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Need for Speed. Home­world

A Uni­verse of De­tails Game en­gine cam­era sys­tems take years to get right, the devil is most cer­tainly in the de­tails. My film ex­pe­ri­ence side helped keep the move­ment and spirit of it all as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble where ap­pro­pri­ate, and the game side keeps me hon­est when the cin­e­matic rules and meth­ods need to be let go for the sake of game de­sign. It’s a con­stant back and forth with gameplay cam­eras, try­ing to make them feel good, yet not get in the way while ser­vic­ing the gameplay needs.

I think it’s such a knock­out when you com­bine Cinema­chine with Time­line and the Post Pro­cess­ing Stack. The in­stant it­er­a­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties of hav­ing an­i­ma­tion, light­ing, cam­era and post fx/color grad­ing at your fin­ger­tips, all to­gether, all now. This has been my life’s dream, and as far as I know Unity is the only place where you can do it all like this. In­spired by Adam At SIGGRAPH this year, we had a ses- sion on the show floor where there were 50 ma­chines all set up with Unity, Time­line, Cinema­chine and Post Pro­cess­ing Stack in a scene with the char­ac­ters from our Adam short film. I asked the group, “How many of you have used Unity?” Four peo­ple raised their hands. Here I was giv­ing a one-hour talk on th­ese tools and the fact that the ma­jor­ity have never even opened Unity, let alone done cin­e­mat­ics in it, was a bit sober­ing. By the end of the ses­sion, peo­ple had turned this scene into this crazy num­ber of dif­fer­ent things. One girl made a lit­tle hor­ror film, col­or­graded all mono­chrome black and blue. This other guy turned it into an ac­tion scene with jump cuts and lots of cam­era move­ment. This lovely older woman had this broody, slow, in­tense cut of it. It was so en­cour­ag­ing and at that mo­ment I knew all th­ese tools were on the right track. This group of peo­ple spent their time on the cre­ative prob­lems and not the tech­ni­cal ones, and I was moved. Chal­lenges and Re­wards Unity of­fers an en­tirely new way of work­ing and the pipe­line is in­cred­i­bly plas­tic, so you need to re-think how to ap­proach every­thing. With a “tra­di­tional” CG pipe­line, the stages are re­ally well known, the hand off points are clear and the own­ers for each step of the process are well de­fined. With a cre­ative en­gine such as Unity, we have this huge sand­box with so much in­side.You can re­visit light­ing after cam­era, then do color grad­ing, and then pol­ish the cam­eras one last bit be­fore ren­der­ing out straight from Unity. The cre­ative stages are de­fined by each project, not by the soft­ware. You can def­i­nitely fall on your own sword if the process isn’t given thought—but then you can also tweak a light five sec­onds be­fore project com­ple­tion, so it’s dou­ble edged. Cre­ative in­put any­where in the process and pro­duc­tiv­ity are the re­wards.

In the near fu­ture, the look-delta be­tween off­line ren­der­ing and real-time ren­der­ing will keep get­ting smaller. The ad­van­tages of a par­al­lel pipe­line, full-team col­lab­o­ra­tion and see­ing every­thing in con­text will out­weigh that di­min­ish­ing look dif­fer­ence for more and more projects. Even­tu­ally a tipping point will be reached, es­pe­cially given the fact that once your con­tent is in the en­gine you also have a jump start for VR, AR, in­ter­ac­tive and what­ever else the fu­ture holds. That alone should be very com­fort­ing for those with big IPs.

A Few Help­ful Tips When stu­dents ask me for ad­vice, I tell them to study the masters and the fun­da­men­tals of cin­ema, art, im­agery and mo­tion. Get fluid with color the­ory, com­po­si­tion, how things move and they way light bounces around in the real world. Us­ing th­ese tech­niques, you can learn how to move peo­ple’s eye around the frame, where they’ll look from one shot to the next, and how to light and move cam­eras to best make the edit flow. How we see and feel about vi­su­als is pretty con­stant. Tech­nol­ogy will al­ways change, know­ing about what makes some­thing beau­ti­ful is time­less.

The movie that re­ally drove me to be­come a dig­i­tal artist was Steven Spiel­berg’s Juras­sic Park. I pored over every­thing I could find out about how they cre­ated the vfx for the film. I got into Sof­tim­age at that time and was in heaven. An­other big in­flu­ence was the All Is Full of Love Björk mu­sic video by Chris Cun­ning­ham. I just couldn t get my head around it it was be­yond in­spir­ing. I re­cently met Chris and told him it s all his fault I m do­ing this stuff.

One of my men­tors told me ages ago: “Fol­low your pas­sion and every­thing else will take care of it­self.” Putting that into prac­tice sounds scary, but it can be true for you, and wouldn’t that be amaz­ing? I see peo­ple ev­ery day who live by that at Unity. Adam My­hill is the Head of Cin­e­mat­ics at Unity. You can learn more about his work and ca­reer at adammy­hill.com.

Red Gi­ant is a bril­liant key source to ex­pand your After Ef­fects toolset. We are talk­ing tools for color grad­ing like the Magic Bul­let suite, tools for pro­cess­ing footage, tools for key­ing and tools for mak­ing com­posit­ing just a tad eas­ier. But it’s the Trap­code Suite that seems to get the most at­ten­tion. It ex­pands After Ef­fects’ 2D world into a much more ex­pan­sive world with par­ti­cle sys­tems and 3D geo. The re­cently re­leased Trap­code Suite 14 of­fers up­dates to Par­tic­u­lar, Form, and a bit of an up­date to Tao.

Par­tic­u­lar is the suite’s par­ti­cle sys­tem, used for mak­ing in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and com­plex splashes, trails, pixie dust—you name it. Now, it is GPU ac­cel­er­ated for faster play­back and feed­back as you de­sign the looks. To help with that process, Par­tic­u­lar has a De­signer mod­ule filled with heaps of par­ti­cle pre­sets you can grab from the li­brary. Fully cus­tom­iz­a­ble, with fast feed­back (cour­tesy of the GPU), you can push and pull pa­ram­e­ters to get a look you want. You can even com­bine mul­ti­ple sys­tems for even more com­plex re­sults.

OBJs are now sup­ported as emit­ters, so you can match to you 3D geo com­ing from your fa­vorite 3D pro­grams, and emit from verts or edges or polys. The Par­tic­u­lar li­brary is also filled with OBJ ob­jects to get you started. Be­yond the emit­ters, the par­ti­cles them­selves can be sprites—again, that li­brary comes with nearly 300 pre­fab sprites to choose from. You can also choose your own by bring­ing them into your AE comp.

Com­bine all this with new Aux Sys­tem fea­tures, which will spawn ad­di­tional chil­dren from the orig­i­nal par­ti­cle sys­tem, and you have your­self an amaz­ing tool for quickly cre­at­ing in­tri­cate sys­tems.

Form is a com­ple­men­tary prod­uct to Par­tic­u­lar, in that it deals with par­ti­cles, but it is more about defin­ing sur­faces and struc­tures with par­ti­cles. Like Par­tic­u­lar, Form uses De­signer and the li­braries to pro­vide a plethora of pre­sets to start with and be­gin to cus­tom­ize. Form can also use im­ported OBJs (or ones from the li­brary) to pop­u­late the par­ti­cles onto, even an­i­mated geo. But where Form ex­cels are the techy and of­ten beau­ti­ful re­sults that are so per­va­sive in the mo­tion graph­ics world. There prob­a­bly isn’t a HUD dis­play in film and tele­vi­sion that doesn’t have Form looks in them.In ad­di­tion, Form gives you fur­ther con­trol over the par­ti­cle dis­tri­bu­tion us­ing noise and frac­tal pat­terns to break things up in cool and in­ter­est­ing ways. You can even drive an­i­ma­tion through the pat­terns us­ing au­dio sources.

Lastly, the Tao mod­ule of the suite al­lows you to cre­ate 3D struc­tures in After Ef­fects by re­peat­ing or loft­ing shapes along paths. The ren­der­ing uses real light­ing, and it sup­ports re­flec­tions and re­frac­tions. But the big ad­di­tion in Trap­code Suite 14 is Depth of Field for even more pho­to­graphic re­al­ism.

Par­tic­u­lar is the pri­mary rea­son to in­vest in or up­grade to Trap­code Suite 14. Even be­fore this re­lease it was a pow­er­ful par­ti­cle tool, and it has be­come even bet­ter. Form is ubiq­ui­tous in the MoGraph world, and if you don’t have it you are prob­a­bly be­hind. And Tao is just one more rea­son. You can get each mod­ule on its own, but it might be wise to put your money into the whole suite. Web­site: red­giant.com Price: $999 (full); $199 (up­grade); $499 (aca­demic)

18. “De­spi­ca­ble ___ 3” Cape Cod’s state Pulled at a sleeve, say

Top: Award-win­ning short Adam was ren­dered in real time us­ing the Unity en­gine. The com­pany’s Demo Team re­cently de­liv­ered a new en­vi­ron­ment project, “Neon,” seen here in-

Adam My­hill

Au­todesk 3ds Max

Solid An­gle Arnold 5.0

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