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Michael Lewy
spaceship window
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:20:53 pm

looking to do a pull back from a spaceship window.
I want to insert live action footage into the window.
Cant really find any tutorials on this.
Would the best way to do this be to use the mocha tracker in AE.
not really sure.


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Greg Gesch
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:46:56 pm

Hi Michael. Mask out the window (set the mask to Subtract), place/position/scale your live action footage under your spaceship layer so it's seen through the window. Make your layers 3D then either: parent your layers to a null and scale etc. the null so that everything moves off in the Z direction - or create a camera and zoom/dolly with it.


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Eric Santiago
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 2:40:15 pm

Mostly eyeballing it unless you have a 100-foot jib :)


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Michael Lewy
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:47:26 pm

what if I wanted to use a C4d CGI ship with a zoomed or out scene of the window.


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Mark Suszko
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 8:25:43 pm

I'd second the suggestion of the animated camera within your compositing software of choice. Makes the scale relationships and positioning easier. It also mimic more of the original techniques Hollywood productions would have used.


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Eric Santiago
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 8:49:00 pm

You can export Camera data from Max/Maya to After Effects.
Ive done it with Maya not sure how it fares from Max.
Im sure there is a way from C4D.


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Michael Lewy
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 9:09:47 pm

I did a test.
I am not sure how to line it up in cineware.
also not really sure how I can make the glass.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbnGDcLlGDm/?taken-by=mlewy


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Mark Suszko
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 17, 2017 at 9:20:38 pm

For the glass, I'd take a starfield or planet shot, etc. shot from your background, reverse it, drop it's opacity and change it's blending mode, so as to get the highlights of the star reflections glinting translucently. Mask it into place in the opening, parented to the same null as everything else.


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Michael Lewy
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 20, 2017 at 9:01:38 pm

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbpznM5l1pu/?taken-by=mlewy

updated test.
any tips on making it better.


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Mark Suszko
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 20, 2017 at 10:39:59 pm

Looks like you tried my starfield window glass reflection idea:-)

The dark shadow in the top of the window opening is I think hurting the illusion. Shadows like that come from a source like the sun: are you implying the sun is "above" the ship? In the vacuum of space, the Sun, if present, is a point source, not a big, diffuse soft light. If the ship is not in sunlight, the hull in the shot will be in deep shadow, with perhaps only glancing, highly-angled lighting revealing any texture at all, and the light is mostly coming from the window, so it will look a little blown-out in contrast, and seem like back-lighting of the figure, so they too are mostly in shadow or silhouette.

What I'd do in a 3-d composition like this is turn off all the default lighting, then put in one harsh point source to represent the sun, and modify it to portray how far away it might be and from what angle. Next I would light the room or corridor of the ship, playing with where the lights hit the figure layer, and adjusting the relative brightness between inside and outside.

Also the gray back "wall" probably needs some kind of texture map on it. Pipes, panel lines, etc. Doesn't need high detail, but some variation and pattern of "stuff" so it doesn't just look like a gradient. You might construct the "ship from the inside-out, first making the room where the guy stands, furnishing it's walls with texture maps, then lighting, then covering the room and window with the outer hull. With everything parented to the same null, this "diorama" you build will always have correct-looking angles, no matter where you fly the camera.

The lighting on the existing figure doesn't look motivated by practicals: too bright and too flat. Try putting some small point source spotlights inside the cube above the corridor, leaving bands of bright and dark, with one of the light beams washing/fanning down past part of the human figure's body.

You're also experiencing something space movie FX people have faced for years: Empty space is hard to "light": that's why space scenes often throw in a gratuitous planet, or at least some kind of nebula in the background of a shot: it gives a practical source for reflections and bounced light, and a point of visual reference when the camera starts to swing.

I think you're making good, visible progress, though. Keep going, can't wait to see the next improved version.


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Michael Lewy
Re: spaceship window
on Nov 21, 2017 at 1:39:38 pm

this is such great and thoughtful advice.
I will post once I rework, thanks.


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