Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Deep Compositing

Have You Seen Those Amazing Composited Images In The Movies?
For a long time, the movie industry would hire visual effect houses to create these beautiful Scenes and add in elements to a movies story. Things like set extensions, overlays, masks and other sisual effects were often done by major names like Weta Digital, Animal Logic, MPC, ILM, FUEL VFX and others.

But what happens when after a shot is considered finished and now it's time to get the directors opinion? Often, when a shot is delivered to the main production studio, the directer with "I like the shot, but it would be better if..." "that character's face wasn't so dark?", or "if I could see through that dust cloud a little bit easier" or " if the camera were a little more to the left?" yadayadayada.....
Usually, these minor changes are the major headache for Visual Effect Compositors because they would make the small change. and have to render the entire scene to see if it was any better. (Just imagine how much time that would take on a major battle scene where hundreds of characters are fighting, and we need to just move one of the characters to the left!)

In 2010 a group of compositors reviled a remedy to this headache. After researching for a number of years, their solution is today known as Deep Compositing. In a Deep Composited image, every pixel in an image has not only a Red Green Blue and Transparency value, but also a depth value in the scene. This minor change makes the entire work flow unbelievably faster. The video below describes the concept:

Using Deep Compositing, making and update to a little part of the scene was now faster than ever before.
This Semester, I am taking an experimental Course in Maya Animation, and a majority of the curriculum is based on what technical achievement by some group of people made a program like Maya function the way it does today. In the same way I see that there are compositing techniques that are still being developed and seeing that research is still being done inspires me to continue my pursuits as an Emerging Media degree.

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