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District 9-like shot?

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David DelDistrict 9-like shot?
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 9:25:47 pm

I was trying to recreate the atmospheric fog/air density that you see when showing the mothership from farther away. Any ideas how to achieve this? It is not necessarily the DOF I am after, but rather the fading of the image to make it look like there is atmosphere or smog in the air. Any ideas?
Here is somewhat of an example

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David DelRe: District 9-like shot?
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 9:28:27 pm

Here is an example that looks somewhat like what I am trying to achieve:

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adam taylorRe: District 9-like shot?
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 11:49:11 am

is surprising how obvious some things are once you actually look and think about what you are trying to replicate.

Its good you have picked some reference - as you no longer need to rely on imagination.

So - look and think - what do you see?

its not very well defined - the detail is lost in the haze you already mentioned.
The sun is low and behind the ship, so you are getting some sun coloured hazing around the edges of the ship (often refered to as lightwrap).

The ship has also a different colour caste to the ground - as if the underside of the ship is still getting some light from the sun, whereas the ground is in full shadow.

So - knowing what we just observed, its easy to work out some basic steps... and these are by no means the only way - just suggestions to get you thinking along the right tracks

1 - Contrast is very very low on the ship. So assuming your ship is on a separate layer, i'd apply an effect that controls contrast. Either Brightness&Contrast, or Curves, or even Levels.

Carefully adjust these to reduce the contrast.

2 - add haze - which is really just light hitting particles of dust and water in the atmosphere. A glow effect is probably going to do what you need. pick a glow colour that matches your scenes lighting, then adjust the various settings to make the glow very soft and barely visible. This glow will also help add to the overall soft focus feel of the details

3- try to force the feeling of distance by having a foreground detail (such as the actor) in sharp contrast. In your sample - the guy is almost a silhouette but with enough light on his face to see just a hint of detail. Its also a much darker silhouette than that of the distant ship.

You may also notice how the colour balance is split horizontally. The sky has a warm pink hue, whereas the shadowed ground has a cold blue/green hue. The transition between the two is softened by having a lens flare create a soft warm halo that spills over onto the land in the area just below the sun. Its just enough to tint some of the land with the sun colour. This use of light to tie the sun to both the ship and the land creates the impression that the image as a whole was caught in-camera.

good luck with your own attempts.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

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