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Crater Face

Crater Face from Skyler Page on Vimeo.

Trust Your Hands

A productive few days: what needs to happen for these shots is becoming clearer, making it easier for me to act on them. Seeing the work in context, even if it’s crappy and rough, clarifies so much. I need to remember when I’m stuck at the beginning of working on a shot and I don’t have a clear vision to just make something. Trust your hands, not your mind.

“Trust your hands. Your hands make something that others can see, and that you can see as others would. Valuable stuff.”

And then there’s notes. Today we had a review of the two shots and I got a half-page of specific notes, which is exactly the situation I prefer. I’m going to tear through this list this afternoon and Monday.

UVs! I hate them!

I’ve been putting in time on the Variations project but so far all I’ve done is repair the terrible UVs that came with this scene. I can’t complain too loudly about the scene since it’s free, but man oh man do I feel like I’m wasting time pulling UVs around.  There has got to be a better way to layout UVs. Maya’s tools are still primitive. Headus UVLayout is just baffling. Time to do a little research into what’s out there now…

spending time in the weeds

And today I am finessing UVs on beveled bevels–really really small stuff that would normally qualify as preemptive pixel-f****ng but it’s A) for poster titles (yay!) and B) I think I have the most efficient path to finessing these UVs that I can, although I wish I could bang through them faster.

Report: Faster Good Enough

I turned around the shot in two days with the good-enoug, do-it-in-comp method, which is a lot faster than it was going. This camera move really lent itself to a primarily 2D solution as it was a nodal pan (meaning no perspective shifts on anything in scene), and a fast, chaotic scene anyway.

Trying to  match things up perfectly in three-space can be quite time consuming. 2D matching is a lot faster and easier, so I’ll try to do that more often.

Free Greenscreen test footage

Hollywood Camera Work has generously provided a wealth of greenscreen and tracking plates for compositors to hone their craft. Wow! And they’ve added real educational value by talking about the specific challenges in each shot and recommending approaches to take. It’s a comp class in a can!

Salary survey, via digitalgypsy

…If you haven’t checked it out in a while, head on over to VFXWages and take a look at some of our Wages. They’ve been pretty accurate over time. I’ve included a graph here that shows the overall compositing wages. The red line is the one you want, which stretches from around $20/hr USD for a starting wage, up to a median of about $63.50 for 14-16 years of experience, before heading down to $52/hr for 20+ years experience (this is most likely a drop because those rates could be salaried). Who says that wages couldn’t be quantifiable?digitalgypsy.com, the digitalgypsy VFX Blog, Feb 2010

 

One of my goals for this blog is to talk about, explain, and really comprehend linear lighting for CG. I have a fuzzy understanding of why linear light works better than the gamma 2.2 light we’re used to, but I haven’t mastered it if I can’t explain it clearly.

Secondary to that is mastering color spaces: linear, sRGB, log, and the variety of LUTs they use. My friend, the brilliant Brad Friedman, tried to explain all of this to me when I worked for him, and some of it stuck. It is a complicated problem and very few folks seem to understand it well. I’m going to try to understand it and explain it here. But not today. Back to the explosions!

PFTrack’s Brand New Wheel

Learning new software on the fly is always a struggle. Right now I’m tyring to do scene reconstruction for the first time in PFTrack, a program whose interface designers were clearly free of any taint of acquaintance with the major 3D packages on the market. Navigation: completely novel. Cutesy icons: obtuse. Wheel: reinvented. I’m not saying Syntheyes (the only other tracking package I have significant experience with) is any better; it’s not. Ignorance of 3D conventions seems to be a hallmark of the tracking program.

On the other hand, this ability to reconstruct a 3D space from an image sequence or multiple photographs is really quite amazing, and PFTrack’s engine appears to be quite solid. I’m sure I will get used to the wackadoodle interface the way I (almost) got used to Syntheyes’ interface, eventually.

A test post

This is the first test post. A real post will be posted soon.

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