Monday, 9 May 2011

Work Experience - Begin Week Three

I've got something to post on work experience!
Before that, lets recap. I've done two weeks official work experience, plus whatever was done in the holidays. So far I've worked on two projects, however the first one I haven't blogged yet as I'm waiting for the go-ahead, so the second project is what I'm posting now.

So last Friday was the day of one of the events that I was making visuals for.
In this case it was a posh party with the theme of 1920s - 1930s New York Jazz / Cotton Club.

A blank J shaped wall in this venue was to have visuals projected onto it.

No music was involved in the making of the visuals as it was meant to be a kind of lighting and decor. Nothing too distracting. ie, no timing to fast beats etc.

So to answer the brief I created this visual, a minute in length, and loops.

Jazz City 01 from A Flock of Pixels on Vimeo.

The whole thing was done without Maya or any kind of 3D effects. A mixture of edited photos and other images were used within After Effects to create the shadows / silhouettes that cast over the cityscape at night. For those that look closely, you might find a few duplicate buildings, but knowing that it was going to be spread across three walls and only looked at every so often, I think I was able to get away with it!

Making of:

Before I started this I did some visual research on the themes.

This was a mock-up I did in Photoshop before I went ahead with the final video.

I did start constructing this in Maya, but came across a rather large problem with both the Maya Software and Mental Ray Renderer in Maya, and that is that they can't render shadows (depth map or raytraced) cast by flat planes correctly. Weird!
Basically I created a wall, then positioned a small card with the silhouette cut out just in front (exactly parallel), then created a spot light and aimed it from one side. I expected it to cast a distorted silhouette shadow, but alas, the shadow was undistorted although appearing larger. Thinking, "is this how the real world reacts?", I did a test with a real torch and a card and the shadow was indeed distorted on the wall (a bit pedantic but I had to make sure!). So there we have it. I was amazed that I couldn't find anything on this on the internet. Whether other 3D software or different renderer's have this same technical inaccuracy is another question entirely.)

At this point I decided to do the whole thing in After Effects, using lots of edited images.

Lastly, here is a video of the video projection at the event.

A Flock of Pixels


  1. Oh, you used the same poster I did :-D. Like the idea you came up with though :)

  2. Lol. I thought your saxophone players looked similar! :-D

  3. Looking really effective Ethan - I bet it's a good feeling to see you work actually out there in the real world! :)