Jun 02

SAAB “the swamp” – MFX

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Nice case studie from MFX in Gothenburg showing how they work with a photoreal SAAB in a Swamp.

Check out our case we have developed together with photographer Adrian Burt, something outside of the traditional environmental shot of a car. See the production step by step from environmental capture with a Spheron camera, through CGI production and post production, to the final image.

Photographer Adrian Burt approached us with an idea for an interesting scene and together we developed the vision to create something outside of the traditional environmental shot of a car. We wanted an image which did not simply put a brand new, sparkling clean car in an interesting looking landscape, but an image in which the car had actually been used and affected by the landscape in which it is portrayed.

Capturing the scene

On a peninsula in the Stockholm archipelago lies Jordbrodammen, a pond formed for irrigational purposes. Scattered all over the lake are the decaying remains of birches which used to grow there before the shallow cavity was flooded. This scene which Burt had found seemed to be the perfect base for creating a spectacular and unusual image.

A Spheron camera is used on location to capture an environment map of the swamp for later use in CGI production.A Spheron camera is used to capture an environment map of the swamp for later use in CGI production.

To create the final image two photographic elements was needed: the backplate (the background image) and an environmental map as source of reflections and lightning for the car and barge. A Spheron camera had to be mounted on a tripod standing on the bottom of the pond where the soon-to-be-realized CGI of car and barge would later be placed and capture the environment around it.

Wading into the water wearing a dry suit, protecting from the water below and rain above, to set up the equipment for capturing the backplate.Wading into the water wearing a dry suit, protecting from the water below and rain above, to set up the equipment for capturing the backplate.

With a successful capture of the environment surrounding the central, while still imaginary, subject of image-to-be, its photographic backplate was to be shoot. To produce the right angle and framing the camera had to be positioned in the high grass, looking out over the water. In this stage it was important to keep a high attention to detail so that the backplate would have an open enough space to accommodate the car and barge while also framing it and producing the best possible composition and exposure.

Adrian Burt shooting the backplate with a digital back on a Hasselblad camera.Adrian Burt shooting the backplate with a digital back on a Hasselblad camera.

Modelling the foreground objects

In modeling the car and barge several factors determine its success or demise: Scale and position of subject; Physical properties of the subject, such as how submerged the barge is in the water, how the wires slack or tighten, and the level of tire inflation; Focal length of virtual lens. These factors, and many others, are all critical for the believability of the image; that the scene and composited CGI-elements are in fact one image.

Modeling of the car and barge using Maya to create high-end photorealistic elements such as helix shaped wire rope and wooden utility poles which are not only textured and bump mapped, but feature a modeled fiber structure simulating the wear and tear of wood by natural elements.Modeling of the car and barge using Maya to create high-end photorealistic elements such as helix shaped wire rope and wooden utility poles which are not only textured and bump mapped, but feature a modeled fiber structure simulating the wear and tear of wood by natural elements.

Creating the final image

As modeling the car and barge proceeds the final image starts to develop; lightning is determined taking cues from the environmental map and backplate, materials are assigned and refined, dirt is produced and the rendering of the CGI using V-Ray is prepared.

Environment captured with Spheron is used as support for the lighting of the CGI elements as well as creating reflections and refractions where needed.Environment captured with Spheron is used as support for the lighting of the CGI elements as well as creating reflections and refractions where needed.

The resulting output is extremely high qualitative as a result of ambitious attention to both detail and emotional setting throughout the whole production; from planning, shooting, environment capture and CGI production. But the material is still missing some elements to be fully integrated with the backplate. As retouching of the final image proceeds the distance between CG foreground elements and photographed backplate decreases by adjusting both parts to make sure everything from color tone and texture to opacity and reflectivity matches. During this process some final adjustments to the composition and mood of the image is made and a continuous interaction between the individuals involved in different stages of the production assures that things which were not possible to arrange in detail or foresee in an earlier stage are now given the right attention.

The resulting image

Our once envisioned image is now completely realized; brand new, heavily used, dirty, shiny and ghastly all at once! A result of ambitious attention to both detail and emotional setting throughout the whole production from planning to shooting and environment capture, to CGI production and retouch:

The computer generated Saab 9-3 SportCombi and photographed scenery composited.

Concept and retouch by Adrian Burt and MFX

CGI production by MFX

Backplate and environmental photography by Adrian Burt

Spheron equipment by Creative tools

Case – MFX.

Jan 20

MFX new site

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Classic vfx company in Gothenburg has an updated site.

Mfx has been around since 1987, one of the first or maybe the first? 

 

 

Start – MFX.