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How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?

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Sasha Smolin
How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 16, 2017 at 11:02:13 am

Hello, I am currently trying to produce a piece of visual artwork for a large led screen which will be a featurepiece in a lobby. The screen size will be 9m x 3m!

The brief is simple: To film a 24hr segment from the top of our building (sunrise to sunset) and then overlay the effect of glass rods/curved glass on top of the segment.

Currently I have experimented with the AE 'Wave Warp' modifier with some success.
The effect of glass rods however, I am finding hard to achieve. For this I have made a black and white gradient image in Photoshop, which I have then overlaid over the segment in addition to the Wave Warp modifier.

I have also tried to put a glassy texture (together with normal map) in front of the segment as per Andrew Kramer's glass tutorial [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZW8kDQWQ5I[/youtube] - but the effect is still not there for me.

Please see my current tests below. If anyone could help me improve the glass rods effect I would be very grateful!

A still from the unedited 24hr video segment:


Glass rods inspiration images:


Or curved glass:


Another curved glass image:


My gradient map:


My current output:


Again, any help on achieving the glass rods effect much appreciated. Thanks!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 2:37:58 pm

I have a couple of fundamental questions:
On what kind of device will this animation be displayed?
How will a 24-hour-long file be played back?

Surely you have already addressed these technical challenges.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Richard Garabedain
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 3:06:58 pm

use your gradient map as a displacement map instead of a overlay...also you might have to work on your gradients a bit so that they look more like glass..maybe use a bulge..make one first.


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Sasha Smolin
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 3:55:50 pm

Thanks for the replies. I have played with it a bit more and have got a better result. The next step is to introduce bulges to the gradient map as you have cleverly suggested!

Regarding the 24hr playback - this has not been thoroughly thought through. I have assumed using the right codec/compression-mode will allow for this. I presume you think that the file will be so large that it will not be playable?

The screen will comprise of 60 or so frameless LED screens clamped together. A separate company that specialises in this will do that. All the screens will then be hooked up to a central computer where we can display any video.

Here are my current tests. I added clouds to help with seeing some distortion through the rods.

In this image the rods (ie the gradient map) is not displaced, but an ice normal map texture is - as per Andrew Kramer's glass tutorial.




In this image the gradient map is displaced. Not a big difference, but still a nice effect.




Please let me know your thoughts.


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Cassius Marques
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 4:50:52 pm

All I'm seeing on your effect is the refraction that overlaying glass would create. But with glass its reflection is more prominent than its refraction.

I think (not at all knowing the look you're after) that adding some highlights and lowering that noise distortion would sell the effect better.

Cassius Marques
http://www.zapfilmes.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 6:40:19 pm

The CC Glass effect will let you do both distortion and lighting. You can re-use the elements you've got already.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 6:43:36 pm

[Sasha Smolin] "Regarding the 24hr playback - this has not been thoroughly thought through. I have assumed using the right codec/compression-mode will allow for this. I presume you think that the file will be so large that it will not be playable?"

I do indeed think so. I would contact the people in charge of this project to learn their delivery specifications before you begin shooting.

You will also have to determine how this will be shot and recorded to accommodate a 24-hour period. Know that the maximum duration for After Effects compositions is 3 hours

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Sasha Smolin
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 8:07:04 pm

Thanks for all your comments. Very helpful.

Regarding the CC Glass effect, I didn't find it that useful, but this then led me to the caustics effect which I think is very cool. It works by having input for three layers - one for the seafloor, one for the waters surface and one for the reflection of the sky.
For the seafloor layer I input the image of my skyline
For the waters surface I input the rods greyscale image
For the sky reflection I left blank as I have not found a suitable image for this yet (but this is potentially very useful)

As this project is essentially a piece of artwork, I am quite happy with the exaggerated distortion . There are also so many settings to play with in the caustics effect that this could be easily reduced if desired.



Regarding the length of the video - I can now image that we will have to reduce the segment to capture everything from sunrise to sunset and a little bit after. This will therefore take the total segment length to something like 16 hours. Then we will have to compile a number of three hour AE segments in premier once they are done.

If anyone has more suggestions please let me know and thanks again.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to produce a glass rods overlay effect?
on Apr 17, 2017 at 10:32:45 pm

Don't overlook the importance of determining precisely how this will be played back and displayed before work begins in earnest. It will have a great impact on how you plan the project.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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