you have lighting that needs to match but, you'll also need to account for missing shadows as well. I'm currently on a project (Sinbad 5) in which I'm matching puppets into live action footage, which is essentially the same as adding a puppet into a miniature set and I can tell you that the challenge of doing that is far greater than doing relatively simple rig removal with the puppet actually on the set. You said that the character needs to interact with objects on the set and that right there illustrates the need for it to really be there. It's better not just for the compositing issues but also for the animator to have a clear mental picture of the relationship between the puppet and it's surroundings. What a lot of people tend to forget is that it's not just the light source that affects the light on your character, but also all the light reflected from the set. That's why in many cases you can immediately detect that a character has been matted in... aside from the often fuzzy outline. We can give you a lot of advice on the best ways to handle rig removal if you need any. It can be a bit tedious sometimes (depending on what you're removing) but, I actually enjoy that sort of work... I don't enjoy shooting against a green screen or the process of getting rid of the matte line.

Posted by Dean, on 2011-12-06 11:22:13

Ah, why do people post things in more than one place? I remember about a year ago, one guy posted about his 'amazing, must-see film' in every category. It was amusingly annoying. Anyway, on your other post, I voted the green screen method, but here you described more about your film. The extra info lends favour to using the paint-out method. So I changed my vote. (Not swayed at all by Master Isomer... ;) ) By the way, sounds like an interesting project. Hopefully you'll keep us up-to-date with it :)

Posted by Scott_Mo, on 2011-12-06 12:39:43

Sorry if it came across a cross-post. But I posted in the animating section to ask about how one would design the rig for animating levitation (irregular floating look)and it evolved to chroma/rig talk, which is what I wanted to discuss in this section. All apologies I should have been more specific. Many thanks to you and M. Isomer for replying. If anyone else has anything to add I'd love to read it. I'm a sponge for this kinda talk. I will build my profile up in the coming months and include behind the scene links as soon as everything is lined up. Maybe after the project I'll know enough about puppet animation to respond instead of ask. javascript:smilie(';)') I've animated objects in previous films so this is going to be quite the learning curve. Many Thanks, -Scott ;)

Posted by Nick H, on 2011-12-06 17:06:35

I already replied on the other post. With the photo I posted, I wanted the flying creature to land on something, where it would cast a shadow, so I animated it on set. That's best if there is a lot of interaction. But you have to watch out that the wire rig does not pass in front of something that is moving - you need a clean background frame to replace what would be behind the rig. For another project, the same creature was composited in, so it depends on the shot.

Posted by Scott_Mo, on 2011-12-07 09:04:48

Yeah sorry about the cross-post. It wasn't intended, I'll be more concise and specific in the future. I was trying to start two different discussions. One on animating the kinetics/mechanics of levitation, and one on production design that will incorporate a levitating character (rigs/chroma v.s non-chroma). For anyone curious more about the other conversation you can click the link below. http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=11&topic_id=2289&mesg_id=2289&page=