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AE Forest Explosion needs to be better

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Rob RhodesAE Forest Explosion needs to be better
by on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:28:41 am

I made an explosion in AE. It looks okay. But I need it to be Michael Bay good!

In case you're wondering, the 2 seconds in the beginning is just a place holder for footage to be shot in a few days.

What can I do to make this better? I want to blow minds. I want people to think we actually blew up a forest.

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Dave JohnsonRe: AE Forest Explosion needs to be better
by on Apr 28, 2010 at 2:44:55 pm

My opinion is that the scene looks very good so far ... things I'd take a closer look at to improve it are:

The flames and smoke seem to move in the wrong direction ... the background clouds are moving to the right, which indicates that's the direction the wind is blowing, yet the flames and smoke move to the left ... however, one could also argue that the direction of the source of the explosion is counteracting the wind direction and/or that the wind is moving in the opposite direction in the distance where the clouds are.

The particles flying away from the explosion are very obviously digitally composited and look a little un-natural ... it seems that a large explosion off in the distance wouldn't really bring so many particles so close to the camera lens in clearly visible form so quickly. Also, the particles all look like sparkling embers rather than debris ... perhaps there should be a combination of both ... though still with consideration for the first point.

The camera shake looks un-natural ... it seems the affects on the camera would be more immediate rather than lasting throughout the shot, although that's hard to judge without sound (how many explosions the viewer will hear). It also seems the camera movement would be more of a kick-back followed by some side-to-side and up-and-down wobble that's less extreme and that also quickly tapers off from the moment of the explosion.

I think it's always very hard for anyone to realistically recreate something they've never personally witnessed ... I'm not suggesting you go blow up your least favorite neighbor's house and film it (although that would be more fun), but you probably know someone who has had some real-world war experience and personally witnessed a few large explosions ... perhaps show them your scene and ask what seems real and what doesn't.

If I recall correctly, one of the guys that frequents this forum works for the military (Michael Szalapski) ... if so, even if he hasn't personally witnessed real explosions as large as what you're re-creating, he may have seen or have experience with creating digital simulations of large explosions.

I hope you find my feedback helpful.

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Rob RhodesRe: AE Forest Explosion needs to be better
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:10:17 am

Wow. Lots to take in there. Very helpful indeed. I think I'll flip the clouds. Slow down the particles. And convert some of the embers into some dirt or something.

I do agree with the camera shake. After doing a bit of research (watching youtube videos of explosions) I realize that my camera shake is definitely off. It starts of huge, and drops to zero pretty quickly.

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David JohnsonRe: AE Forest Explosion needs to be better
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 7:29:31 am

I'm glad you found my feedback helpful ... didn't mean to sound overly critical ... the scene looks pretty darn good as-is ... just some things that might help make it better yet.

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