Underwater Editing

This week I continued down the path of 3D modeling. However, the biggest focal point of the week was how to generate a water atmosphere in post with After Effects. As I was researching, I was really intrigued by the way Aquaman was developed with the actors acting in front of a blue or green screen and CGI being added after to do their hair and background. I thus began to look into the film as well as how to generate my own edits on content I already have.

Fortunately for me, there were many people interested in the same effects on YouTube. One of the problems with some of the tutorials was the need of expensive plug-ins. However, even with plug-ins I did not have, I learned how to navigate and consider certain components in After Effects that would help with layering, especially when normalizing 3D planes in the software and setting up tracking around it. Below is one of the tutorials without plug-ins. It was simple and easy to follow, so I started applying these techniques in my own test video.

Based on the tutorial above and a few other tutorials, I tried to do a quick mock-up of possible techniques for editing water on a scene from the 5-week project. Obviously, there are certain effects that do not show up well or are not masked well, but I gained a lot of insight on valuable tools to add an extra layer to what will be made and rendered in Maya. I think things like turbulence I could pay more attention to as it is super subtle and could probably be bumped up an increment or two. One thing I will better consider in the future is if I use plants, I need to make sure they move with the camera. At the time when I made this, I was just curious if I could (1) get a picture to animate and (2) add a layer of depth. The biggest problem for me is how to get the depth in the background, which is probably something I will focus more on in Maya.

In terms of 3D modeling, I built two more scenes instead of just the one I had started on in the previous week. I was able to reuse the roof and change up the ornamentation for each purpose. I still have a lot I need to do in the scenes mainly in the last one with the pillars and floating roof. I am still working on building a better lotus and a lot of the details, like on the columns and the chair, are not yet present.

The current needs are to start testing glowing lights in the scene and how it works in the materials. The lotus and sphere in the third image above are suppose to glow, and when added into darker, underwater lighting, I want to make sure it all makes sense. Also, understanding how to generate caustic lighting is still on the list as I am having trouble softening it. Lastly for this week, I need to figure out how to create depth in the scenes.

The next steps will be cleaning up and finalizing the 3D modeling in the three scenes and adding textures. On the side, I will also continue to work with different ways to generate atmosphere and more depth as well as lighting. I also want to figure out a better way to incorporate caustics.

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