Thursday, March 05, 2009

Some Tests

I did some tests to figure out a "look" for a couple movies I have coming up. Here's a bit of Solar Vengeance with "no effect". Note that there is color-correction and some Magic Bullet Looks on it.

Test Straight from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

First up I tried the FXFactory Pro "Artist Sketch" effect. I had high hopes for this effect. Possibly with different lighting it would do something. But I don't want to prejudice you, go ahead and look for yourself.

Artist Sketch Test from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

Here we've applied the Final Cut Pro "threshold" effect. I've colorized the white and black to be the same white and black colors as the original had.

test with threshold from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

Now here we're doing both -- applying the Artist Sketch (on top) and the threshold (on bottom).

Test -- FXFactory Pro "Artist Sketch" and FCP "Threshold" from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

Tell me what you think.


Ian said...


Well, my view on image correction is that if it's going to be so tweaked it brings attention to itself, there better be a darn good reason. Otherwise it's just saying, "Look at me! Look at me!" jumping up and down and waving it's arms for no purpose- just being distracting.

Basically, I like to think of everything in a movie as "saying" something. It's tied into the way I shoot and edit; every shot is a sentence, and once it's had it's say, it's time to move on (sometimes it takes a long time for a shot to have it's say, especially if what it's saying is, 'This part is very slow.'). Props, locations, music, and dialogue all work the same way; they all exist to tell something about the world/character.

So I guess that's what I'd be curious about with the image correction tests is this; what are they saying? #1 is a bit too yellow for my taste, but it works, because it's saying, "This is an alien planet. The atmosphere/sun are different. And it's hot out."

IMO, the Artist Sketch effect just looks like slow moving rain (perhaps just a compression thing). I just don't get what it's trying to say.

By the time we get down to #4, it's so tweaked that it's even obscuring lots of other details that were plainly visible in the original- meaning the color changes are getting IN THE WAY of the other things going on in the movie, making my first instinct to say, "Sit down and hush up, image correction! I'm trying to watch a movie!" (That was a darn cool monologue in the clips, by the way).

I mean, obviously, this is all just my opinion, and my comments are null without knowing what you want to accomplish with the image correction.

Notably, there are some pretty cool ways to get some rad looks/textures with other means, suff I've always wanted to try but haven't really been adventurous enough to use, yet. The textures seen in these pictures could JUST as easily be applied to movie footage, and result in a really cool look (all of those pictures are just black ink on paper, with all the coloring and texturing being done later in the computer).

E'gads. 7:20am. Time to hit the sack.

Andrew Bellware said...

The Artist Sketch isn't really doing it for me. The big thing is that the computer can't draw, so it has no idea really where the outlines are supposed to be. So rather than looking animated, it just looks (like you said) like rain.

With the threshold effect, the point was to lose detail and give it a more graphic novel - type effect. I don't know if that's a terribly good idea or not but possibly in the right context it would be.

How did you make your textures with your pen and ink drawings? The question to me is always: how will they animate?

Ian said...

Gotcha! A graphic novel look- that makes a lot more sense in that context.

As for how the textures might work...

I usually start with just getting a texture image, laying it over the footage/picture/whatever, and setting it to "Overlay". Overlay is the magic transfer mode, for me. It brightens the brights and darkens the darks, keeping the whole tonal range of the picture and just transferring it over to the underlaying footage. I'm not sure what it's doing mathematically, but it looks great (It almost always takes tweaking the gray values of the levels to get it look just right).

Something like that could work for a base texture, but then you'd probably want some other texture on top, perhaps toned down quite a bit and jittering.

You can get some GREAT results by colorizing the layers a bit, or adding a gradient and using the "Overlay" option on it. It can totally add color and depth to a scene.

You may want to double check or email them, but it looks like you can use any of the textures offered here
And This, This, and This are all totally useful (especially if you mess with their contrast and levels.)

You can get some rad looks! Maybe not so graphic novel, but unique, anyway.

Andrew Bellware said...

I love overlay.

My fear is that when you have a moving camera, the still which is overlayed will seem more like... well... a still which is overlayed. Perhaps if the background were motion tracked...

... and then you rotoscoped your foreground so it had a different texture from the background...

Hmm... could be a lot of trouble. Might be worth it...

Ian said...

Hrmm... that's possible. I kinda assumed you'd have a "border graphic" of sorts, which would be okay because it's supposed to be attached to the border, then some sort of "overall texture" that would be moving, perhaps just moving around so fast that you can't really tell it's moving, it just looks like the texture is changing.

Of course, if it's moving that fast, it might not really have the same effect, and may just look like random noise... Perhaps if it were just randomly moved 10 frames on the vertical axis, it would look more like film jitter- enough movement so it doesn't look locked onto the footage, but little enough so the eyes can track it.

Which is the exact problem that's made me not use the technique so far.