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Magic Lariat from the Pee Wee Herman Show

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Price Johnston
Magic Lariat from the Pee Wee Herman Show
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:21:35 pm

Cowboy Curtis in the Pee Wee Herman Show uses an animated magic lariat that creates shapes. I'd like to create an animated effect like this "on stage" using projections. How would I create something like this today? Can I use After Affects? How would I do this? Does anyone know how they did it on the show?

http://i.imgur.com/5Raca.png
http://i.imgur.com/X2iVu.png

Thanks so much!


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Magic Lariat from the Pee Wee Herman Show
on Jan 9, 2010 at 11:06:57 pm

Not being able to see it in motion makes it rather difficult to tell what's going on. It looks like it could be done with Trapcode's 3d Stroke or with a particle effect. The first image especially looks like they're moving a particle emitter around with 0 velocity on the particles.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Magic Lariat from the Pee Wee Herman Show
on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:00:29 pm

[Price Johnston] "Does anyone know how they did it on the show?"

They did it in post-production AFTER the footage had been shot. That's a pretty old show, so it's tough to say precisely how they did it. Techniques and software have changed a lot since then.

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[Price Johnston] "I'd like to create an animated effect like this "on stage" using projections."

By this is sounds like you're saying, "I want to do this effect during a stage production, and have the effect precisely follow a live actor in 3D space, using projections."

If my paraphrasing is correct, you can't do it.

Try as they might, researchers have not yet perfected the technique of holographic projection, to say nothing of tracking in 3D space to generate a real-time effect. Nor can you probably use techniques like you see in 3D TV -- those tricks require HARDWARE which is in very short supply. Unless your budget for pulling this off is in the high six figures, you have to count it out, too. Besides, Who wants to watch a TV picture of an actor on stage just for a fancy effect when the actor is already right in front of them?

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


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