Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One avenue for nice contact shadows (in a limited context)

I just did a pack-replace spot yesterday where I had to add new 3d type to some live action type. While I'm reasonably confident I could have done a shitty job and explained how it was waaay outside of their budget to get a full object track and 3d render, I came up with a nifty solution. Small jobs are fun like that. They allow for creative solutions to unglamourous projects (like a pack replace)

Object track in Syntheyes (I love you Syntheyes!), exported to Maya, converted to an FBX (the direct Flame Action out of Syntheyes came in as a bunch of axes animated on their position and not one overall position & rotation axis), parented my 3d type to the axis and went about shading it up.

Using a few lights and a blurred edge detect to allow for some faked ambient occlusion (which really, if you think about it generally is just some edge shadows anyway, I got the type looking pretty close to what I had to match to. The hard part was the contact shadow.

Since the shot is reasonably 2d and the shadows fall onto a plane that's flat to camera, I used Sapphire Rays with the light outside of frame and the rays reasonably short to create the shadows. A color correct to make the falloff edges sharp and two color corrects for the shadow color and I'm at least fooling the layman.

So there you go, Sapphire Rays for shadows, in a limited context.

(so limited that my quickie mockup above looks not-awesome, but at least shows the possibility. Serifed type causes some problems, and there's a few ways to trick the edge rays, but I have some roto to get to!)

UPDATE NOTE: with Ambient Occlusion and actual Cast Shadows now in Action, this tip is obsolete!

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