Would like some feedback on this Chopper to make it better before I put someone in it


if you have the time to view this quick clip, just wondering some suggestions on how to make it better and more believable before I put someone in it.  Thanks



  • FilmTech
    FilmTech Posts: 385 Enthusiast

    Well a shadow would help sell the effect also maybe color grade the helicopter to fit its background

  • K, how do I drop the shadow below it @filmtech!!! Couldn't figure out where to go that, thanks

  • sdk7
    sdk7 Posts: 24 Enthusiast
    edited February 2016

    I think the chopper needs to reflect the environment.  the lighting  of the chopper also needs to match the backgound.  Maybe add some blur or motion  blur to the chopper as it is to sharp and a shadow like Film tech said. 

    Turn on  ambient occlusion for the model if is a 3d model.

  • chriguf
    chriguf Posts: 286 Enthusiast
    edited February 2016

    normally the sun shine from sky..

    the heli was on top dark and at bottom light. not naturally ;)

    to make shadow , look at videotutorials "3d lights "

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast
    edited February 2016

    As chriguf says, the first thing to do is match your 3D lighting to the real lighting in the scene. Currently the helicopter is lit from below, which is very peculiar for such a bright day. You need to light it from above.

    Given the brightness of the sky and the ground, you're unlikely for the helicopter to have any fully dark areas. So even once you've lit it from above, add in an ambient light and adjust its intensity so that the helicopter is generally illuminated (note that you'll need to make sure the chopper's material properties has an an ambient lighting colour).

    ALso, the background sky is SO bright that it should be wrapping around the foreground helicopter. Currently the chopper is starkly silhouetted against the background. Add a light wrap effect with the source set to background and play around with that so that the light bleeds around. Check out week 2 of the FutureLearn course we're currently running for info on that: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/vfx-for-filmmakers

    The heat distortion on the lower third of the shot doesn't seem to relate to the chopper itself, and the location doesn't seem hot enough to have a mirage-like heat haze going on.

    Also, the blinking red light seems to be set to a normal blend, when it needs to be probably screen, so that it looks like it's properly illuminating (it probably wouldn't be very visible on such a bright day).

    Hope this helps! Check out these tutorials for general tips on 3D model lighting:

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    edited February 2016

    Everyone else pretty much hit my notes, but remind us which version of Hitfilm you are on? Depending on if you're in Ultimate, 3 Pro or 4 Pro you might have a couple more things to try no one's brought up yet. 

    Alternate ideas. Instead of Simon's suggestion for an Ambient light you can try changing the shadow color of the key light. Sample a shadow area of the video plate. Also, for your key light color, sample one of the brightest areas of sky. Then, instead of the Ambient light add a Directional light under ground level (no shadows) pointing straight up. Sample a bright color from the ground and set intensity to maybe 10-20%. This simulates the light bouncing off the ground. 

    In Hitfilm 4 you could try aligning a plane with your shadow catcher filled with fractal noise (choose colors from the ground), hide it and set it to cast reflections. Then as the heli gets lower it will pick up that color on the bottom. 

    Also take note of Envi6Maps in the first tutorial Simon linked. You can set the environment map layer to the video plate (or a copy moved to an embedded composite shot to blur it). Put your Diffuse and Specular reflection at 5-10% for metals and about 25-50% for glass. 

    Notice how often I said to sample colors from your video layer--picking light and shadow colors from the background does a lot of the blending work for you. 

    Once this is all set, you might want to copy your lights, chopper, its movement points and the camera to an embedded composite shot to add your person. This lets you use 3D unrolled to place your actor, but the embedded comp shot over the BG plate will let you add light wrap and direct color grades to the heli layer

    Btw, since no one's said this yet, you have a great track and nice motion. That's really the hardest part. 

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast

    Oh, the other thing I forgot to mention is to add a very subtle blur to the 3D model. The background footage isn't entirely sharp, which makes the helicopter stand out in all its CG pristineness. Add a softness to the chopper to match the video footage and it'll help a lot.

  • @triem23 hitfilm version 4. All these comments were very helpful, thanks!