I'm Ilias Morscher, a student enrolled at Pixl Visn Media Arts Academy in Cologne, Germany.
This project came to life within the span of a single week, serving as my Midterm project for Term 3. At this point, I find myself approximately halfway through my 18-month education journey.
My creative spark for three of the shots was ignited by the game "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice."
Special about the project
I used to tackle everything in full CG, often spending excessive time on minor background elements. This time, I took a different approach by utilizing image planes and camera projections more extensively to optimize my workflow. This shift allowed me to harness efficiency and make smarter choices.
I learned that not everything requires a complete 3D model. For instance, I recognized the value of creating a partial ship model when it's only visible from one angle. However, there's a fine line to tread – overusing these techniques can compromise the quality of a shot. Striking the right balance is crucial.
In retrospect, this project taught me the significance of discerning when to employ such techniques and when to opt for a more traditional approach. Moving forward, I'm excited to incorporate these efficient strategies in my work while remaining mindful of maintaining the overall visual integrity of each shot.
Amongst all the shots, these two proved to be the most time-consuming to render. They contained a multitude of 3D elements. Interestingly, the sky was the sole element created as a plane. The use of volumetric water, while visually impactful, did contribute to the extended render times.
Initially, I envisioned the tree in the second shot engulfed in flames, an element that would have undoubtedly heightened the visual drama. However, time constraints prompted me to devise a workaround. I simulated the burning effect using a flickering emission map. While not as dynamic as actual fire, it achieved the desired effect within the given limitations.
These shots underline the balancing act between ambition and practicality. While rendering complexities and time limitations presented challenges, they also prompted innovative solutions. In the end, this experience underscored the value of adapting and finding creative alternatives when faced with obstacles – an integral lesson in the world of VFX.
This shot stands out as my personal favorite within the animation. Interestingly, it was also the final shot I crafted. By this stage, I had gained a solid grasp of when to leverage image planes and projections versus utilizing full 3D elements to the best effect.
This shot embodies a culmination of lessons learned and insights gained throughout the project. It reflects the progression of my journey in understanding the balance between different techniques. The combination of image planes, projections, and 3D elements resulted in a seamless visual composition.
In a way, this shot encapsulates the growth and evolution of my skills, revealing the culmination of my learning up to that point. It serves as a testament to the value of experimentation, exploration, and the persistent pursuit of improvement in visual effects.
The expansive wooden structure came together through a clever amalgamation of wood board images. This creative process was surprisingly enjoyable and, in my view, yielded a satisfying outcome.
Ship Landing Shot
This shot, to be honest, isn't among my favorites. My decision to construct nearly the entire scene using a plane didn't yield the desired outcome, and it falls short in terms of quality compared to the first two opening shots. Surprisingly, though, it does manage to hold together somewhat.
The scene itself is a bit skewed, requiring me to employ forced perspective to salvage some semblance of visual coherence. This experience underlined the important lesson that not everything can be effectively executed using planes alone. It's a reminder that the right approach depends on the context and desired outcome.
While this shot might not meet my expectations, it offered valuable insights that I can carry forward in my VFX journey. It's a testament to the iterative nature of creative processes – sometimes, the most important lessons are learned through challenges and experiments that don't go as planned.
Creating this shot was an absolute blast, even though it ventures into randomness. Despite its quirky nature, the process was incredibly enjoyable. However, it did present a challenge in terms of aligning the sky with the camera's upward motion. It required some finessing, but eventually, everything fell into place.
The aspect that truly stood out was the application of the mountain camera projection. This part of the process was a joy to work on, and I was once again amazed by the effectiveness of this technique. It reinforced the notion that camera projections can yield impressive results, even when working with complex elements like mountains.
While the shot might seem unconventional, it highlights the sense of experimentation and discovery that drives my work. It's a reminder that embracing the unexpected and having fun with the process can lead to some surprisingly fun outcomes.
While there are aspects I'd love to tweak, I'm genuinely content with what I accomplished in just 6 days. It's surprising how much I managed to achieve. Through this project, I learned the art of balancing – discerning when to invest substantial effort and when to opt for efficient solutions that still yield impressive results.
This project was an enjoyable endeavor, and I extend my gratitude to Pixl Visn for offering me the chance to challenge myself during these project weeks. These experiences have undoubtedly been the most invaluable learning opportunities.
I appreciate your time in reading about my journey, and if you have any feedback, please feel free to share. This project, with all its ups and downs, encapsulates my growth and passion in the world of VFX. Thank you again for joining me on this adventure.