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Color grading and process

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, September 14, 2017 Under: WIP
Hey all!
This week's vlog!


GOD is so great!

  - Color Grading
    I watched an amazing presentation on color grading a while back. An absolutely brilliant colorist spoke about using various equipment to color grade and how you can actually grade something with much much higher accuracy if you look first at the equipment and know what you're going for. It kinda works like a read-out that shows you where everything is at and how strong everything is and where there is room for improvement. You could say it's a way around the bias.

   In Blender we have the adjustment layer effect strip (I know, quite a mouth full but could not be more aptly named). We also have access to those same tools that he had spoken about in the video (things like the histogram) and of course the tools to adjust the parameters we're looking at.

   After struggling for quite a while trying to make more out of the footage I have for Exodus, I got a little frustrated and went online to see if I was missing something (you know, 5 steps to a perfect color grade type of thing, haha). And nothing really. They all pretty much have the same approach: Get the contrast right, adjust the mid tones and add color where needed. Of course there is a lot more to it and it is a drastic over simplification, but if your footage is clean and well lit and fairly neutral already, then it really can be that simple (yey for all-CG work, haha).

   It does bring me very neatly to my next point though...

 - A switch for the edit
   Well, this is something I really really hate doing, but unfortunately, I have no other practical option. In the build of 2.77a that I use for the animation and processing of Exodus, there is a bug in the system as it relates to the very layer we spoke about above. Indeed, the adjustment layer effect strip causes Blender to crash. Not super consistently, but enough so that I can't use it, because it won't finish a render (it usually happens when it attempts to adjust nothing).
   Because of this bug and because the encoding properties are much better, I have switched to 2.79 for the edit. Unfortunately, I can't move the animation and such, because someone changed something in Blender Render between 2.77a and 2.79 that causes one of the passes to respond differently (incorrectly for my purposes, haha) to ZTransparency, so it's definitely a no-go (hello reason for not switching versions mid-project!! hahaha).
   There has been a bug or two fixed as far as the audio engine is concerned (and it has been updated a little too), so for that and the slightly new layout, it will be big bonus going forward.

Oh, if you are struggling to get the sound to render right:
 - place your current position at the start of the animation region
 - go into your Scene Settings > Audio
 - Click on Update Animation Cache
 - Click Animation
This refreshes everything the way it's supposed to be and renders out the right volume animation.

 - Water splash testing
   Now, we all know that Moses told Pharaoh he was going to strike the river and, sure enough, he did and GOD turned the water into blood. BUT, what did it look like? How did he strike the water?
   Well, as I felt led, I had to simply see what I would've done. That means getting up, finding a stick and pretending that you are about to strike water and make it turn into blood. So:
- Don't stand too close!
- Don't stand in the water that will become blood in a few seconds!
- Don't get some on yourself with the striking process, ie strike away from you!
- Don't be afraid to use a bit of force, after all, it is a strike (or smite - which generally means to strike dead - that takes some considerable force).
   That means, practically, we can be going for something similar to a golf swing with a single hand.

But what of the splash?!
   This is a bit of a mixed bag, because in testing it, it does not produce a very big splash - as in at all. You get a lot of spray, but very little in terms of that water surface skinning effect... Which was quite disappointing, but I do believe that GOD had it be that way to emphasize that it wasn't Moses or the stick that was the one doing it - too weak.
   The best thing to do here then is to focus on the splash that is there and the spray that comes as a result and to do it in a way that is visually appealing.

I did various tests on this to see what looks best and honestly, it's something that isn't very spectacular and it has to be amplified or made to look as cool as possible. I tried the fluid sim and I tried shape keys and so on. In general, the splashes were just waaay to big and spectacular for a stick hitting the water. If it were a log, it's be a whole different story, but yeah, hahaha.

But, for the sake of interest, I do get to show you guys what the animation for the swing looks like! I referenced myself swinging my great grandad's cane.

 - Re-Render
   I've spoken about having to avoid re-renders and I still stand by that statement. If you don't have to, please don't! hahaha.

   I had to re-render a portion of an animation this week, because of Moses' eyes. I fixed his gaze on the camera, but unfortunately, it also meant that it moved with the camera (very obvious in general, but it causes some major issues if you don't animate the influence!). I did not, and that meant that Moses kept looking at the camera as if looking through his chin, leaving his eyes creepily white and dead (can someone say eeck! hahaha).

   Like I said, it was not the biggest deal, but it certainly did prove to be a lesson in what I parent the gaze to and when! hahaha.

 - A lesson learned
   It bears repeating that we are not as super smart as we think we are. Don't take that as "we're all idiots!". No, haha. I am saying that we don't want to use reference because we think we know what certain things look like to the finest detail - only to be proven wrong time and time again, yet we just don't listen.

   For neither Genesis 1 or Esther 6 did I shoot reference footage of myself (at least not that I can remember) and wow does it show. You can only reference so much by looking at yourself at your desk. Honestly and truly, if you have seen a practice by professional animators in the behind the scenes of a movie (such as filming yourself for reference, using royalty-free footage, hiring a model, etc.), be smart and actually do it. If you know that filming yourself will get you the right movement, then just go do it. You will not like looking at yourself on camera and you will certainly not like hearing yourself, but you will also get over it and you will learn to appreciate it.

   Some animators use a mirror on their desk to animate mouths and I am certainly considering getting one for my desk, because I can also do with some drastic improvements on the mouth's animation (you can only get so far with over-pronunciation and "feeling it", haha).

   Again - please don't spend years re-inventing the wheel. If you can get there faster with integrity and an honest way, do so. I can tell you to do it, because I have started doing it as well. Even for basic things film yourself - you'll be amazed at the nuances you pick up.

 - Defocus,... again, hahaha.
   I also got to work on two defocus nodes this week. I got to demo both in the video, so I encourage you to check those out, but the point I want to make is that while there are now roughly 4 defocus nodes, each one has a very very specific purpose and the most recent ones can still stand to be improved, hahaha. I also have an idea for another defocus node, also based on the bokeh blur, but that's for a different time.

Anyhow, that is it for this week's post - a lot got done this week, so I am just so thankful for everyone who reads, comments and watches! Thank you!

Biggest thanx to GOD for helping me with this. Without HIM, none of this would be possible! :D

Know JESUS yet? GOD is reaching out to you through these videos. HE loves you more than you can imagine and wants you to know HIM. Not because HE's lonely, but because HE loves you and paid a heavy price to enable you to go to Heaven, where HE is. See, we all have sinned in some way shape or form. That makes us guilty before GOD. If you have ever said that you hated someone, in GOD's standard, you have committed murder (James 4). If you've ever looked on a person with lustful thinking, you've already committed fornication with them in your heart and you are then guilty of sexual impurity. If you were to face GOD on judgement day, saying: "I was a good person" will be a void argument, just like it would be before a human judge. GOD knew that we would have to pay that penalty and that we could not pay it, even if we tried, but sent JESUS to pay the price for us. Your sins were put on HIM and the forgiveness that is there for you was by no means cheap - the cross was not padded and comfortable, neither was the death.
But, HE was raised up on the third day (after being crucified) and finished the work so that we may enter through HIM paying the penalty we were supposed to pay, but it is only valid for you, if you accept it and live for HIM.
If that is you today, please, follow this prayer:
"JESUS, I believe that YOU are real and I believe YOU died for me and was raised on the third day for me. Please forgive me for my many sins. I make YOU the LORD of my life, full time and to fill me with YOUR HOLY SPIRIT. Teach me how to live for YOU, help me become what YOU have made me to be, in JESUS' Name! Amen!"

To find out more, you can check out this link:
http://www.crossallegiance.org/knowJesus.html
It gives you access to free Bible translations, free teaching videos and more. Remember, this is a decision with eternal consequence, choose life, choose JESUS. :D

Have a great one!!!

Thank YOU!!!!!!

In : WIP 


Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  blender  anime  exodus  7-12  kjv  progress  wip  foley  visual progress  pharaoh  moses  water  swing  cane  bokeh  defocus 

About Me


Marius Oberholster Hey all! I've been doing CG work full-time since 2011. GOD has been with me, supported me and taught me all the way. HE tells us to do all things as unto the LORD and that is my goal. I do whatever I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is leading me to do and it's not always easy, but it's always worth it to be obedient! JESUS is awesome!! If you don't know HIM yet, follow the link above!

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