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How to recreate the character coming out of the screen effect?

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Xavier Bonet
How to recreate the character coming out of the screen effect?
on Apr 12, 2018 at 12:49:19 pm
Last Edited By Xavier Bonet on Apr 12, 2018 at 12:50:29 pm

I'm working on a character in C4D that, at one point, is supposed to "look out" from the screen, such as one sees in some cinema teasers... i.e. something like this:



As you can see, aside from coming out over the black crop lines, the effect is really sold by the changing in lighting: normally from a good, studio lighting to a darkened, cinema theatre.

The thing is that the "studio lighting", even in the example above, needs at least a main light to come at about a 45ยบ from the front, from the place behind that cropped black edge, so, in a sense, from inside the cinema theatre. So how does one create that separate space in C4D practically? Or does one composit it afterwords in AE, for example?

My light set up is as follows:



I've already tried creating a small room with a square and cutting out of it the crop area; this solves the change of lighting inside the "cinema theatre" area but, as you can imagine, the room itself casts serious shadows on my character "outside", which isn't the wanted effect. Example:



If I give the "room" a compositing tag and disable it from casting shadows I no longer get the room casting shadows on the character "outside" but I also lose the general shadow it should cast on the character when it slightly enters the room area. If I exclude the "room" polygon from the physical sky compositing tag, it no longer receives the light but still casts the shadows, both wanted and unwanted.

So as you can see I find myself between a rock and a hard place, as it seems I can't get everything I want: shadows inside but no shadows outside. The only thing I can think of is changing the lighting, which I'd rather not do, as I can't really see how I can nicely light my character without using lights coming from the front. Then again, even if I change the lighting to recreate this effect doesn't quite do the tricks, as you can see from the following example (aside from denaturalising and de-nice-ifying my original lighting):



As I'm rather new to C4D I'm thinking there might be a very simple fix for this that one the pro's will be able to quickly point out, but I'm inclined to think that a more convoluted compositing situation in AE is what I've got to look forward to... At any rate, I'm open to all recommendations! Thanks in advance!


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Adam Trachtenberg
Re: How to recreate the character coming out of the screen effect?
on Apr 12, 2018 at 4:00:40 pm

Seems to me you need to abandon the infinite light and use point or area lights located inside of the studio. Think of it as if you're setting up stage lighting for a play or TV show.


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to recreate the character coming out of the screen effect?
on Apr 12, 2018 at 10:01:12 pm

First, welcome back Adam, we've missed you!

Xavier, you can also assign lights to specific objects. That sometimes helps when you are trying to isolate certain areas - something you can't do in a studio.
You can also limit how far a light travels with its falloff setting. So the light from the theater side of things doesn't have to penetrate all the way to the background characters (as in the minions set up) and visa versa.

You can also feather the edge of a spot light, so as the character comes forward it passed out of the main circle of light of the spot light that is used for the main "stage" and passes into a new light's feathered circle, one that is assigned only to the foreground character. The darkness on the character may be less about a shadow from the black box and more about lack of light from the main stage lights.

I don't know if you have a reflection setting on your material but keep in mind that it will be affected to by your big black box (which you can choose to include or not in a compositing tag).

I don't know if you are letting GI just handle everything but don't be afraid to turn GI off and then light the scene as Adam suggested. When you get the lights all set up properly and it looks good, turning GI back on and it will add that much more realism (you often have to tone down the lights though). It's handy to get good a lighting without relying on GI because things render faster without it.

Finally, if you are using GI, you can build the environment so that the "black box" is built in to the surrounding but invisible environment map. This will affect the light falling on the scene and the reflections too.
Like this:






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Adam Trachtenberg
Re: How to recreate the character coming out of the screen effect?
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:03:42 pm

Thanks, Steve. Dealing with some baffling health issues, but still kicking. :-)


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