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Making object appear off in distance

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Alan WagnerMaking object appear off in distance
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 8:57:57 am

I'm working on a movie that ends with a child bicycling triumphantly into the heavens.

Here's the shot I'm having problems with (starts at the 10-second mark):

I realize I should have had him shrink more, but beyond that, how can I make the kid seem like he's really a part of this shot, not just pasted on top of it? I realize the lighting's pretty terrible, we ran out of time with the child actor so our green-screen setup was really slapped together. But if anyone has any suggestions I would super appreciate em

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Making object appear off in distance
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:38:39 am

The end shot - color correction and blur should do it. Use Levels to cut the black and white values a bit (animate as the kid becomes smaller) and add a bluish overall hue (animated as well) using Photo Filter. Also, use a Lens Blur to soften a bit the kid.

I would change the first part as well- instead of having the kid in the same place I would animate him moving from left to right as the camera travels- like he is going a bit faster that the camera- this way you can add motion blur on him and help blend him in.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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John CuevasRe: Making object appear off in distance
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:57:45 am

This guy made it work at around 1:09, you might want to see how that director did it... not sure what he did after this though:

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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Dave LaRondeRe: Making object appear off in distance
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 3:32:12 pm

To help sell the first shot visually, you can:
  • duplicate the background layer
  • trim the duplicated layer's in & out points to the section where it passes behind the kid on the bike
  • animate a mask around the pole
  • Put this layer above the kid on the bike
Now it looks like the kid's passing behind the pole. Very easy to do.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Conrad OlsonRe: Making object appear off in distance
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 5:26:05 pm

Black levels and colour cast, like Ted suggested, are the most important.

There is a haze to things further away from the camera, and due to how different wavelengths of light are absorbed by the atmosphere object in the distance usually have a blue tint to them.

When it comes to the black levels, the darkest shadows in your foreground should be the same level and tint as the darkest shadows at a similar distance in your background. As things get further from the camera the diffusion caused by the atmosphere means that the blacks don't look as dark. You can see this in your plate. The trees nearest the camera have darker shadows, and therefore more contrast, than trees further away. You need to work out where in depth your kid should be and try to match those levels.

Another good trick to quickly make something sit in with a background is to add some light wrap from the background over the foreground. Take the alpha of your forground and blur it. Then take another copy of your alpha and use that to mask the blurred version. This will give you a soft feather inside the shape of the foreground. Then take a copy of the background, blur that a bit, mask it with your feathered alpha and put this over your foreground. Adjust the blur of the first copy of the alpha to control how far this wraps around the foreground and the opacity to control how strong it is. In this case you won't need too much, but even a tiny amount helps.


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