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  • Complex shadow from live action onto 3D logo

    Posted by Hamish Boyd on February 26, 2009 at 1:03 am

    hello all,

    I need to work out how to best shoot and composite this brief…

    I have a person walking to camera. That person starts in full view (including feet) she is walking next to a big 3D logo of the company.
    So the shoot will obviously be green screen and the the logo is a nice 3D generated logo comped in (Size of Company name would look like it comes up to her shoulders, so say fence height.)

    Thats all fine a good…


    They want to see shadow from her fall onto the logo.
    So (at least at the beginning of shot) her shadow will fall along the ground and part way up the logo next her as she walks beside it.

    The tools at my immediate disposal are
    After Effects CS 4
    Zaxwerks animator

    But I’m thinking with this shadow, we are moving into full 3D application. Am I right?

    Also how do I go about generating that shadow. Do I need to shoot her from a key light perspective, create matt from that and comp it on?

    I’m just not sure how to recreate a realistic shadow fall beside her and onto the logo.

    Thanks in advance.

    Hamish Boyd replied 14 years, 9 months ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Mark Suszko

    February 26, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Naw, this should not be so hard. I think Eran Stern or Maltanon has a tutorial on this in the COW tut section.

    But think about this: you already have a perfect source for the shadow from the full-body matte you generated in the green screen.

    All you really need is to take a separate instance (perhaps 2) of that matte, color it black, make it partly transparent and fuzz it up, then re-position it and warp it to appear to fall on the logo the way you want it to. For that, you could use AE or very possibly, Apple Motion.

  • Scott Novasic

    February 26, 2009 at 1:32 am

    I agree, you have the two main images with mattes already. THe text and the person. I did something similar but with more elements about 1\3rd
    of the way through my demo reel with 3 news anchors from Fox (right after a simpsons animation i did) I had to ‘fake’ shadows falling on numerous things. The soft shadows dont have to be super accurate to be convincing to the eye. If you have individual mattes for both the face of the 3d text and the edges it helps as well depending on your lighting and the persons position to the image. I would not use warps to ‘bend’ the shadow as it falls on the logo due to the fact that there are probably 90 degree angles and sharper edges on the text, calling for more of a ‘cut’ shadow.

    without seeing it, i cant be real specific.

    good luck

    Animation & Visual Effects
    Scott Novasic
    Los Angeles Ca

  • Hamish Boyd

    February 26, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Thank you both for your quick replies… very helpful.

    Scott, looking at your reel (which has huge amounts of awesome in it by the way), was the promo for the simpsons/seinfield with the presenter in the red jacket all done on green screen? If so are the shadows you have on the floor from him re-created or are they drawn from the actual shadows?

    Thanks for your help.

  • Scott Novasic

    February 26, 2009 at 2:40 am

    thanks for the kind words on my reel. The actor in Red was shot against a plain white background BEFORE I was even hired at Fox. We used him a lot. So I was able to get some of it to key ‘ok’. but believe it or not, I did basic gargbage matting combined with individual hand drawn mattes, hundreds of them ( maybe thousands when I take into consideration the whole campaign ) I would paint in my own shadows on a lot of stuff. (I won a national Gold Promax for the campaign for our ‘Home of Comedy’ promos using him) All the animation I did was concepted to fit the ALREADY SHOT footage. It was a backwards way of working, but we pulled it off. Im pretty fast at cutting mattes so I sort of relish the challenge of projects like that. Some of my favorite work involves merging reality with cg elements. Theres a lot of it on my reel. I hope to get some more opportunities to do it here in LA as I continue to grow my animation company.

    Thanks again Hamish.

    Animation & Visual Effects
    Scott Novasic
    Los Angeles Ca

  • Mike Smith

    February 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Would you have more control and maybe keep post costs down if you had a suitable size prop logo made ..?

  • Hamish Boyd

    March 2, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Not a bad idea. Have worked with prop logo’s rather than post before.
    But knowing the client as I do, the more control I have in post the better.

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