Monday, November 2, 2009
So, Julio wanted to know how I put myself in a spider's web...
...but stupidly time consuming.
First off, I had the idea.
Then I went around my parents house trying to film a black widow in it's web. Unfortunately they don't like people or lights so they all retreated to their hidey holes before I could get a camera close enough to them to video what I wanted. When I pulled apart one of their webs I flushed one out and it began climbing up the wall it's web was built at the base of. I managed to get a couple of really close up stills of it on the wall...
I thought ^this^ shot looked cool, so I decided that instead of using video of a spider I would make a puppet out of this image and move it around in after effects. I very carefully separated the spider from the background in photoshop.
I think little details are endlessly beautiful so I really took my time with this. These details never quite made it into the video because I ended up having render at draft quality in order to get it done in time, but I don't care because I really enjoyed this process. The front legs and pedipalps and mandibles were broken up into layers for animating in after effects.
Now I needed a web. Fortunately my mom had an old bag of fake spider web in her halloween decorations box. I stole it, stretched it in front of my bluescreen (which was already set up because I'm in the middle of shooting stuff for that bagpipe music video), shot a couple stills, and then wrapped some of it around a rolled up t-shirt for a cocoon.
The final element was me. This should've been lit better as it didn't key very well, but I was in a hurry and ultimately I just didn't care enough. Anyway here I am in front of the bluescreen, spider webs and blood on face, quietly lip-synching while my parents sleep blissfully and unaware of their weirdo son pretending to be eaten by a giant spider a few rooms over...
In after effects the webs were keyed and matted and layered to create the cocoon web environment that the spider and I would be dropped on top of. I later exported this background as a single photoshop layer to reduce render time (you know, so that after effects isn't running through the process of keying the SAME image for every frame of the video)
The plate of me was also keyed (crappily), matted, and layered in with the spider webs, with a couple layers over me to help blend it all in. The spider was animated with some really basic movement of the front legs and mandibles. I also goofed around with the puppet pin tool to give the other legs and the body some squirmy munchy movements, but I ultimately had to turn that effect off because the puppet pin tool vastly increases render times. So all you really see in the finished vid are some really basic front legs movements done by just rotating the layers at the joints.
The final step was layering on some other photos with good color texture to give everything that nice halloweeny orange/black lighting feel. I used this spider picture,
and this picture of the glaze from one of my pieces of ceramics,
The layers were both brightness/contrast and hue/saturation adjusted, the top one was set to 'multiply color mode', while the ceramic glaze one was set to 'classic color dodge color mode', and their opacity was animated (to make the lighting seem to flicker). Another almost white color solid was then layered on to highlight my face. The final color/lighting result looked like this:
Up until this point I'd been working in a big composition (1900x1700) so as to allow enough room to work with the hi-res stills. This big composition was then dropped into a DV-Ntsc comp and framed up. Unfortunately because I had removed all my puppet-pin animation on the spider the spider movement looked really simple and crappy, so I decided to frame tight so as not to show all the badness.
This comp was then exported while I slept for a few hours. When I woke up I took what was done rendering and edited it into my FinalCut sequence with all the footage of me tromping around in the park.
Hope you enjoy!
Whugh. Long post. Sorry to anyone who gets bumped off the front page by it. Hrm...
Posted by Historian at 1:28 PM