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Simulating light source in 2D animation

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Simulating light source in 2D animation
on Dec 4, 2006 at 4:08:49 pm

Hello. I would like to simulate the light and movement that a video monitor/TV gives off onto a viewer (when a program is on) in a 2D animated scene. What is the best way to achieve this in AE? The shot is a character sitting behind a desk with remote in hand reacting to video playing on an off-screen monitor. Thank you very much.

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Dave LaRonde from the COW
Re: Simulating light source in 2D animation
on Dec 4, 2006 at 5:25:50 pm

The BEST way to do it isn't with AE. The best way is to shoot it -- use a practical effect. Why? You'll get real 3D highlights and shadoes, which you would have to fake in AE. They'll look like the real thing, beacause they ARE the real thing.

I STRONGLY suggest that you obtain a video projector (AKA screen shooter), record your desired video on DVD, play the DVD through the projector, and point the projector at your subject. Fool with the focus on the projector so you don't get those nice, crisp edges.

The process then becomes one of rehearsing with the talent, rather than tearing your hair out in AE in an attempt to get an effect that doesn't look nearly as good as the real thing.

I've used this process very successfully myself.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer

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Jim Kanter
Re: Simulating light source in 2D animation
on Dec 4, 2006 at 9:33:13 pm

Well, since it is an animated sequence, study the interplay of light and shadow on a face then recreate it using colored overlays onto your animated character.

For a feature film I once was asked to add gun muzzle flashes in a night-time sequence. Trick was to figure out how shadows would fall and use transfer modes and colored shapes to simulate it.

To show the killer's face (he was a black silhouette) I built a head in Poser, gave it the right perspective and lit it correctly then traced over it to get the right highlight shapes. Worked like a charm.

Jim Kanter,
Digital Film Institute

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