Compositing Showreel - Kristin Kaas-Lutsberg
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Compositing Showreel - Kristin Kaas-Lutsberg

Kristin Kaas-Lutsberg
by kristinkaaslutsberg on 27 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

My Compositing Showreel with latest projects, some made during my time at CG Spectrum and displaying variety of skills I have learned during my studies.

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Below are my latest showreel and a breakdown of each shot with descriptions.  

One of my favourite parts of compositing is shot look development and coming up with new ideas/details, making the shot look fresh and unique. I have tried to do that with most of my projects below.

Software used: Nuke.

Hope you enjoy!

The Bomb Drop - 3D projected environment

The Bomb Drop was my first shot with an entirely 3D projected environment, made from scratch with a bomb miniature, filmed on greenscreen. All the photos for the environment were taken from the NASA website and blended to create suitable ground and sky.

I wanted to go with a nighttime aerial city scene during war, as I like more moody scenes. The camera follows the bomb on its journey, with more background and explosions revealed as it travels.

To create an illusion of a vast environment, I used clouds at different depths. I have also added some extremely close-up clouds at the beginning of the shot to sell the bomb's speed.

The most challenging part of the shot was creating a fully projected environment. It took a lot of refining to get the geometry placed at the correct place and depth and give an illusion of slightly round/curved ground.

Ground progression. First two had too little detail and were little bit too orange. Last two are some of the final images used in the shot. I used multiple slightly different ground images to create variation.

Train station -  clean-up shot

This shot required extensive clean-up to make it look like a shot from a film taking place at a train station. I have cleaned up the railings in the foreground, moving people in the window and modern-day elements like cables, graffiti and security camera on the door.

After clean up, I have composited in matte painted platform and made up train station sign. As a final tweak, I also changed the clock frame's colour to fit it in better into the scene as there wasn't anything blue in the rest of the environment.

The most challenging part of the clean-up was to remove railings in front of the actor and make it look natural. As he was slightly moving and his clothing had multiple wrinkles creating shadows, I had to use different tracking and transformation techniques to make it work.

The Monster - CG integration

Integrating CG monster into live action plate. The monster had a creepy feel to it, and I wanted the whole shot to emit the eeriness mixed with a little bit of supernatural. I have added fog to the fore- and background and introduced more blue into the darker areas.

As a first step, I added extra torch fire to the torch in the middle and did some clean-up, removing the torch at the bottom left of the shot as the balance/composition seemed off. Clean-up was quite challenging because the torch kept moving around and also cast flickering firelight. I used a combination of curvetool and animated grades to blend the clean-up patch with the changing light into the plate.

Integrating the CG monster into the plate was one of the most challenging parts of the project. CG render was quite different lighting and colour wise from the plate. It took some time by adjusting and tweaking the AOVs to try to sit it in well.

Sci-fi data travel - keying and Nuke particles

The sci-fi shot look development was inspired by the latest Blade Runner and Tron: Legacy films. I wanted the shot to convey that futuristic neon city feel, mixed with the colour palette of Tron film, but in a more subtle, toned-down version. There is also a simplistic storyline, inspired by one of the scenes from Sisyphus: The Myth, the concept of time travel through data transfer.

The main objective was to practise greenscreen keying. However, I wanted to make it look like it could be a clip taken out of a film. For that, I felt it was essential to get a background image which when heavily defocused, would convey a sci-fi feel and at the same time produce interesting shapes. Also, the original lighting on the actor was more lighting seen indoors rather than outdoors. Using grade nodes with masks and matrix node, I toned down some parts and tried to relight her to match the environment.

Another integral part to get right was the data transfer effect itself, as I felt it could make or break the shot if it didn't look right. I created simplistic Nuke particles set up to get the data stream movement, using particles as small squares moving downwards. I used some simplistic math, sine and cosine curves inside the expression node, affecting x and y coordinates and animating with time to get slight movement. I created 2-3 different expression nodes to get more variation in appearance.

I used a similar technique to get the partial hologram effect but only used the x coordinates to produce lines. For both effects, I also blended in some moving noise to break up the edges and used smart vectors to attach the effect to the actor.

The most challenging part of the shot was finding a good background and getting the data transfer effect right. Both required some testing around and tweaking as you go along.


Progress images of the shot with an earlier background.


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