Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Head Substituition Test

After much planning and experimentation, we realized that we don't really need to use a green-screen for the head removal. As the motion is only along one axis, and the camera is fixed for this shot, we can remove the head in post-production using a simple mask.

For this test, we used ping-pong balls as motion trackers for the head and the broom. We shot the head without any green screen or mask. I had my head turned up so that my head wasn't casting any shadows on the neck and chest. We also shot a footage of just the background wall so that we can use it to mask out the head.

For the broom we hand-held a green poster paper behind it and walked it across the wall, so that we would get the exact lighting conditions.

Later using After Effects we tracked the ball in both the shots and composited the broom over the head. We used a simple garbage mask to clear up the noise on the green screen for the broom. After Effects does not support attaching masks to trackers, so we found this script from AExtensions that does that and used it to move the garbage masks.

For the final shoot we plan to use 3-4 trackers so that we can get head motion, rotation and swivel data. We plan to build a tree branch prop that would be used in place of the head.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gelatin Head Appliance - First one done!

This was perhaps the biggest challenge yet on this project. Since none of us really have any experience building prosthetics, it was an incredible learning experience. It involved building the cast with plaster, connecting a 5' PVC tube to it and then mixing/cooking the gelatin, pouring it to create the cast.

This is what the gelatin appliance looks like.

And here is an interesting arrangement we used to pour the gelatin and erect the cast. With nothing more than random found objects in my apartment. Epic indeed t'was!

What you see there is a Styrofoam head with a tube drilled into. Dunked into a plaster cast in the blue bucket. Fitted into another PVC tube. Standing upright using a crutch!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gelatin Head Appliance

We experimented with casting appliance in Gelatin using plaster and it turned out to be a very successful. The gelatin works very well on skin and has organic sub-surface scattering properties. Will post pictures of the gelatin soon.

So the next is to build the actual cast for the head and make the gelatin parts. Here you can see the Styrofoam head with the clay added to create the positive for the mold.

The idea is to use a 5' PVC pipe to cast a solid gelatin tube with the bald cap at the base of it. Then apply this appliance over a latex bald cap and then blend the edges with more liquid latex.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Color Script

I've created a color script by taking the lighting keys from the storyboards and adjusting their colors to match a little bit better. From here you can begin to see a bit of the way the color adjusts, beginning with warmer, pinks and greens then dropping to colder blues, then slowly changing back to pinks and greens again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dance Lighting Reference

The Wraiths series by Nick Rudnicki

DIY Bald Cap

Logan Kelly, our make-up artist found this video, and plans to build the bald caps for us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Body Paint Test

After much testing, we found that the Palmer body paint works best under our lighting setup. An even mix of about 1:1 paint and water applied with an air-brush, creates a nice, clear, uniform wash on the skin. It hides the skin enough to cover up all the specular highlights, but it is transparent enough to let the muscle, veins and skin texture show up through it.

In the images you cans see the red-tempura paint applied on the left side and the white body-paint on the right side. Clearly the white color responds better to the light and creates a soft diffuse surface.

We've ordered the same paint product from another brand -- Kryolan's which is a bit cheaper. The paints should be here early next week.

Final Wall

Finally, after much trial and error, we nailed the wall. Although we're yet to literally nail it together, it's in its final stage. Here's what the texture looks like under white light.

And here's what it looks like with the ladies' heads in it.

Color Inspiration: Hitotzuki Kami & Sasu 'Omni'

HITOTZUKI KAMI & SASU 'OMNI' from Louis Mitchell on Vimeo.

A video that was linked from the Vizagogo 18 email. The colors they use are reminiscent of the palette we plan to use for our video. Its also interesting in how they are using this certain palette. How they are treating it like a friend that is accompanying them on a long journey, a beautiful way to look at color.

A Color Palette

After completing the latest test and adding a very light, sort of arbitrary color correction to it, I've realized that we've created the now somewhat infamous Teal and Orange look from the summer blockbusters. Given that this is not a blockbuster and for that matter a totally different dimension, we began thinking about how to create a sort of pleasing color palette. With this, my plan is then to create a sort of color script that we can use during the course of the shooting and color correction process. The idea came from Michelle Robinson's visit, a Look Development artist who works at Disney Studios, who's worked on films like Tangled and Bolt.

Starting with the animatic, I've identified some colors to begin the process.


These are the colors pulled from the storyboards containing the Lotus flower. It will be mostly greens sticking around purplish pinks to create a nice complementary color set.

These are the analogous colors to the pink in the lotus, what's exciting to me is that there are lavender colors there as well as the fleshy pinkish tones of human skin. Something that we've been talking about keeping in these more lifelike scenes by allowing the human skin tone to show through under the make-up.


The Mother scene in the middle where the creation of life starts is very monochromatic and cool, heavily depending upon the somewhat teal and dark blue spectrum.

This is a triad taken from the darker teal color in the spectrum. It yields some nice colors, including the mauve-like colors as well as the more olive colors. These can perhaps be brought in as accents to the rest of the piece, I was thinking of actually pushing the mauve to a more royal purple especially in the scene where she is sitting on the throne. The olives can perhaps go in the scenes as the branches begin sprouting from her.

Here is a compliment of the dark blue color, what I like is that while it does skirt the edge of teal and orange, these compliments are really more brown like the bark from a tree perhaps. We may be able to introduce these more brown colors as the branches grow from her. Not incredibly brown; however, I think these will need to pushed back a bit in saturation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bald Cap

One thing we realized in the tests was that even if we got naked models with body paint, the bald caps would never look realistic. After much debate, I decided carefully to alter the design of the character so that it would be more practical. Here's what i came up with. It's a sort of a lotus bud like formation from the top. We could do this with a bald cap, a swim capo and a funnel-tube and some plasticine or some kind of polymer based molding/modeling material.