A Game of Thrones Intro Inspired Graduation Project

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For our master graduation project we produced a Game Of Thrones Intro inspired video as a tribute to Italy and to all GoT fans.
With the use of computer graphics and 3D modeling softwares, we recreated 6 of the most famous and loved italian cities.

The aim of our thesis is to analyze the impact of new technologies and social media on the diffusion of tv series-related contents produced by fans.

CHIARA SAPIO, MANOJ ROLLO

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INTERVIEW WITH FEDERICO GALVANI – Motion Design, Stop Motion, Visual Art and a lot more…

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ENG (Leggi in Italiano)

INTERVIEW WITH FEDERICO GALVANI – Motion Design, Stop Motion, Visual Art and a lot more!!!

 

Federico Galvani teaches motion design at the University IUAV of Venice and he is a founder of the multidisciplinary laboratory “Happycentro” where he works on art direction, graphic design, visual identity, illustration, modeling in clay and paper, printing, and directed animation. This studio works for famous brands or small startup and uses several methods of communication: Stop Motion Animation, TV / web commercials, Packaging, Visual Art, Typography, Graphic Design and Music Videos.

The main technique that reflects the style and the way of working of “Happycentro” is the stop motion because it is the synthesis of what we have always done, build objects, puppets and backdrops of various materials, combining illustration and graphic design and set up the set and lights for the photo shoots.

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HOW TO – Homemade Facial Motion Capture

How To - Homemade Facial MoCap
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In this video we are going to show how to create basic home made facial MoCap videos with 3 different softwares/methods, which are:

  • BLENDER
  • AFTER EFFECTS
  • Microsoft KINECT (through FACESHIFT)

 

A brief introduction to the basic steps, an overview of the result that you can achieve and an analysis of the difference between these softwares.

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Oscars Effects – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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by Noemi Bodino, Michela Pratola, Giulia Tasca


Original title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Country of production: USA
Year: 2008
Genres: drama, romance, fantastic
Directed by: David Fincher
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Ceàn Chaffin
Special Effects: Digital Domain
Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 2009.

The make-up artist Mila Mirenghi in an interview tells us the techniques for aging and the interaction with digital. Mila explains in detail how to achieve complete prosthetics and masks. Below you can find the transcript of the interview and the audio link. For the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, as well as the makeup of aging, the use of prosthetics or masks, digital techniques have been integrated to replace the head of the actor recreated in computer graphics with the shooting of body of another actor.

    The process for the emotion capture can be reassumed in these steps:

  • Shooting facial expressions;
  • Creating 3D computer scans of the actor’s face;
  • Shooting scenes on set with the actors in blue hood. This allows to replace the head;
  • Finessing the performance to match current-actor expressions with the old-Benjamin physiology;
  • Creating software system for hair, eyes, skin and all elements that makeup Benjamin;
  • Creating software to track the exact movements of the body actor, to integrate the CG head precisely with the body;
  • Compositing all Benjamin’s elements to integrate animation, lighting in order to create the final shot.

Transcript of the interview

1) Who are you and what is your profession?

My name is Mila Mirenghi and I am a makeup artist for movies. I do normal set makeup and makeup for special effects.

2) When did you start your profession?

The first course of makeup that I’ve done was a theatrical makeup, I did it in ’93, which was a little time ago, and then I worked with fashion and finally I went to the movies. The makeup for special effect is something that I have undertaken recently, compared to what has been my work as makeup artist.

3) What are the techniques used for create old-age make-up?

There are various kinds of techniques for makeup aging, depending on who has to be seen and what context the makeup must be done. Aging Makeup can be theatrical. Theatrical aging makeup is a makeup which should be seen from distance, it must be very heavy and is made only in chroma level, so it highlights wrinkles, are then darkened the parts where you want to bring out the wrinkle and is lightened the portion immediately next to the dark wrinkle, to create a definite contrast that highlights the wrinkle. It is created a shadow under the eye to make it look like the eye hollow and then are applied wigs or are dyed the hair gray to simulate aging.

For the special effects there is an aging makeup that is currently applied and that is based on applying on the skin a latex film. The liquid latex is applied with a sponge on the face; during the application the skin is pulled and at the same time which is released, it tends to form wrinkles.
Of course this type of aging can be aging that can result from 30 years to 45/50 years, not more surely, because this process makes the skin creates wrinkles, but minimum wrinkles; it can’t bring the age of a person from 30 or 20 to 80 years. In this case, there are applied gray hairpieces made of fake hair, that are mixed with the actor’s real hair in order to create that salt and pepper effect.
Instead to aging that must lead actress or actor from 20 to 80 years we use another technique. We use masks or prosthesis.
Usually they are made of silicone or latexfoam.
Prosthesis can also be made in jelly, but this type isn’t reusable, so it also depends on the type of makeup and by the time it has to last. Jelly is soluble in water, can’t stand very high heat, so it always depends on the type of set, how much the makeup has to last and if it must be a makeup that you can reapply or if it’s one shot.
To create a prosthesis or to create a mask we must first recreate itself with a mold of the face of the actor or actress to work on.
There are various materials that can be used to make a mold, now many use directly platinum silicones that can be applied on the skin and take the shape of your face. These silicones made in large quantities create a thick mask on the face that once opened from behind and removed it presents the shape of the actor or actress.
The other method involves applying an alginate on the face that is a little similar to what dentists use to make impressions of your teeth. Once applied this material, it is dried and above are applied plaster bandages.
Once reconstructed this mask in alginate or silicone, a plaster or a biphasic resin is poured.
At this point we have the face our actor or actress. On this head we’re going to work with the plasticine. With plasticine we rebuild the parts that we want to achieve and then apply to the actor. So if we’re going to rebuild an aging face, we create the wrinkles, the lower face more saggin, let’s redo the neck, the eyes with wrinkles, a bigger nose and we also make the ears bigger, especially with regard to older men who greatly increase your ears.
Later, once you have done everything, we refers the process as it is done on the actor, shooting the mold and at that point you use or silicone or latex, which are injected or poured into the mold.
Once we have inside the mold the silicone within the new mold (so the mold that we have taken with plasticine) we are going to enter the old cast (the head) within the new mold with silicone, let’s close to seal everything, we make sure that the silicone come out from the holes that we have created on the last cast and at that point we wait for it to dry. When we go to open the mold we can see the silicone implants.
At that point, the prosthesis will be aligned with the skin color of the actor. The prostheses can also be pre-colored, that is you can already give a base color than what is the color of the skin of the actor.
Once this stage is finished, the implants are applied on the actor. This work is very long to do because it must be done in a perfect way. It shouldn’t be seen at all that the actor has on the face some prosthesis, so that must be the most likely one.
In many cases over the prosthesis is just made a full face mask. It’s made a mask that takes from mid-body, from above the chest to the back, it takes the entire face and the entire head. In this case, the hair, eyebrows and any hairs are reapplied over the mask and the coloring is finished.
Usually we use a mask when you have to play for a lot of days the same makeup, so that there are no differences in the make-up when then you go to mount a scene that was shot in several days.
Using a mask so you are sure that it will always remain the same and that the actor will always have that aspect. Thing that with the application of the prosthesis maybe you can not get the same result. With the application of the prosthesis it is also reproduced a calotte on the actor. The cap will go to cover the hair of the actor and this cap will then be applied white hair. And this is the technique that they used for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

4) Tell us about the techniques used for the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

For “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” they have realized an aging that is progressed over time, in the sense that they did not see the young actor, then the old actor, they showed aging. They certainly started with the application of some implants and then arrived at the application of a full mask. These makeups are made so well that I can’t tell exactly here there was a prosthesis, because you should see it. We see that the actor is aging, so what is my experience when an actor is only a few years older than it is applied just a prosthesis. When an actor from 45 year old becomes a 80/90 years old then at that point it has a mask, which can also be composed of multiple implants then joined together in order to form a mask. That is a choice of the makeup artist, to use different prosthesis then assemble together at the end of a final mask or to instead create a complete picture. Create prosthesis that will be joined together and then resting on the face of the actor in order to create a full face, make that the actor has more face mobility because these prostheses in some places will be really very thin and in other places will instead be bigger to create wrinkles or to create different volumes, then the points where they are thinner the mobility of the actor is really a lot.
Nowadays there are products that truly recreate the softness and mobility of the skin, there are silicones very particular that look a bit to those that are used in plastic surgery to fill the breast implants. Silicones are soft, very soft and moreover for example breast implants have another outside silicone, that it must try to keep the implant securely and avoid the risk that this will break. In these masks instead, you can minimize this capsule and consequently to prove that these implants are very soft and very similar to the texture of human skin.

5) How makeup is associated with digital?

The digital usually goes always to compensate for what the makeup can’t do. Above all there is to bear in mind one thing, the makeup can only add, can’t take away. For example, when on a face there are missing parts, those parts are made in computer graphics. For example, if an actor (we have already seen in several films they used this technique) has no nose, meaning the face is flat and has no nose, that effect can only be achieved in computer graphics because they should go and cut the nose to the actor. In some cases we can add volume above and below the nose and the nose a bit will disappear, but if we are not going to add volume above and below the nose but we don’t have more, it means that the nose has been removed in computer graphics. Such things can’t be done with makeup. You can’t get rid of a part of the face, you can’t remove the chin. You can’t remove, you can only add.

OSCARS EFFECTS – THE LORD OF THE RINGS

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by Noemi Bodino, Michela Pratola, Giulia Tasca


Original title: The Lord of the Rings
Country of production: New Zealand, USA
Genres: fantasy, adventure, epic
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Produced by: Peter Jackson, Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders – New Line Cinema
Special Effects: Joe Letteri, Richard Taylor, Jim Reyel
Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 2002 – 2003 – 2004.

    The trilogy  consists of:

  • The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003)

In The Lord of the Rings trilogy the creators often used Massive, a software that allows you to quickly and easily create thousands of individuals: creators used this software to reproduce horses, soldiers ready to fight and large crowds. We decided specifically to reproduce the bow of the immense army in the presence of the four hobbits that you can see in the third film of the trilogy.

    We tried different techniques that are present in the software After Effects noticing their peculiarities:

  • Trapcode Particular is an external plug-in for AE that provides the necessary tools required to generate and animate particle systems.
  • Trapcode Form is always an external plug-in and it is a 3D particle system placed in grid. Unlike Particular, particles generated from Form don’t have controlled duration and remain constant over time. The grid can also take the shape of any 3D object.

To replicate the crowd we shot the bow of six people in a wide open space which will be populated by the multitude of people in post-production. Once we applied the mask to each individual, they were placed in a new composition, and we decided to use the Trapcode Form because it allows an ordered multiplication with the Base Form Grid-Layered.
We also deleted some noise elements present into the scene with the tool Clone Stamp and we did some Color Correction.

The Lord of the Rings also does an extensive use of Matte Painting, which provides in large part to the use of digital painting techniques, 3D models and rendering CG with the use of layering and compositing techniques.
Also in this case we wanted to reproduce the scene present in the first film in which the company sails through Argonath’s doors.
The basic idea is to do a mix up between the shoot and still images. After doing some compositing, the material assembled was homogenized (especially the lights) using the tools Brightness & Contrast and Ramp to create the effect of the cloudy sky and the shadow of the mountain on the water. Final step was to insert the Motion Camera to recreate the swaying of the canoe.The mix of properties that you can add lets you hide the gap between the different elements.

The Special Effects in the Product Design

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Our Ecodesign group decide to choose the product design theme and the steps to achieve a good result with product presentation and promotion.

link to the video:

DEVELOPMENT

The first video is a visualization that helps to know about what product design is and what are the phases to get from an idea to a concept and to a product. We have identified two fundamental components about product design that are the project and the promotion. First we focused on the project and about metaproject and project phases of design process, then we analyzed the second part about promotion of a product and in particular about strategic marketing, communication and sale. After that we finally could be able to visualize the practical tools that designers have to compare with (softwares and enables special). This list of softwares is only about “2D” because the other themes (3D and compositing) will be analyzed on the next two videos.

TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT

We analyzed the theme with the motion graphics. All texts were made in After Effects and all the icons were made in Adobe Illustrator with separate layers so we could be able to animate every single layer.There were used a lot of AE effects like Trapcode particular, stroke and masks animations, explosions, interactiong objects, loop expressions and bouncing effects. We created in after effects some pre-composition layers that we mixed together with other layers in the final composion. Then we put the audio directly on AE and we exported that to mount the final shots in Adobe Premiere to fade the audio track at the end of the video.

HISTORY OF SPECIAL EFFECTS IN THE OPENING TITLE OF THE TV SERIES

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IDEA: For the first project, we decided to explore the history, and evolution, of special effects in the opening title of the TV series. We decided to narrow down the search to the opening because play a very important role as they have recurring elements that attract and conquer the audience even before yout sart watching the episode.

PRELIMINARY: Before starting work we have done a thorough search to find out what years in television began broadcasting television series, and later TV series which had titres within which the parties had made thanks to special effects. Once collected the material we decided to split material found in 3 macroblocks: 60s­‐70s, 80s-­90s and 2000s – present day.

DEVELOPMENT: Each of these macroblocks consists of a video that summarizes the opening that, in our opinion, have been more important in the era under consideration. In each of these videos we made sure to show the title of the series, this in addition to contextualize the series, manages to understand how the history of special effects has evolved and transformed from the ’60s to today. To give the impression of a journey in time we have achieved a kind of lift a spacecraft that carries a kind of time travel. Every time the elevator opens, you see a room, furnished in the style of the period examined. Next, we’re going to zoom in on the tv that will show the video era. At the end there will be the closing of the doors , and the displacement of the ship forward in time.

TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: At a technical level, we have created all the graphics of the lift, the rooms and the TV through Adobe Illustrator. For video editing we used Adobe Premiere. Finally, we have exported both graphic video in After Effects and created the final video.

Maria Teresa Gabbiadini

Manuel Ibba

Luca Quaranta

Antonella Vannucci