Excalibur Entertainment's Projects - Name/Logo Change - 12/15/18



  • @tddavis - OK, do you think I should maybe brighten the planet and maybe brighten the mountains a little as well? Maybe saturate the planet a little more?

  • @DIY_Film_Guy

    I think I would only brighten the planet and sky.  I think the mountains themselves look appropriately distant by them being dim in the atmosphere, but you brighten the background and it should give some separation.  Kind if like if you had a backlight behind the mts the way you put one behind people's heads in portraits.  But again, go with what you like, not what I suggest if it doesn't strike your fancy.  I'm like Jon Snow and know nothing... :)  Obscure Game of Things reference in case you don't watch it.


  • Okay, I'll do that. I think you're right that the mountains need separation. Thanks for the advice!

  • @DIY_Film_Guy ; Actually, I think you have a great start there.  My advice would be to slow your camera move down a little. 

    But this looks really good!  However, as tddavvis said there is something a little off about the background and the midground mountains.  If I focus on the planet the mountains seem to shift back and forth a little.

    Overall though, a really nice shot.

  • Not sure about the scale of the lava and the speed of the camera movement. I did not realise those were mountains in the background at all. With the speed of the camera, the large shakes (one very bumpy flight for the filmcrew's "camera plane"?)  and the scale of the lava's detail it looked more the camera was moving across a small pond with some earth piled at the side of it. Those jets of steam also made it looked small. If they were supposed to be large (a mile high?) they'd have to be spurting at supersonic speeds to look like that.

    You know when you see model shots of giant battleships in old B/W war movies that look like they were filmed in a bathtub because the waves look too big and it's all moving too fast? It's a bit like that.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    I'll agree with Palacono that the speed of the camera movement and the speed of your fire and "burst" elements is such that it makes the scene look smaller than I think you intend.

    If those are Action VFX elements, take a look at the file properties. If they're shot at 60fps, then you can change their playback speed by right-clicking the source clips in the media bin, selecting Properties, then unchecking "From File" for FPS and changing that to your project frame rate. That will slow them down and make them feel "bigger."

    Otherwise, it's working pretty well for me. Perhaps a little more separation in the mountains, and maybe some glow on the lava?

  • edited August 2017

    @Stargazer54 - OK, I'll slow the move down. I'm going to reduce the shake as well. The mountains shift relative to the planet because I pushed the planet back in 3d space - there is parallax happening between the two layers.

    @Palacono - Yeah, I agree that the shake and camera move were a bit overdone. I will also scale down the steam bursts. I put lava erupting from some of the distant mountains/volcanoes to make it feel larger.

    @Triem23 - Unfortunately, I can not slow them down. They were shot at 24 frames per second. As I told Palacono, I'll make the burst elements smaller. I did add glow, but maybe not enough. I'll go tweak that.

  • For me it was also the scale of the cracks in the lava texture that made it look small.

    Lava (in my memory of seeing it on TV) has quite small cracks and lots of cooling magma around them.  Your cracks would either be normal sized for quite a small area of lava, or hundreds of metres wide for something large; which doesn't 'feel' right.

    Can you adjust the scale of the texture - or whatever you are using to generate them - to be more detailed so it looks both larger and further away?

    Video:Small or Far Away?

  • edited August 2017

    @Palacono - What should I do to the lava cracks? Scale the texture down and add more repetitions to the tile, or change the actual texture that I'm tiling?

  • I think scale will do it. How are you generating your lava texture? You might consider leaving the current texture to be "large scale" structure and combine it with a smaller detailed texture for "small scale" structure. 

    Using this for reference, notice the large scale structure defining the overall shape with small scale structure defined by the ripples. 


  • @Triem23  - Right now I am tiling a single texture. What if I left the larger texture how it is, and tiled a different, more detailed texture on another layer and use blend modes to blend the two textures together?

  • Not only would that work, but if you made the second texture a different size, or at a different tile scale you'd get a more complex interaction of texture that would also help hide the tile seams. :-)

  • @Triem23 - OK, cool! I'll go work on that. Thanks!

    I was also thinking of making the texture grayscale, then using a fractal layer with a set matte to the textures. Then I could animate the seed value for a kind of rippling, changing lava effect. Do you think that would be good?

  • Yeah, that should work. :-)

  • Some more work on Supreme Leader Snoke today - here's a shot that I just finished:


    There is no audio, and the facial animation needs to be refined, but I was focusing on the compositing of a moving shot, so I have a kind of template to work off of for my other shots.

  • edited September 2017

    Here's the Snoke shot, with audio:


    The Snoke voiceover was a really interesting challenge. I tried to make it sound very hoarse and throaty. I think it worked pretty well. I did all the sound editing in Audacity. 

  • Nice job!  The voice sounds pretty good, but the lip sync is off.  If you haven't already done so, I recommend shooting video of yourself saying the line out loud, and using that as reference for making the mouth shapes.  Real life is always your best reference, and will be even after you have years of experience under your belt (speaking from my own experience as an animator and animation supervisor many years ago).

  • edited September 2017

    @jsbarrett - I did shoot reference of me saying the line, but I haven't had the chance to actually use it to animate. The animation you are seeing in the video is just a rough pass so I could test out the compositing. Sometime soon I'll go back and fix up the animation.

  • Gotcha.  In that case, I suggest delaying rough animation if your intent is to work on compositing first.  Just pose the character, but save animation for later.  That way you can just say the character isn't animated yet, and avoid comments like mine on unfinished work.  :)

  • Plus lip synch is a bitch, so who wants to do it twice?

  • Uh...me.  :)  Lip sync was (and still is, kinda) one of my favorite parts of animation.  I even made a whole tutorial series back in the day that was mostly about lip sync.

  • @Triem23 and @jsbarret - Yeah, I probably shouldn't have animated that right away. Now that I have finished compositing a full shot, I'll probably go back and redo the animation with the reference footage.

  • Taking a break from Snoke... I started working on some AT AT Walker shots. Here's a rough test of a shot. It doesn't have any audio yet:

    I used the model from the Hitfilm team. I didn't re-animate it for this shot, I just used the default animation that came with the model. For actual shots in the movie, though, I plan to do the animation myself.
  • The basic lighting feels okay, but there's a subtle dark outline around the model that's keeping it from feeling like it's part of the environment.  I don't have Pro, though, so I can't offer any suggestions on what might cause that.

    It also feels kinda small.  Knowing how big all that foliage would really be, I'd say your walker needs to be at least double its current size, possibly larger.

  • That'll look good once it's done, but double check your lighting.

    You've got a really difficult lighting situation there--the lighting is very diffuse, implying overcast, and the walker is emerging from the trees, so lighting is changing, but, if you look at the bright tree to the right of the frame and the cast shadows of the bush right below it, you can see that the sun is farther forward and farther to (frame) left than you currently have it.

    Lighting is really the key in compositing. It doesn't matter how good everything else is, if the lighting doesn't match the composite doesn't look right.

    Lastly, you'll see mismatched lighting in even the most expensive big-budget blockbuster. It happens, but... Ugh, don't get me started on "Star Wars EP II," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and the 2009 "Star Trek." Three examples where compositing teams from ILM and WETA dropped the damn ball...

  • edited September 2017

    @jsbarret - I don't have pro either. The animation of the walker was rendered in Blender, then brought into Hitfilm. I can probably use a matte cleaner effect to get rid of the black outline.

    @Triem23 - Ok, I think I'll make the lighting less directional and more ambient. I'll have to play around with it, but I don't think I'll fix it for this particular shot, as it was just a test. However, in final shots, I'll take your advice!

  • @DIY_Film_Guy  +1 to jsbarret's "It also feels kinda small.  Knowing how big all that foliage would really be, I'd say your walker needs to be at least double its current size, possibly larger." 

    I wasn't going to mention it because I thought it just might be my eyes but there is something about the foreground foliage that makes the Walker look small...ish.

  • @tddavis - OK, in that case, I'll need to find a wider shot. I'm sure I have one somewhere.

  • "The animation of the walker was rendered in Blender, then brought into Hitfilm. I can probably use a matte cleaner effect to get rid of the black outline."

    You might also look at how you're exporting from Blender. It's been years since I've used it, and never exported renders for use elsewhere, so I don't know the exact options available, but one thing to check is how the alpha channel is being generated.  My gut says that Blender is making a premultiplied alpha instead of a straight alpha.  If so, you might actually be able to avoid re-rendering. Check the end of this thread for a tip from @SimonKJones :


  • edited September 2017

    @jsbarrett  My go-to choice when render out in Blender is PNG sequences with an Alpha channel but when I import into Hitfilm I drop the Opacity to about 96 to give the edges a feathered look. Less if I get too much bleed through.  May not be the best all around method, but I find it easy to use...for me. 

This discussion has been closed.