This is the final for this project. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out in the amount I finished this in. For a personal critique, I would say these are the issues:
For now, I want to take a break for this. This was a great film study and shadow focused lighting study. I have other exciting projects lined up. Other new lighting scenarios I want to practice doing.
After finding the film location, I wonder if I could export 3D map data from Google Maps. Sort of like getting terrain height information to use in Houdini Height fields I use terrain.party). Turns out, there is not a way to export that data. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials of people taking screen shots and bringing those images into a photo aligning software. Which is sort of what I did!
Step 1 : Google Maps
The best way to get the cleanest data from Google is by using the desktop app, Google Maps Pro. When it's first opened, there is a lot on screen. These can all easily be turned off and the app put into full screen. The only that will mess up the data is the top bar and the Google Earth logo.
Step 2: Taking Screenshots
I took about 117 shots while moving the camera around.
Step 3: Photoshop
I opened up one of the images in Photoshop and created an Action. I recorded my edits. For this action, I only cropped out the Google Earth logo.
Step 4: Autodesk ReCap
Autodesk ReCap has an image limit of 100. I took out images that looked very similar.
Step 5: Getting the Mesh
When I've use ReCap in the past, I've always gotten back distorted mesh with holes. So when doing this scan, I had very low expectations. I when I final got the model back, I was blown away! This can capture so much detail! I was ready to use it right away.
Step 6: Refine the Mesh
Refining the mesh is simply removing parts that are unseen. For this particular project, I only need the buildings for scale. So this step wasn't
Step 7: Scale Tests
I compared the scale of the buildings with images from Google Street View. This was a bit challenging, because in the scene, everything looks so huge! One reason I this seems off is could be from the pivot of I'm scaling the buildings. Another could be that they are huge in person. But the ultimate test in checking with the camera!
This character was created using Adobe Fuse. I used mainly the default character settings. I knew going in that there was a trench coat. So I used that for the character and changed the color of coat. I tried keeping the rest of his outfit in grey-scale.
From Adobe Fuse, I sent the character to Mixamo. The walk cycle that I liked the most is called "Standard Walk." On the site, I changed the speed of the animation, arm spacing. I exported the character out of Mixamo as FBX at 24 fps. I decided to keep the animation in place so I can properly control the direction as need be. I can also adjust the stretch or shrink the keys of animation if I needed to without adjusting the direction animation.
Adjusted Walk Cycle
I'll admit that I haven't used MotionBuilder in about a year. But I was about to relearn everything that I needed to very quickly. Previously, I used MotionBuilder with Motion Capture data from Vicon Blade. I'm mentioning this because data that gets imported is very different. Mixamo's animation in MotionBuilder has keyframes on every skeletal part of the rig. With MoCap data, I didn't get any of this. So when I adjust the rotation of joint, I was confused why it would snap back in place on the next frame. The simple fix was to delete the keys and, luckily, the joints still kept the animation. From there, I fixed the arm and made the hand into an fist.
Side note: The image stretching is a glitch with the Weebly server. I will try again later to reupload the gifs.
Does this Still Count?
For my History of Cinema final, we have to make a project on Cinematic Influences. The project is pretty open. Project examples maybe, but not limited too: audio commentary for a scene, reconstructions of a notable costume or prop, create a diorama, storyboard a scene, or make a movie poster. We were assigned this project 6 weeks ago, and I couldn't find much inspiration for anything. One idea I did have was to make a 20's style movie poster for my senior film Doll Story. The problem behind that was finding the motivation to draw. So I put off the project until now!
When I was searching for images to match, I was reminded of a project I did in Digital Lighting and Rendering. For the final in that class, we took a shot from a film known for it's cinematography and fully recreated the shot in 3d with a focus in matching the lighting. I began to think about redoing that project and while also using it my History of Cinema class. This is where I find the grey area between personal and class project. Since, I have full reign of what I could have done, I'm deeming this as a personal project.
The more focused search was on! I wanted a scene with a nice camera angle, wide angle shot without any characters, nice lighting! I got some of that. In early cinema, more specifically Early Hollywood, the characters were the focus. They would be center frames and take up a 70% - 80% of the frame. You could say that establishing shots had not been established yet. Eventually, I found several clips of Orson Welles's The Third Man. I remember seeing the film for the first time for a SCAD Cinema Circle showing and remembered several cool scenes. The one in particular, is the one I ended up choosing.
A Do-able Scene
This is a nearly perfect scene! The lighting is casting this great big ominous shadow on the building. As the man turns the corner, it is revealed that he is holding a bunch of balloons. He keeps walking and his shadow is bounced over a building across the street. I think the most challenging part are the statues in the foreground.
Since everything is grey-scale, I do have the option of texturing in grey-scale or texturing in color then converting to grey-scale. I also think that the textures on the buildings and windows are pretty simple. The ground is very wet. I think I can get away with a mask on the specular.
Based off of the clip, I see about 4 lights, and a sky. 1 light pointed at the main building, 1 light pointing on the side building, 1 light on the statues, and 1 light on the interior walkway of the main building.
The character might be the simplest part of the whole scene. I can create a similar character with Adobe Fuse. Then, bring the character into Mixamo and apply a walk cycle. In MotionBuilder, I can repose one of the arms and have that instantly baked into the animation. Finally, I can model some balloons and parent them to the character. Typing it outs complex, but I have a good idea on how to do this.
For the getting the statue models, I will have to find similar models online. I might be able to find photogrammetry scans.
I want to do a little research. The scene is very dark, so if I can find where the scene was shot, this will greatly help with layout and finding focal length.