The DIY Film Guy Projects - Iron Man Suit Up! (6/17/18



  • I like it!  Really nice movement on everything.  Feels very professional.  About the only thing that bugs me is the texture on the title.  It feels too much like standard fractal noise as the source. Perhaps layer different kinds of noise to break it up a bit, or use an image instead.

    Another way to solve the double-Excalibur thing would be to use a different character for the other cross of the X.  Not sure if the angle would work for that typeface, but a simple forward slash might do the trick.

  • Thanks all! I don't think I'm going to change the two Excaliburs. The sword coming down to meet it was supposed to just be a different sword, but then I forgot and used the same 3d model. It took a really long time to render, though, so I think I'll leave it like this.

    I've been experimenting more with the Kylo Ren lightsaber effect, and I think I've pretty much got it down now. Using the lightsword ultra effect, you can get some really nice distortion. I am also using a particle system for the sparks, that is parented to the hilt point, and set up to point at the tip point (that way it moves correctly when I'm rotoscoping). Here's an image of how it looks right now:

    I think I might use this effect to do my first ever tutorial. Any thoughts?

  • I'm far from a lightsaber expert, but it looks pretty cool to me!

  • Wow. Since my last post, so many projects have been started (too many for one post on the forum). To start off the list, I'll talk about a 3d animation I recently did for a school project. Here it is:

    The animation was done through Mixamo, and the scene, simulations, models and environment were done in Maya. Additional things, like the sun, were added in Hitfilm after the render was complete. The title seen at the end was done with Boris FX.

    I'll be trying to update this thread much more frequently now that school is almost out. I have plenty of other projects very, very close to being done (like the one mentioned at the end of this video).

    What do you guys think of this animation?

  • @DIY_Film_Guy ;   I think you did a really awesome job animating Quixote running up the field and under the gate to attack the windmill.  The motion was very life-like and fluid.  Hands down far over my level...  Kudos! 

  • edited June 15

    @tddavis - No, the animation files were from Mixamo, as I said earlier. You can then apply those animations to character rigs. I didn't do the actual keyframe animation. I did compose the scene, and set up the render with mental ray, and composite the scene in Hitfilm, which for me are the hard parts.

  • The lighting, render, and effects all look good.  The animation has a few issues, but I'm pretty picky about that stuff because it used to be my bread and butter for years.  Overall, well done!  If I were able to do work of this quality for school projects when I was a kid, I'd be pretty pleased.

  • edited June 15

    @DIY_Film_Guy ; Oh,  I realized the animations were FBX type files downloaded but I consider applying them with accuracy to be a level of animating and not one I am willing to try...  Heck, just rigging a character is above my level.  

  • edited June 15

    Thanks guys! @jsbarret - I'd like to hear what you thought was off about the animation - I definitely noticed that the windmill falling looks weird.

  • @DIY_Film_Guy ;Some of the things that I feel could be improved are out of your control (or perhaps things that you didn't feel comfortable tweaking), like the run cycle.  It's okay, but could use some finesse to give it a touch more weight, and to break up the cycle a little so that its cyclic nature doesn't stand out so much.

    The point where he pushes aside that cloth and runs under the first windmill is where the cycle stars to work against you.  Someone actually doing that wouldn't just continue running at a constant speed with the exact same body motion.  The run motion would start to turn into unique actions as he's pushing that cloth aside, preparing to chop through the windmill support, etc.

    The chop through the windmill support is a big issue for a couple of reasons.  All the guy currently does is turn his wrist (at a really awkward and painful angle) as he passes under the windmill so that his sword casually slices through that post as he runs by.  Mechanically, that's not possible.  From a staging standpoint, the fact that the support is cut by his sword isn't clear because all we see is the guy running.  Only after he gets out of the shadow of the platform and we can see the sword angle as he's running over the camera do we kind of understand why the tower is starting to fall.  A more believable approach that fixes both mechanics and staging is for him to stop running, wind up into an obvious swing through that post, then duck out and keep running as the windmill begins to fall.  And that's assuming that we believe that a guy with a sword can actually slice cleanly through a post that thick.  ;)

    You've got a good start on the falling windmill.  Overall it needs to be just a hair slower so that the weight of the thing feels more believable, the falling bits need some tweaking so that gravity feels more appropriate, and it needs some more detail in the animation; i.e. more jostling of pieces against each other.  The windmill blades also mysteriously hover in place for a while while the tower supporting them begins to slide, and then they fall. ;) Frankly, I'd be tempted to run the whole thing through a sim so that I wouldn't have to keyframe all of that stuff, but what you've got is a nice start.

    In the closing shot of the guy hacking at the windmill blades, the guy's motion feels a little slow, almost like the original motion was keyframed at 30fps, but then applied to a scene that's running at 24fps.  It also feels a bit theatrical the way he does that spin slash.  If I were you, I would've chosen an animation clip where the guy was just hacking away, not trying to do fancy acrobatics.  The mechanics of the chopped-off windmill bits also need some work.  The pieces feel like they're just floating into place as they come off.  The first one feels like it might have some bounce off of the windmill base, but even that could use some tweaking so it feels more solid.

  • @jsbarret - Thanks for the response - I really appreciate detailed feedback like this.

    A lot of this I would fix, except I was on a tight deadline for the project. Some of the animation on the knight, like the slice through the pole, couldn't have been fixed - Mixamo keyframed every frame for every joint, including each joint of each finger. It would have taken too long to go through all that. I did try to do a simulation for the windmill collapsing, except Maya kept glitching out and everything fell through the ground plane. For the last shot, I'm not sure why it was so slow. I think what you described is probably what happened. Animation is not my forte, but I'm trying to improve - the bouncing of the chopped pieces would have been a great addition. I would have liked to add small flying woodchips for each slice with a particle simulator, but didn't have time.

    Another project has also just been finished - an Iron Man suit up effect. This was filmed aver a year ago, and I only just got around to working on it, so the actual footage resolution is not great. Here it is:

    On this one, I did do all the animation. I think you can imagine what a pain it was to keyframe each part of the suit - there was one shot that had 9 parts of the suit each moving for 107 frames - that was a nightmare! Fortunately, after a few hours of hard work, I was able to finish it off surprisingly quickly.

    One thing I would like to fix is the last shot, where the head comes on. When the frame flies in, his head and hair are still visible on the edge (outside of the frame). We should have shot this on a tripod and gotten a clean plate, so as to remove that.

    The basic workflow for the video was to export the shot as an image sequence from Hitfilm, and when necessary (only for a few shots) track it in Matchmover. Then I brought that into Maya. I did all the 3d animation in Maya, matching it up to the image sequence of the shot. Then, I rendered each piece as their own layer, so I could have pieces change order in z space in Hitfilm - for example, sometimes in a single shot the arm would have to go in front of then behind the leg, so I rendered them as separate layers so I could do that. I finished compositing in Hitfilm with color correction and light wrap. The sparks and smoke trail were done with the particle simulator and the missile smoke effect.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the video?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited June 17

    Too much cast shadow when the armor is lying on the ground, and there's tracking drift there, but the actual suit up looks really fantastic. You did a great job on the animation! 

    Yeah, I see some issues with the helmet like you mentioned. You're in Express, right? There are ways to create clean plates when you forgot to film one, but most methods probably require an external photo editor, although Josh goes over some clean plate tips in the Iron Man takeoff video on the Hitfilm YouTube channel. 

    Hand animation is often still the best.  VFX artist Mojo Lebowitz (Babylon 5,Star Trek: Voyager, BSG, Serenity, others - incidentally the first guy to do a shot with Light Wrap) to this day hand animates debris from ship explosions... The only other option would have been to reverse the footage to start with armor ON then used a physics sim to blow the armor off, then reverse THAT!

    Nice work. Impressive. :)

    Tip for lights/shadows. Shadows aren't usually black. Take an eyedropper/color picker tool and sample a deep shadow from the source plate. Then the colors match. Same with light. It's never "pure" white. If there's something "white" in frame (not blown out), sample that for the light color. So, sampling the sidewalk, which is gray, then turning up the brightness in the color picker to 250 will do it.

    Assuming you saw my dissolve tutorial on the Hitfilm YouTube channel a small detail is the cast shadow of Javert (and dust) on the couch. The shadow color is sampled off a shadow area on the back wall. No one really notices the cast shadow, but the shot doesn't look right without it! 

  • +1 to what @Triem23 said. Nice work overall! 

  • edited June 19

    @Triem23 and @jsbarret - thanks for the feedback and comments!

    I am no longer in Express - I was upgraded a few months ago.  I did create a clean plate for the last shot. If you go frame by frame, when the faceplate comes down you can see the background cut to a clean plate I made. It wasn't quite clean enough for me to use for the beginning of the shot though. (For proof of this, see the car that mysteriously stops in the background on the left!)

    Nice tip for the shadows - I'll try that out. I noticed the tracking drift as well, but at that point I was too far in to the shot that I couldn't fix it.

     Also, I have been working on a poster for my upcoming  shortfilm that I'll post this afternoon.

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