Saturday, 4 February 2012

Blur Studio

I recently came across this animation reel from 'Blur studio.' The company have worked on some major titles, including James Cameron's 'Avatar,' where they produced the space sequences. What I find most striking about the reel is the amazing render quality, which I believe is relevant to the process I am currently at with lighting and rendering out my scenes:

The clips in the video are generally cinematic, with very considered lighting and camera movements. The animations themselves are very dramatic and gripping. There seems to often be an emphasis on realism and detail. It really is hard to pin down one segment of reel to elaborate on, as the overall video is so powerful. Remaining on the subject of cinematic approaches however, the segments from what appears to 'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed' are rather impressive. at 2:38, we see a character pull back his hood. My first impressions of the scene is that the cloaked figure is dark and corrupt. The lighting implies this as the key light is rather strong, creating strong shadows below the subject's eyes. A fill light appears to have been used, but only very subtly. This leaves the character's face quiet heavily in shadow. To make the figure pop out from the shot, a soft blue edge light is generated from a light within the backdrop. Overall, the figure in the shot is left looking very mysterious and uninviting. In some of the proceeding shots from the same segment, we can also see what appears to be volumetric lighting. If you pause around 2:46, you can see beams of cool blue light pouring over the large creature in the shot. There seems to be a theme running throughout the short Star Wars segment. The strong use of cool blue lighting is perhaps used to generate a cold chilling feel, as I believe the game focuses on the dark side of the 'force'.

Overall, within this reel there are some stunning examples of mood lighting and fantastic renders. Some of the sequences appear hyper realistic and ultra moody, creating a very impressive collection of clips. I now feel inspired to experiment with lighting in Maya and render out my scenes.

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