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Make my intro more realistic

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James Harding
Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 2:35:27 pm

Hi guys and gals,

I am creating a cgi intro for a film that I have made, which shows a lobby of a theatre, and on the walls are some posters that are important to take notice of. I am not great with after effects, so whilst I am happy with the design, it still looks unrealistic. Particularly the posters which look like they are part of the wallpaper

Can anyone give me some advice on how to make it look more realistic, or what I could change to do so?

Thanks!!







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Walter Soyka
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 3:08:10 pm

Framing the posters may help separate them from the wall, and lighting them gallery-style will help guide the audience's attention.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 3:30:41 pm

Walter is correct - I think that framing will help. Also, as you're designing this, think about the way a "real" lobby would be set up. Needless to say, if the posters are to be featured on the wall, there would either be art gallery type lights above each one, or downlights from the ceiling, putting cones of light down onto the posters. To make it look real, you have to think it through, maybe even look at some real theater lobbies by searching for images, to see what they look like. They are usually fairly bright, with task lighting for leading people around to where they're supposed to go - bright pools by the entrance, etc. Also bear in mind that since you have the shadows being thrown on the wall, the lighting/shadows on the posters should either match, or be interrupted by other lighting.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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James Harding
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 5:08:38 pm

Thank you both for your response, lighting the posters individually is something I have tried, however I can never get the reflections right, it looks like a matte surface when in reality it should be partially glossy. Equally the black frames I would have refuse to reflect the light at all. Any tips on how to get materials to operate in after effects, I am using the material options controls but they are not giving me a very realistic effect

thanks


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Walter Soyka
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 7:31:08 pm

[James Harding] "Thank you both for your response, lighting the posters individually is something I have tried, however I can never get the reflections right, it looks like a matte surface when in reality it should be partially glossy. Equally the black frames I would have refuse to reflect the light at all. Any tips on how to get materials to operate in after effects, I am using the material options controls but they are not giving me a very realistic effect"

If you are looking for reflections and you are using Ae CS6 or Ae CC, you might consider switching your comp over to the new ray-tracing renderer. Render times will be significantly longer than the Classic 3D mode you may be using now, so buckle up...

You could fake reflections with Element 3D and an environment map.

Classic 3D lighting is not exactly photoreal, but if you want to stick with classic 3D, see this recent thread on adjusting material options to get specular highlights on black objects [link]. Adjusting the metal and specularity properties may get you the glints you're looking for on the posters, too. If not, you can fake it with a couple additional layers, blend modes, and masking.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeff Kay
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 8:08:49 pm

Like the previous two posters have said, individual framing and lighting of the posters will help. Ultimately they need something to separate them more from the wall.

A few other things to consider depending on how detailed you want to get. The wall itself is very consistent, while a wall in a lobby would have variation from wear and tear: inconsistencies in building, lighting fading parts of the wall, old posters having worn spots, repaired sections, not completely flat, etc. If the wall itself wasn't just a revolving background then it and the posters should become more distinct from each other.

There was some jumpiness that I'm fairly certain was Youtube, but as the intro has a lot of vertical lines being panned in a progressive environment(well I suppose technically its a truck), it has that standard problem. Not sure exactly how to approach it, but my first thought is to try motion blur.

I'd also consider having the camera's tilt/pan/pedistal have a little more variance in it. Certainly nothing very noticeable, but since it is an AE construction, the truck is perfect while any shot done in the real world will not be. I'm not saying you should try to reproduce a handheld or steadicam feel, but just a slight change can make it feel more organic.

Also as Joseph said about real lobbies/galleries, lighting effects should interrupt others. I can't quite place it here, but there does seem to be something a little off about the shadows on the wall.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 9:54:30 pm

Yes, Jeff. That's what I was getting at in my first post - the fact that there are shadows of people being cast on the wall implies a soft light source low and behind the "camera". I know that this is stylized, but I think that is part of what makes the scene look unrealistic - it is unrealistic, since you'd never see shadows like that in a theater lobby. So I think James has to decide whether to go for full reality, or stretched reality (real highlights on the frames, slight gloss on the posters, etc.), or fully imaginary, in which things can be hyper-real, or unreal. There's nothing wrong with any of them - it's an artistic direction.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jeff Kay
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 2, 2013 at 10:16:39 pm

You did better than I could explain it (lighting is something I have a more trial-and-error approach to). I agree that he needs to make the decision if he wants full reality or some other artistic stylization. Right now as a whole the project is not at a good place between full-realistic and otherwise. A decision either way will certainly see improvement.


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James Harding
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 3, 2013 at 12:57:35 am

Wow, thank you all for your very comprehensive response, there's clearly a consensus in my lack of lighting direction which I would fully agree with. The film is about a psychic who believes he can talk to those from beyond the dead, so the lighting for the film is generally a stretched reality, it has had a heavy grade that I did by hand so everything is quite well crafted. Which is why this is very annoying for me, I know what I want but not nearly the technical ability to make it happen.

Thanks Walter for the link, I will make sure to check it out tomorrow and try it out if I can.

Jeff I agree there is something clinical with the 'truck' (is that an american term, I call it a track in the UK??) however when trying to add some organic movement, the director didn't like it, and that jumpiness is only present in the youtube version.

Joseph you are right with the unrealism of the shadows, the film as discussed is non-realistic so the shadows feel at home being so present in my mind, though perhaps that doesn't translate when watching it from an outsiders pov. I think that makes it easier to craft light in the scene, however the key issue is my inability to make lights look anything how they would if I actually lit the scene outside of AE.

Cheers again for all your help, I will take another bash at it and see what happens!


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Jeff Kay
Re: Make my intro more realistic
on Jul 3, 2013 at 6:02:39 pm

I'm not sure how much movement you put when you tried to make it organic. I'd try to put in just enough that I can notice it, but not any other viewer; it sounds silly, but its something they do notice, they just aren't aware they notice. Only a few pixels worth of movement, nothing sudden. I'd try a wiggle that has very low movement with long frequency between movements, there is only so much you can do if the director doesn't like it and it might not be worth investing any more time.


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