Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Compositing | Matte painting Reel 2011

I have my new reel and it comprises mostly of feature work I did this year in Makuta VFX, so many thanks to guys & girls there for all the support and help.

Here are couple of screen shots and a detailed breakdown can be downloaded  from here. Hope you enjoyed the new reel and I would really like to hear all your comments. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Android apps for VFX folks

Well, I got myself a new Android phone couple of weeks back and I was hovering over the net to find any good apps which will help me on location while shoots or in front of workstation and here are few interesting ones I came across. 

Kodak Cinema
This one comes with a nifty film calculator which calculates how much amount of film is need for given time and film format. The depth of field calculator which does exactly what it says and awesome Film/Video Glossary which gives you instant offline access to definition of all the industry standard terminologies.

I feel this is must have app for anyone in film/video industry as the glossary feature invaluable at any time. Also it features online help from Kodak support personal and their online resources. 
CamCalc is another free goody I came across, apart from Depth of Field, Focal Length Equivalents, Flash Calculation and other cinematography calculators I found Field of View and Miniature Calculator extremely useful for VFX folks as FOV calculator can be used while matching moving camera or aligning a camera in 3D scene. And Miniature Calculator will always comes in handy during on set VFX supervision to determine frame rates, distances and speed for a given scale.

The below video says it all
It would be very useful on  location shoots for taking quick notes regarding measurements of props or set itself.

As the name suggests this is multi-function app  with the following features, Ruler, Protractor, Flashlight, Compass, Gradienter, Wall picture, Vertical andTelemeasurement.

I think among the above features, Ruler, Vertical and Telemeasurement can be used in set. Vertical can be easily used to check whether  items are vertical and showing the angle of deviation through help the phone camera. I am haven't personally used Telemesuremnt but according to the app decscription it uses simple 3 steps to  measure the distance around any object and its height with help phone camera. This again can be used while on location but I doubt how accurate this could be but still time saver for those approx measurements.

Alarm Clock Plus
Last but not the least, this is the best alarm clock for Android out there so never be late for early morning call time for shoots ;)

PS: I think there could be still  lot of good film/vfx centric apps out there which  I may haven't discovered yet so I will try to update this post if I find any or if you know any app please do drop a comment here.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Update July 2011

I haven't updated this blog for past couple of months mainly due my to busy schedule at work. Been mostly busy working on Badirinath which was released early June, I mostly worked on matte painting and compositing for this show. Here are some of screenshots of work I did for the movie, hope you like it :)

Valley Mate Painting, actually painting 12K resolution for mid shots to tight close up shots.
Final Comp was projected on to a hemisphere in Nuke with match moved live action camera.
Waterfalls Matte Painting, it started as concept matte painting and later developed into full 2D vertical pan shot with added CG water and fog in Nuke.
Original film plate stitch up for 2D PAN.

Final Comp

Original film plate
Final comp
Original film plate
Projection setup in Nuke

It was a great learning experience working for this movie and I think I made some vast improvements in my work though it is still far from good standards. Thanks to all the guys and gals at Makuta VFX for all the help and support.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Matte Painting with Superwhites in Photoshop

Last month I had a very good discussion with one of members at regarding the topic of painting with HDR images in Photoshop. Since there ain't much information available on this issue in the Internet I thought its worth a post here.

Even though you may not come across this issue everyday but still always good to know your way out if faced with in any situation. Let's say you have a close up of a snowcapped mountain with a strong glow (super whites) on the snow and it is series of shot you got from the production in 10 bit log format. Since there are multiple matte painters or vendors working on these series of shots, it would a make lot of sense if all super whites goes the same way as it came from the film scanner to the DI department in all of these shots without causing any mismatch.

At the moment most of the Photoshop's filters nor tools doesn't support 32 bit depth so that leaves us with best option of working in 16 bit to keep the extra information in your highlights (superwhites). You could also paint in Log but that is a pretty hack by itself and also blending modes or transparencies may give you weird results since all of them are designed to work in linear or gamma corrected images.

Following are two ways you could approach this issue.

i) Painting on Gamma remapped 16 bit Linear plates. (Thanks to Jbills for this one)

I find this method very logical and doable once you get the hack of it. You start with finding the brightest pixel in your film scan / image in your comp app (Nuke, Curvetool node) and then remap (Nuke, Grade node) your white point to the same. This will obviously darken your image and you save out 16 bit file out of your comp app for matte painting.

In Photoshop you apply an adjustment layer with the inverse of the darkening you have done in your comp app. Which can be calculated by division of 1 by your brightest pixel value and later inversing resulted value. You can now apply adjustment layer with this value to expand tonal range back to normal for matte painting. Once matte painting is finished the file is exported back to comp app in 16 bit image where you now apply directly apply the vale you got while diving 1 by your super white pixel value. Thus saving your super whites!

To quote jbills from the thread

So we simply compress the above and below float information and remap to 0-1. then, in photoshop (16 bit) I'll add an adjustment layer and remap the white point to .7, for example, to expand these values back out. Matte painter works with that turned on but exports without it and we invert the compression in nuke. pretty simple.

At first it may not sound as easy it does especially if you are new to these terminologies so I strongly suggest you to go through this thread again and try this workflow by yourself to have a clear understanding.

ii) Painting on 32 bit log plates.

Painting on the Log space is most accurate solution as far keeping all the information same as the input but as I mentioned before most of Photoshop tools and operations are not geared towards Log space. Also do keep in mind when you open a .dpx file Photoshop it opens it up as 16 bit gamma corrected file, that is by defualt sRGB. In order to take get full range of your Log space you must convert it to 32 bit Linear but before doing so you must change your color profile from sRGB to a custom Linear profile. Otherwise Photoshop will assume the file is already gamma corrected and will linearize the image causing a shift in the pixels values while bit depth conversation.

Do check out this great blog post by Brendan from fnord software on this issue. Also keep in mind that you can always turn on your proof setup to monitor Gamma in Photoshop to view your file in display Gamma of your monitor irrespective gamma correction of your file (more like viewer Gamma in Nuke). In this case our washed out Log file will look more like sRGB for viewing sake while working on the matte painting.

Advantage of working in 16 bit Linear space.

Adopting a 16 bit Linear workflow may not really save all of those super whites information but still has notable advantages over default 8 bit sRGB workflow. The 16 bit offers more color precision, accurate composite and blending operations to name a few. There are plenty more tonal range available in Linear mode and it is very evident if you compare the colors in color picker box in both modes. From the below image it is obvious that how much more tints and shades we are getting in the Linear mode and there is will be noticeable change when you work with Levels or Curves considering the more range you have.

One thing to keep in mind though, while exporting to your 16 bit Linear matte painting you want to make sure that your comp app recognize it as Linear not as sRGB and do not add any additional gamma correction to linearize image since it is already in linear color space.

For this workflow you may still need to use the proof setup option available in view menu to view your linear images as gamma corrected ones. Also here is a link to download fnord Cineon Converter for Photoshop which does standard Kodak Log2Lin conversation.

Download Cineon Converter (WIN, MAC)

All this will be a thing of past only if Adobe build a robust workflow based on 32 bit Linear float that is similar to Nuke. Until then it will be always a hack to manage color especially with the film plates or HDR images in Photoshop.

Here are couple of cool links for further reading and you could find a lot more if you Google for one of the most mysterious word in CG industry!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My favorite top 10 TED talks

I been watching TED talks ever since it went public on internet. Since I subscribe to their monthly newsletter I haven't really missed any of the popular talks. TED talks have been really inspiring and had a great influence on my life. Though I have constantly posted some of the talks in my blog but there are few talks which always come to my mind when I think about TED and following are some of those talks I would rate it as my favorites.

and this one is my most favorite!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson's talk never ceases to amaze me and I think he is absolutely right! We need a paradigm shift in our education system to change the way we think, work and live. Until then most of us will be stuck within our iterating factory line systems and unaesthetic minds.