I’ve finally begun pulling the footage into the Blender compositor and seeing what needs to be done to create the finished images for the movie. In a lot of ways, this movie will be made in the compositor. This is where the CG content will get added, the color correction will be done, any post-pro camera moves or transformations will be carried out, and where a lot of various mixing and matching of images will happen. So far, I’m very happy with how things are going. For the robot dog composite above. I used a single HDR mirror ball light probe for the main lighting, then added an animated texture of the background plate itself to an emitting plane to add the light and reflections from the blinking lights in the background. The two frames above show the change in the light. The CG is rendered in Cycles. I’m going to render the final frames at about 3K with 1500 samples, then reduce them to minimize the Cycles grain (I will probably lay an artificial film grain over the movie frames later).
I’ve been experimenting a bit with color correction too. Lately, I’ve been making my way through Bartek Skorupa‘s excellent training DVD on compositing with Blender, which does a great job on color correction, color spaces, and working with Blender’s new color management tools. I think it’s an absolute must-watch for anybody planning to do serious compositing with Blender. It’s especially useful for somebody with an intermediate-level understanding of the Blender compositor, but who lacks professional experience. Bartek is one of the Blender compositor’s most knowledgeable professional users, and he does a great job presenting his material.
Aside from all the CG, color correction is going to be an important step in making the movie. The raw footage has all the color data I need, but it’s in no condition to be displayed as is. So it’s great to get a more complete understanding of what it involves and how to do it in Blender. Ivan the DP has plenty of high-end commercial compositing and color correction software, but of course I hope to do as much as I can (hopefully all) of the postproduction in Blender. I have no reason to believe I won’t be able to, at this point.
I’ve also been catching up on the second edition of The Art and Science of Digital Compositing by Ron Brinkman, which is basically the bible for compositing. If you’re interested in the subject at all and you haven’t read this book then I don’t know what you’re waiting for.