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THE VISUAL EFFECTS PRODUCTION PIPELINE

Pre-production is the first stage of getting a film made characterised by all the work that is done before the shoot on set or location occurs. This can vary from a few weeks to over year depending on the show.

Production is the actual shooting of the film. Much work is done by the VFX on-set and back at the studio whilst the film is actually being shot. Shoots can last for a couple of months to over last a year.

After the project has finished being filmed it enters postproduction. This is the phase where the majority of the VFX work happens and there is the majority of contact with the client. It is also during the time of edit, music and sound are added.

R&D is one of the key departments in any large visual effects house. Its a department made of programmers, scientists, mathematicians to release the new tools of requirements of the projects. The tools where either written as plug-in for the existing software's or as stand-alone programs.

Tests are done as a proof of convincing the clients with the facility, potential look and a concept pieces to give the them the confidence that what they want to achieve is possible. This process is generally done by experienced artists.

Modeling will generally begin in the pre-production as the clients will be supplying the drawing or clay models that want to create and also low-res models will be required for pre-visualisation and tests. Models will be produced at several quality levels, high res for final renders, medium for animation and low for previsualisation.

Its a process of taking the story boards or script of a scene and then blocking out the action in 3D using low-resolution models and textures. The idea to do a 3D scene and do experiments and render out, so that the director will get a better understanding before he go out for the expensive shoot. Its basically done for a guide. It may change in set as the director wishes.

Usually when the shoot begin there will be a CG Sup will be on the set to see how the show will work on studio once its filmed, also offering advice on VFX set-up when it is asked for. The on set rep will take as much photograph which will be really help in modeling, lighting,matchmoving,matte painting etc.The idea is take as much info as possible, so that it will help during the production.

LIDAR is a laser based 3D scanning device that can create highly detailed models of building and environments. The models processed by these machines are really dense and heavy. A modeler will always build a model by keeping the lidar as the reference.

High Dynamic Range Photographs are take for the Lighting TD to use image-base lighting techniques when lighting the shots. The photos will generally taken in the form of two sets of 180 degree apart the fish-eye photographs of the scene. Each view will be photographed 5times in diff shutter speeds to get as much of shadows and highlight detail as possible.

Once the shoot has finished and the edit begins the actual takes of each shot that will be used in the film are selected and then scanned by the client. Most film scanned at 2K, or 2048x1556 pixels if the film is shot on a Super 35mm.Each frame is scanned as a separate high dynamic range image to preserve as much detail from the original negative as possible.

The purpose grading is to get al shots in a sequence to have the same overall look and feel so that there are no noticeable jumps in the brightness or color when they viewed together as sequence after they scanned. Its often done by the director of Photography with a colorist in a DI suite.

Because most movies are still shot on film it is usual for dust spots and developing chemical patches to be present in the scanned frames. It is pretty much impossible to keep a piece of negative completely clean and so a team of compositors will paint out any scratches or dust that appears in the scans. This is often called dust-busting

Once the models are completed it will go to rigging. Once the rig is done its been tested by the animators who try and break it, then a new revised rig is created on the result of testing. Matchmove is also an essential part when it comes this stage.

Once the scanned film has been delivered and rigged models of all the elements exist it is time for the tracking department to work. The Information from the set plays a vital role in matchmove, eg: focal length, measurements of live object, reference photographs.

Usually this means animating a creature, characters, or a vehicle or anything else that moves. They try to work with the medium resolution models. They need to be detailed and positioned very accurately. The animated version play blast will be show to client as grey-shaded for critique and future revision will be made on these comments.

Effects Animation refers to anything involving simulation. These will generally fall into one of the three categories, like particles, rigid-body dynamics and fluids. An effects TD will pick up the MM camera and any hand animated elements plus a CG version of the environment. With that they will use to provide a base of the simulation

Once the models are finished it will go to the texturing dep, and they texture with the real photographs that they got from the set. A texture painter can create maps for diffuse color, specularity, displacement and bump maps ets. These maps are extremely detailed sometimes upto 8K if the Digital camera is very close to the model.

Look development is the phase where the texture maps are used with shaders and lights to determine the final look of the finished model, shininess, reflectivity, roughness and so on will be tweaked by the look-dev artist until a perfect match with the reference. For there is no reference the decision will be done by the CG Sup and the Director.

Once the animation and the look-dev has been approved the lightening artist will take it from there to go for the finished look. They will use the shader setting supplied by the look-dev dep and the HDR lighting maps that where shot on the set, but will often add more CG lights. They will render all there passes and do a basic composite over the scanned film plate.

It will often be necessary to put a digital element behind a real filmed element in the plate photography. Some shots will be shoot on a blue or screen screen, for keying. But in reality still Roto is required to get a perfect matte for the compositor to compose.

Its a good idea to shoot natural phenomena like smoke, splashes or dust against a black, blue or green screen. These isolated shots are called elements and there will usually be an element shoot as part of the film production.VFX houses keep large libraries of elements from previous shows so that compositor have a range of explosion, blood spurts and so on.

Compositing is the last process in the chain and it is where all the CG elements and the scanned plates are brought together to create a seamless finished image. Matte paintings may also be produced at this stage to serve as the backdrop to green screen elements or CG.A compositor will use a variety of techniques for the shot to look real.

Once the composite has been approved it is supplied back to the client in the same from as the original scan was received, usually as a series of digital image files. The client uses these finished composited frames for creative grading and eventually to be shot out onto film for release in cinemas.

A TYPICAL MATCH-MOVE PIPELINE


S Any time a computer generated CG element needs to be

placed into a live-action sequence or vice versa, a match move is very essential part of it.
S Match moving is the process of matching CG elements

into live-action footage.


S Its a crucial part of many visual effects shots, despite its

importance, its completely invisible in the final shot.

A typical Match-move pipeline flows like below. Match move, Rotomation, Rotoscopy, per-comp all these departments works very close each other for a show.

PROPOSED TRAINING AND DEVELOPING THE STUDIO


S Understanding the entire VFX Production Pipeline.

S Understanding the software and tools.


S Developing the technical skills for the production by constant

workshop.
S A day to day updation with the industry and its needs.
S Understanding the Pre-production, Production & Post

Production.

PROPOSED TRAINING AND DEVELOPING THE STUDIO


S On set VFX Supervision Training.

S Production Notes and its importance.


S Working on Dead Lines. S What is a LIDAR SCAN. S What are HDR Images and how to shoot them. S How to pin the HDR images for the image based lighting.

PROPOSED TRAINING AND DEVELOPING THE STUDIO


S Lens Distortion Grid and its importance.

S How to set up a witness camera and its importance.


S Proposed movies to be watched for the understanding of

the world of Visual effects.


S Understanding the 3D Stereoscopic movies.
S How to shoot a 3D stereo movie.

PROPOSED TRAINING AND DEVELOPING THE STUDIO


S Setting up a stereoscopic match-move pipeline.

S Special training conducted for Stereoscopic Film shots.


S A study made on developing the demo at Industry level

standards.
S Developing the Demo Reel.
S Approaching the clients for test shot/Job.

PREFERED SOFTWARES