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Last Lap

The ending of this specialisation project is nigh, and the short is more or less done except for the endless tweaking of things that I want to do.

This week I’ve been finishing the last scenes and done some tweaking to the almost finished ones, and here are a few screenshots of the progress:



The tools that the combatants use are now hovering over their shoulder while they are using it. This makes it alot easier to comprehend what tools are in use at that moment.



Here’s some rotoscope action. The second image also got some stock footage debris that are flying in the background.


The wall is receding back into the floor.


Here’s the cartoony bullseye target…


…followed by a confirmation that the missile has locked onto the target. Now I realise that this might be less easy to figure out than I had planned, but hopefully the watchers will figure it out eventually 😛


The victorious character marks the wall with a taunting message before he leaves with the Text-Tool. Another scene that felt alot better in my head than in the end. I could actually cut it away for the movies sake.


After the battle is over, the victorious character walks out of the room, leaving an ink-trail behind him from one of his shoe-soles.

Sadly, time limitations won’t allow me to deal with alot of continuity errors. For instance, where do the pool of ink go after one of the characters sidestep the ink-disc?
Where does the burnmarks from the explosion-scene, or the debris in the scene after it go?

The answer is magic.

Movie Preview!

I’m getting there!

Got a few scenes that I need to tweak for the right feeling, and a few scenes that are left to make. These are not overwhelming effects, but require some rotoscoping. This will probably be the most fun week of them all 😉

I decided to go back to the red-colored intro, as, in my opinion, it was the best looking one. Also, as I’ve said before, do tell me if the flares are getting out of hand :)

Explosive Update

Will try to keep this one short.

This past week I’ve been working on several different shots. The liquified wall is now implemented in some shots.





The missile explosion is coming along. It probably won’t be as beautiful as I would like it to be due to time shortage, but I’ll have time for another simulation with multiscattering light (I think), which might make it prittier 😛
Also good usage of stock footage to sell the effect!

A screenshot from where one of the characters burst into ink:

The first render of the ink when it falls to the ground. Doesn’t really look like ink, more like black water or something, but I can easily color correct that. Also, will looke better when the bg got a better colorgrade and when the AO-layer is included.

There are still a lot to do, and I will do my best to make the short better, but I’m starting to realise that maybe I should’ve focused on a shorter “short” with more dedicated effects.

Missiles and Dirt!

Update time!

It has been an exciting day. All days where stuff you create starts to come together are exciting 😀

But first, let’s talk about… dirt!

One of my scenes felt kind of naked, the one with the liquify-floor effect. So I added some smoke and dirt elements to make it more alive. When the liquify-shockwave pass under the camera, the effects “apply” themselves to the camera lens.

I used some stockfootage that I got of smoke flowing towards the screen, took a dirt screenshot as an overlay and made some out-of-focus dirt dots on the lens with the Optical Flare plug-in.
I think it looks pretty good in motion.

Other than that, I’ve been working with the missile scene. It’s not done, but it certainly looks pretty good at the moment. As of now, the missile will hover in the air and start falling. The engine will light up and heathaze will emit around the nozzle. A bright flash indicates that the engine is now propelling the missile forward.

It will need a few tweaks with the animation, and I’ll probably resimulate the fire, but overall… Lookin’ pretty good!

The Missile is modelled in Maya (Because I haven’t learned how to model in 3Ds Max properly yet), exported/imported into 3Ds Max. I set up the scene with FumeFX in 3Ds Max, simulated the fire and animated the missile. The Heathaze was added in After Effects using a fractal-noise as an displacement map. It’s amazing what unlimited things you can do with fractal noise effects!
Then I added a lens flare for effect. Please DO tell me if they’re getting out of hand. I really don’t want to overdo them.

– Displacement map for the heat-haze effect behind the missile –

I’ve learned a few things in 3Ds Max while working with it, like rendering ambient occlusion layers. I’m having trouble with thin black outlines surrounding my objects when I import them into post. I’ll try to fix that, but I want to mention that I learned, while quickly trying to get rid of the outline with a matte-choker effect in After Effects, that you can get a pretty nice light-wrap effect with the choke effects if used right (Erode-Nodes is kind of simular in Nuke).

All in all, with Motion-Blur and some nice sound effects, I think that this scene is going to sell… I hope :)

The next preview video will likely arrive this friday.

– Erik Öhman

Weekly Update!

Another week, another update!

Here are a few screenshots of this weeks progress:


These images displays my (very) early fire and smoke simulations for the missile that is getting fired in the second part of the movie. It’s at a very early stage (started yesterday), and I’m experimenting with different settings to get the result I want.

(Click to enlarge)

I’ve also been working on a CV-curve looking effect that will plant a target on one of the characters that the missile will home in on. I don’t know about the yellow color, but it distinguished itself from the background very well, apart from many other colors. I’ll try to track the logo on my shirt and then make a 3D “Bulls-eye” inspired target attached to it. The yellow streak looks kind of silly and naked right now, but it’s such a short shot that I’ll just come back to it if I got time later.

(Click to enlarge)

In this image you can see a screenshot of some lens flare experimentation. I want it to be subtle (which I think it is, once the whole thing is in motion), but also give that anamorphic movie feeling. It’s kind of hard not overdoing it, while still making it visible 😛


At last you can see my liquified wall. I tried to make it look like it was blending with the background well by color-correcting it, but what really made it work was the lightwrap. I think it blends in much better now. I want to thank Jimmy Sahlin for the lightwrap suggestion, and Kristoffer Andersson for letting me lend his reflection-map that he made out of the room (We filmed in the same room). I never thought I was going to need one, but here I am :)

Weekly Movie Madness!

Here comes another weekly preview update:

This time I’ll include a download-link so that you may watch it even if the webplayer won’t allow you to load the movie. (I actually recommend that you download it since the webplayer seems to have more than one screw loose…)

Most of the second part is still work in progress and filled with placeholders, but I’m going to put a lot of effort into this part to make it look great. This is where the real 3D comes into the short.

Covered most of this weeks progress in my last post, so check it out if you haven’t!
And, as always, don’t be afraid to post some critique!

– Erik Öhman


This week has felt kind of slow. Mostly because I get stuck on individual effect thinking “I guess this is ‘good enough’, but I want it to look better”. Eventually I got kind of satisfied with the result, but I’ll come back to it if I got time.

For the first scene I’ve added a few elements to make it easier to understand whats going on by adding a toolbox next to the fighting pair when they choose tools to use. This come at a risk of “Too much to look at”, but the audience get to decide that when they watch it. A picture of the unfinished (Not all tools are added yet) toolbox below:


A friend mentioned that it would be cool if you could see the interface of the tools when they are used, like you see the splines and handles when the shape tool is used to create the shield for example. I really liked the idea, but I haven’t been able to get a satisfying result for it.


Preferably, I would like to use the actual interface from After Effects and Nuke for this, but since some of the tools don’t actually look like you would imagine them too (See the inner yellow shape in the picture above), they end up confusing and “in the way” of the actual effect. So I tried to replicate a spline like shape in AE and make some handles (The outer yellow shape in the picture above), but I’ve yet to achieve something that I like.

Other than that, I also started working on the second part of the movie. Below I will show some of the experiments that I’ve made:

First of I created an effect where I touch the floor with the liquify tool. I made another displacement effect which made me realise how fast these can get overused. But I kind of liked the feeling of the floor getting soft and shapeable.

Then I started to experiment with different methods to raise the floor with the liquify-tool. I wanted to use 3D for this, so I started out with blendshapes in maya (See image 2 below). It looked okay, but the animation didn’t feel right. Then I started sidetrack with rigs and things (See image 4 below), and things got out of hand as I started leaning away from the intended effect. I soon realised this and did some liquify-study in Photoshop (Image 1 below). As I remided myself I kind of just thought that the more simple solution might be better in this case. So I did a few shapes and just used the scale tool to raise them with soft-selection like I kind of would with the liquify tool (Image 3).

The next problem was not really a problem. I started to think on how I was going to do this stretch effect without strectcing the texture that I will apply onto it (Floor texture). Then I realised that the liquify WOULD stretch the texture, so I nodded approvingly and now I am happy forever. Period.

This disturbingly distorted image of me will prove the above statement:


Do you want a hug?

Tomorrow it’s weeklytime and I’ll most certainly upload a video of the first scene with the added elements. Might include my progress on the second scene for early critique.
On another note, Some people can’t load my last preview video, which is kind of sad. Don’t know if it’s my fault or the websites. Some can watch it, some can’t.

Weekly Update

Hey everyone! As promised, it’s movie time!
First preview:

I showed this preview to my classmates and got some invaluable feedback (Thanks guys!) that surely will make the short better and easier to understand.

Many things are still not final in the preview but please, don’t be afraid to post some critique so that I can improve the short, no matter how big or small.
I’ll dedicate this weekend to try to fix this part of the short and then start on the next part, but if time allows, I might return later and continue to improve on this part.

In other good news: I made one of the shots where the characters choose tools in Nuke instead of After Effects, and while it took a while longer to do, I think I pretty much achieved the same effect.

I might also waste some of my free time to throw together a short behind the scenes montage this weekend for the fun of it, together with a few pre-productions shots that I made to test some effects.

Time to dive back into the wonderful world of 3D!

– Erik Öhman

Small Update

Just felt like posting a minor update before my weekly tomorrow. Here below are a few screenshots from the first quarter of the short.

1. One of the combatants fiering a huge disc made out of ink. Ain’t my face the best? 😉

2. The adversary dodges the ink disc.

3. Using Shape-Tool to create a temporary shield in the air.

4. A screenshot from the short intro before the movie gets going. I got this “Text floating amongst alot of particles” thing going. Don’t know if it’s a bit too much.

I will upload my progress so far tomorrow as a video, so you’ll get a great chance at giving me some well needed critique.
I’ll then proceed with trying to complete this part of the short this weekend, so that I can start working on the next scene on monday.
Tune in tomorrow for movie-preview time! 😀

Action Sunday

Done most of todays work from my comfortable chair at home.

The VFX for this scene was really fun to create! Spent a couple of hours in Maya to create the 3D characters animation, rendered out some passes (Ambient Occlusion makes everything pretty) and then took it to the streets (After Effects).

The flare that you can see in the back was made with the fantastical AE plug-in called Optical Flares (  ). I used the alpha of the glass-plate behind the characters as a displacement map to distort the flare and I think it worked out pretty well!
Below are three frames of the scene as it looks now:

And here are the scene itself. *Note: The Video has a few sound effects enabled that might be loud. Mind your volume*

I would love to get some critique on this scene. I like it overall, but the “feeling” could be improved.
The sound is not final. I just threw some cool sound effects to test it out, and it is in this direction I want to take it. I’m not a sound guy, so if you got a few pointers, don’t be afraid to post them!

The following video is my current progress on the first combat scene. It’s work in progress, and I will probably replace the icons for something better looking. What do you think of the movement of the icons? Too fast? To blurry? Fullscreen recommended.

That’s all for now!