Week 7: Scaling Up
Updated: May 11
During week 7, our group decided to start rendering in our full resolution of 1920x1080 to test any pipeline or render issues that came up from the resolution change. We also added variation to the train windows and adjusted lighting in shot 4. As the compositor, I focused on redoing/refining color correction and depth of field to make sure that everything felt integrated and accurate. In particular, I worked with creating contrast and adjusting black values across the shots. Our sound designer Yash also created a new sound pass for us that had a more relaxed, acoustic sound that matched both the Amtrak brand and our own visuals/assets. In the upcoming week, we plan to fix render sampling/noise issues overall as well as specular fireflies on the guitar strings in shot 2. We also want to decrease the bump on the amp texture that got changed by accident and add the rest of the missing sound effects to finalize the commercial. I'll be gone during this upcoming weekend visiting family, so I will have less progress for week 9 and will refine everything before I leave and during the time between week 9-10.
Depth of Field & Color Contrast on Shot 1 and 4:
On shot 1, I added a vignette on the top right in Nuke using a roto shape to help frame the train in the composition and adjusted the depth of field to be less bladed and more subtle/round. Additionally in shot 1, the windows were rendered without any brightness variation, which I created with a masked noise pattern in Nuke.
Creating the Vignette:
Shot 1 Window Mask with Noise:
In shot 4, Amanda and I worked together to give the stage a better sense of depth and dark areas. She did this by reducing cone angles on the spotlights , which reduced the intensity of the overall atmosphere as well. I then used a color correction node and changed gamma to enhance the dark areas. I also adjusted the color on the crowd and used my luma key/grade to keep some of the rim lighting on each person.
Based on last week's feedback, I also worked with making the depth of field on the confetti more accurate between the 3 render passes (middle pass more in focus) and darkened the areas further from the lights and over the crowd to match the lighting.
Before Contrast: (from week 6):
After Contrast: (current):
Original Beauty Render for Shot 4:
Adding Smoke Texture in Shots 3-4:
One of our critiques last week had to do with the transitions in shot 3-4 being too blown out and lacking a sense of texture in the white areas. To fix this problem, I multiplied a noise pattern into the white areas and keyframed it to create a more subtle light effect. For shot 4, I used a roto to mask the noise only into the area of the light itself and animated it to exist only within the duration of the light transition.
One problem I ran into is that the smoke render was extremely overexposed/blown out and the transition happened within only about 7 frames. Next week, Gen is going to lower the exposure on the smoke pass so that it's easier to get a longer and more detailed transition in shot 3.
Before and After adding noise (final frame):
Noise over Atmosphere Layer:
Troubleshooting the Renderfarm:
This week, we had a lot of issues with the render farm. We made sure to start rendering early since the farm was busy with around 40 jobs in queue the entire weekend. We got shot 1 out without any issues but soon ran into 2 hour kill issues with certain frames across shots 2 and 4. We were able to re render the missing frames using a combination of resubmitting to the farm and locally rendering on the SCAD remote vlab. When resubmitting to the farm, we ran into issues with the frames not showing up in the folders for upwards of 20 hours. Because of this, as the compositor, file transferring and checking render issues ended up taking a lot more of my time than I anticipated. In total this week, I transferred over 1,600 files from my group members. This next week, I want to back up all of our 1080p renders on Dropbox and make all of my Nuke read nodes relative so the other group members can easily open and access them.
Scaling the Crowd:
Scaling the crowd to fit with our new 1080p comp was more of a challenge than I originally anticipated. For one, when I changed the project settings to 1080p, the rotos were off, which I was able to fix using a reformat node set to scale at 1.5x. After that, I realized that in my last comp, I had the crowd at 1080p resolution and was merging them over the 1280x720 background. Therefore, in order to keep the crowd looking the same with the 1080p background, I had to also scale it 1.5x and then transform it to get it to a similar place as before.
Transferring gizmos between team members:
Because I will be away from my computer next weekend, I wanted to get a head start on making sure that all of my compositing files would be available for my group. The most challenging part of this, aside from uploading all the green screen sequences to Dropbox, was making sure the flare gizmo I used (AutoFlare 2.2 by Vincent Wauters) would be accessible by my group if I was gone. First, I tried to turn the gizmo into a group to make it local to the script, but this didn't work since it was reading images from a folder in the gizmo package. In the end, I was able to modify the menu.py and init.py scripts for my group to add to their own computers.
#add folder in .nuke called gizmos
#Autoflare gizmo - put AutoFlare2.2 folder and BOKEHS folder inside "gizmos" folder nuke.pluginAddPath('./gizmos/AutoFlare2.2')
nuke.pluginAddPath('./gizmos/BOKEHS') nuke.pluginAddPath('./gizmos/BOKEHS/polygons') Thanks for reading!