First stab at Camera Projection & Live Action

Porq
Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

Just a practice project to incorporate ideas from Simon's camera projection tutorials.  I added a couple live action animal shots to this lake scene photo after using camera projection to set up the scene, adding waves, pond ripple, and a happy little cloud.  It's my first post on here... be GENTLE!  (just kidding...  you only learn by getting constructive criticism.  Frankly, I can see numerous problems with it already, but it was a fun way to spend yesterday afternoon.)  I think camera projection has tons of potential.  This is pretty basic, but I'm anxious to push it further in the future.

http://youtu.be/gCKKgIDp2cs

Comments

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,982 Ambassador

    No real need to be gentle here. There's not too much to critique. First off, good job taking Simon's tutorial and adding to it. Best way to improve is to lool at an inspiring tutorial and think "What can I add to this?" 

    Things to look at from my standpoint. I think the Dock should be moved to it's own projection ane a little higher in Y space than the water. Water ripples could be cranked up--especially as your source pic has shallow water and we can see the bottom surface isn't parallaxing differently from the surface water. Finally, camera movement could be refined a bit. I have some tips there, but, for the moment that has to wait for a later post. 

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    Thanks Triem :)   Great suggestions.  The dock actually IS on its own projected plane slightly above the water.  I could try moving it up a little more. perhaps, because I agree... it feels like it's almost sunk into the surface.  When I turned the amplitude of the waves from 2 to 4 I thought it looked less natural and settled back at 2.  I'll redo waves at amplitude 4 or 5 in the next go round and upload it for feedback/opinions.  Maybe there are other tweaks I an do in the effect to keep the undulations from looking blocky and mechanical at higher amplitude. HitFilm feels like one those nested Russian doll sets... there's always more inside a tool the deeper you dig.

    Camera movement is what I'm least happy with.  I'm still really clunky with it.  I've placed a narrow band of diffusion as an animated plane that tracks just below the shore line across the lake to soften the reflection there. I'll need to re-animate it after making camera changes.  I really look forward to your camera movement suggestions.  Thanks so much  for taking the time to provide thoughtful critique.

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,005 Ambassador
    edited February 2015

    @Porq Love the birds in the shot.  Do some ease in and ease out on the camera move and you're pretty much there.

    I've been working on something similar but have run into the whole ripple vs. scale thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=u8qBrAuJSGo

    I can't seem to get the movement slow enough to look like it should.   These settings are the best I could come up with for the Pond Ripple effect.

    Seed     0
    Droplets/sec     6.0
    Size     4.4
    Number of Ripples     5.0
    Viscocity     0.01
    Displacement     0.01
    Speed     0.5  <-- this is as low as this goes
    Lifetime    5.00

    I think I would have a convincing looking effect if I could slow down the Speed.  I keep trying to type in lower values but it defaults to 0.5.  WTF?

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out
    edited February 2015

    Here's the second attempt.  I both raised the dock projected plane and lowered the water plane as far as I could without breaking the image.  I think it looks a little better.  I bumped the wave amplitude up to 5 from 2 and it looked awful, but I adjusted the wave angle and now I think I could go even higher, but left it at 5 for test purposes.  The waves do seem fairly active in the foreground next to the dock at the beginning and end of the shot, but I could probably go further. 

    Which reminds me, there's a great thread entitled "making water" in which Philip and Triem, Axel and others were using caustics to generate waves which began to really start looking like rolling ocean waves.  Sadly, all of the project files and a number of the posts are gone or no longer lead anywhere.  Does anybody have the final version they'd be willing to share for my own experimentation?  There's a scene moving across the ocean headed toward an island I've been wanting to do, but caustics are new to me and a stepping off point would be much appreciated!

    I played with the camera motion and it is slightly better, but still haven't figured out how to incrementally slow down camera motion coming in and out of each move very well.  Practice makes perfect.  I also forgot I'd turned off light wrap on the tree and the mountain planes, so I turned those back on for this attempt. 

    http://youtu.be/Mtf6pbj4Ll8

     

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    @Stargazer54 - Thanks!  Yeah, the camera movements still elude me on here.  I'll keep at it.  As to the ripple scale/speed issues,  HitFilm definitely isn't a fluid generator by any stretch.  I had to use pond ripples in addition to waves on the same layer to get close to the look I wanted, but my scene is different than yours because of the shallow water depth and transparency of the lake.  Personally though, I just haven't been thrilled with that oversized ripple look overall.  There's something about the symmetry that feels unnatural in the shots I've seen.  I'm still searching for other possibilities, and may play with multiple waves effect instances on the same plane at different angles to see what happens.  Let me know if you find something miraculous in your own experimentation.

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    edited February 2015

    One issue in reflective shots with camera projection is that the reflection stretches as you move the camera. What should actually happen is that the reflection stays the same, with only the surface texture being stretched. The complication, of course, is that the source image has the reflection 'baked in' and can't be easily separated from the water itself.

    Really, you probably need to remove the water entirely, create a CG reflection based on the rest of the image, and then use caustics/ripples/etc to create an entirely new water surface. The reflection would then behave more realistically.

    I had the same issue in the shot from The Splinter Cell with the way the ceiling lights reflect off the shiny floor. I didn't do anything to fix it in that case, as the shot is really quick and most people won't notice.

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    @SimonKJones - That makes a lot of sense.  I'm still just "getting my toes wet" with Hitfilm but that sounds like a technique worth experimenting with.   I realize that all 3D compositors largely function by tricking the eye into recognizing familiar real life patterns.  The better the trick, the better the optical buy-in.  Hooray!  Something to play with next weekend. 

  • Robin
    Robin Website User Posts: 1,671 Enthusiast
    edited February 2015

    The biggest issue I have with the shot is the reflections of the bushes/trees at the far end of the lake - due to the projector, the are stretching, which they wouldn't in a real shot. Don't have a good solution for that right now though besides using photoshop to paint them out, and then adding them back in in HitFilm...

    For the pond ripple effect, I had good luck by cranking up the values so I had lots of large ripples, that ended up covering the entire plane and generating a general wavey look, without the individual drops being distinguishable anymore (kind of like what simon did in the latest tutorial). This looks quite realistc. I noticed the speed limitation, too, one way to get around that would be by slowing it down via the speed effect applied after the pond ripples.

    Also, applying another pond ripples effect gave some decent result, though you have to be careful not to overdo it.

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    @Robin - You and Simon are definitely right about the elastic reflections.  I've started work on painting those out of my original image in a graphics editor, but alas... the wee hours of my morning have once again become time to head into my real job.  I'm definitely going to experiment with those suggestions of yours this weekend. Lots of good ideas :)

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,982 Ambassador

    For reference, here's the "Making Water" thread mentioned above. It's a little fragmentary, as at least one participant in the thread is no longer on this forum, and his posts no longer exist. 

    I think at least one  of my linked projects is still in Dropbox. If not, I will try to remember to upload one next time I am on that machine. 

    hitfilm.com/forum/discussion/5064/making-water/p1

    In short, Caustics is a 2D effect that fakes 3D positioning relative to a point. The top surface is shaped by animation of fractal noise in an embedded composite shot to make a height map. A surface texture can be set using a colored plane or media image. A bottom texture can be added (another source layer) and moved to make the water deeper.  A source image can be set as an environment map for reflection. 

    And you get something like this:

    So you can see why I think caustics would work with projection... As the YouTube link shows a simple 2D picture, caustics, a lens flare and a stock footage overlay of birds. 

  • ZedFable
    ZedFable Website User Posts: 136

    Good stuff-I still haven't experimented with projection yet but the shots you and some of the other users have been able to make with it is really impressive.

    If you want a break from painting out the reflections and haven't got to the camera yet, I agree that smoothing it out should make a big difference. To do this, just find the keyframes you added in the compositor and then right click > interpolation > smooth in/smooth out, depending on where you are in the animation). You might want to try the other types of interpolation as well just to get a feel for them- they are quite handy. 

    Also, if you are curious here is the relevant bit of the manual on key-framing. The interpolation bit is at the very bottom. 

    And hey, welcome to the forums! Great first post- I think you're going to like it here :)

     

     

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2015

    So, I've created a soundscape including lapping waves, chirps, insects, flapping bird wings, and even geese honking overhead along with music and narration in my one-take mountain man accent (I should redo it, but it's only a goof so it'll just have to do!)  I'm frustrated that the wooden dock in the still 2D original photo at the beginning has great detail, but the projected dock plane in the video looks lower resolution (the original photo was around 3k to 4 k I think) and the gaps between the boars look extremely aliased. Is that a limitation of camera projection in HF3, or have I missed a setting along the way?

    @ZedFable - Thanks so much for the interpolation pointer.  That's JUST what I was looking for.  I know I've seen that in a tutorial somewhere before, but it was a long-forgotten memory.  Thanks so much... it makes the movement much more usable.  I probably need to pull all the camera actions out and redo them from scratch... but I think it looks MUCH better now.

    @Triem23 - I've not had any luck with the dropbox links for your caustics water project discussion... so if you get a chance to repost one when you get on that machine I'd be very grateful!

    @SimonKJones and @Robin - I am playing with a version of the water where I've photoshopped out the reflections in the water for that plane, but I haven't wrapped my head around how to create  working reflection layer yet. It always seems to come out blank. I'm obviously doing something wrong there, so for this export I just left my original "baked in" reflection in order to get advice about the dock while I continue to fumble around with creating a functional reflection layer for the next go round ;)

    http://youtu.be/58E4yPKfJc8

     

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,982 Ambassador
    edited March 2015

    Sorry @Porq the caustics examples I were looking for ended up in the wrong folder on the wrong drive and it took me awhile to track down the one I wanted. (It's the project file for Triem Test 27, Youtube link above)

    So here's a dropbox link to one of my caustics experiments. I've added a few notes in a text layer in a composite shot in this project--just enough to let you know what the controls are supposed to do. Rip this apart, study it and you should be able to create your own caustics effects in no time. Use a plane with a color sampled from your source photo for the Surface Texture and find a photo of some rocks and sand (looking straight down at it) for a Bottom Surface texture and cut up/invert and tweak your source picture for the Environment Map texture adn it should fix the stretch issues. And, you can use the same plane that's already your water screen as your caustics surface! Just turn off projector and add caustics.... Or... Try adding caustics AFTER your projector! That might let you apply the rippled surface from a height map to your projected image! It will still stretch incorrectly, but the surface action might mask it enough where you don't need to get into the environment map setting of the caustics effect? I don't know. I just had that idea.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2fo2ltwttkk0fby/Caustics Example Annotated.zip?dl=0

    One thing in the project that I didn't get too much into in it's notes: With caustics you're using fractal noise to create a height map for the water. There's a second shot of radio waves that's in Hard Light blending mode over the fractal noise. In this example it's not really doing much, but... Caustics is taking a black-white source image and using it as a height map for the water ripples. By creating your fractal noise with medium greys you leave some headroom for waves and ripples. Overlaying other graphics where you want waves or ripples can add more motion to your surface. There are limits to how far you can push it, but it can make a difference.

    In the example video below the fractal noise colors were set to something like 50% and 55% grey. Radio waves were overlaid over the source fractal noise to create the ripples coming off the buoy (with the brightness of the radio waves adjusted to something like the 45-60% range). It actually works pretty **** well. In the second of the three segments pond ripples were overlayed over the source noise (again, crushed to a narrow range of mid grey) which is creating all the little ripples for the raindrops, and, again, it actually works really well. In the third segment radio waves are overlaid on the source fractal noise to create larger waves--these radio waves were allowed to go from 05-95%. Well--it doesn't work so well, and it shows that you can only push caustics so far if you're trying for some kind of wave action. But, if one was trying to, say, have the letters of a logo partially submerged in the water, correct animation with radio waves or some other method could generate the ripples and interaction of the water bouncing off the letters. Gentle wave action, rain ripples, and maybe even the wake of a boat can all be done inside Hitfilm with the Caustics effect. Full on splashes and fluid dynamic are beyond the scope of this tool, but might be somewhat doable by layering in stock footage splashes and some particle sim work.

  • Porq
    Porq Website User Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    @Triem23 - Thank you so much!  I downloaded your zip right away and can't wait to get a look under the hood Saturday.  I really appreciate the in-depth explanation and know it will help me make sense of things once I'm in the project. I just love this video of yours, when I first saw it months ago it gave me my first proof that Hitfilm could generate some convincing "out at sea" footage for a future project and inspired me to upgrade and start playing the moment they added camera projection.  After the loss of Spock, I kind of needed a pick me up this week and you sir, just made my day.

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