Handling Wet-for-Dry and Personified Smoke
“I started with photographic sky and cloud elements in Photoshop,” explains Hunt. “I added a lot of watercolor textures that I hand painted and scanned. I used that to build layers in Photoshop and then brought that into Eyeon Digital Fusion compositing system as layers. From there I was able to animate cloud movement and undulations so the matte paintings weren’t static and had some life to them. Then I spit out a large sequence that went to the compositor Wayne Shepard, who put everything together in Inferno.”
“We were provided with a plate that was shot on blue screen underwater, it was high-speed with a lot of speed ramps, so we had to match their edit as well as match the practical set, which had already been established in earlier shots. So we had to build it all in 3D, matching the skies and everything else that had been established,” says Hunt. “One of the challenges there was getting the color of her skin to match. She was shot in totally different locations under totally different circumstances. The cinematographer did a good job of trying to match but with light traveling through water it’s always going to look a little different. The quality of the light playing off her skin as far as specularity and highlights was pretty different so to get those to match so that they could be cut back and forth was difficult. Then we had bubbles to deal with, bubbles sticking to her skin or coming out her nose occasionally or sticking in her hair. There was a lot of clean up to do. But getting those skin tones to match from the dry to the wet was the real challenge. We wanted to get it to a point where it could cut seamlessly back and forth so that then the colorist could just apply an overall color to the entire scene.”
“The smoke was supposed to look realistic but at the same time have a certain style that Zack [Snyder, director] and Grant [Freckelton, visual effects art director] presented to us as a look and a feel. From a technical standpoint to achieve the smoke we did a lot of cloth simulations. We actually built the smoke in rigid geometry [using 3D work in LightWave 3D v8.5] and then converted it into a cloth simulation adding wind and various other variables as well as morphing it through bone chains and other animation tools. On top of that we filmed a bunch of practical smoke, incense and other wispy type smoke and then laid that back on top of it. Through a very long process of layering and composting we were able to achieve a look that everyone was happy with.”
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