Monday, 6 August 2012

One Day Early....

Due to an issue brought about by record levels of rainfall in the Philippines, I am making the decision to launch REVERSION many hours ahead of its planned launching time.

Around two other team members can launch the film actually even if something were to happen to me.  But I wanted to be able to do it regardless of what happens where I live.

Throughout this experience my team has not been short of supporting me and finally patting me on the back when it was all finished.

Today I want to pay tribute to them.  My team.  My guys.  Today we realize a small dream.

May we achieve many more in the future.

And also to you, our viewers, audiences, fans, even the inevitable haters.  You are the reason people make motion pictures.  Long may you continue to watch them.  Long may you talk about them and long may you inspire others to make them.

Giancarlo C. Ng

REVERSION Feature: The Render Guide

For our last VFX document we will be taking a look at a set of Blender features and scene-building methodologies which I think a lot of people take forgranted.  Or if you are like we were before 2010, too intimidated to really look into.

This is the document covering the topic of scene layering and the use of Blender's render layer management system to manage render times separately per element through the use of built-in masks.  There was a time we considered emulating how some early CG films were done with separate specular, diffuse, and shadow passes.  But as testing progressed, it didn't seem to make sense on this current production to do that.  However, what did make a lot of sense strategically was to render in layers that allowed us to make changes very late in the process without affecting parts of scenes that didn't need changing.

This meant that re-renders and detail-fixes were highly managed.  But this approach was also important in ensuring each layer (and by that logic, each effect) could be rendered in its own time, manipulated, enhanced and associated nodes and calculations could be done before all layers were merged per shot for best results.

This Layered Images approach, while it sounds simple enough, is actually integral to many of the Visual Effects on-screen in REVERSION.  Early on, there is a pretty convincing "mirror reflection" effect that was attained by using layers cleverly inverted and placed within other surfaces, preventing us from having to use time consuming Ray Mirror calculations.

Here is the final VFX Document: "The Render Guide"

Friday, 3 August 2012

REVERSION Feature: Principles of Set Lighting

Today, we will be releasing the second VFX document "Principles of Set Lighting".
For me, though, the alternate title could very well be: "Principles of Scene Coloring".

For REVERSION, we wanted the images to appear "serious" but we knew we didn't want them to be photo-real.  This is partially by choice, but also partially due to the fact that we knew our limited resources wouldn't allow us to attain full photo-realism.

To that end, we took our inspiration more from how light and shadow is treated in traditional animation where they are literally "just colors" and how Stage plays use colored lamps to create atmosphere in spite of the limitations of sets on a stage.  We took note of these and then leveraged two strengths of using CG animation: 1) limitless scale for detail 2) limitless color control.

We called this approach: "Starting with the Art instead of Reality".

The document will show you research and implementation to do this type of lighting.  I do not think every film can use this technique.  But it was definitely a good technique for REVERSION.  It also reduced our reliance on time-consuming features like Ray-Tracing.

What is not mentioned I think in this document is that we also relied on a lot of "Color Scripts".  Painted images that help baseline the look of each scene.  This allows the Art to have precedence over Reality.

Here is the second VFX document: "Principles of Set Lighting"

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

REVERSION Feature: Anatomy of An Explosion

As promised, here is the first of three documents authored by Mitchell Sahl, one of REVERSION's Visual Effects Technical Directors.  The document is entitled "Anatomy of an Explosion" and details some of the research we did in bringing to life  this staple of the action VFX picture - the fiery explosion.

In this document, Mitch talks in detail about our research method, and in the formulation of the effect which follows within the document, you will see the approach our team took to realizing the research in "animated form" (as opposed to super-real form which is not possible given our resources).

The document also shows the "Re-Purposing of basic Blender Features" that allowed us to create this effect.  This philosophy became our standard in formulating VFX Solutions throughout the picture.