Client Project Progress

Theater Lighting

I realized I haven’t posted any client project stuff up yet. Reason for this is because I didn’t want to post up a load of junk, I’ve been spending a lot of time tweaking the lighting and rendering methods because I don’t have a lot of time to render the sequence so finding the balance between rendering times and quality was really important.

Its only one week until the deadline for this project and I think I’m on track, I currently have 1 minute 35 sec of fully composted footage.

I’ve already learnt loads of new techniques, one for example is the use of Depth of Field. Simon at Hot Knife showed me this great tutorial on how to get realistic lighting but it also shows how to set up Max to export the Z-Depth of an image which can then be used in After Effects to created DOF super fast.

Below is an example of how the theater is looking. This is a high res still taken during the dynamic lighting sequence. You can see how the use of Mental Ray and DOF gives the image more realism. I’m not going for photo realistic renders here I wanted to keep textures simple so rendering times wouldn’t sky rocket also texturing isn’t my strongest point and the purpose of this project is to improve on my post production skills.



I wanted to have a video playing on the dome as the camera panned round the theatre. One idea I had was to pan round a cluster of stars.

Here’s a still of the final composite.

Stars on dome

I did this by first creating a Pcloud in Max I made sure the particles didn’t move and then I animated a camera panning around it.

Stars in Max

Because the dome is half a sphere the image that will be projected on it needs to be a 180 degree fisheye image. Max doesn’t have an option to render out a 180 image like this so I had to get hold of a render plugin called Final Render. This has an option to replace the Max camera with a fisheye lens. I took me a while to get the correct settings but I worked it out in the end.

Here’s the 180 fish eye render of the stars, I added some blue glow to make it look a bit more awesome!

Star render

Then I just used this as a texture on the inside of the dome and rendered out the sequence.

Below are more stills from the current animation. I don’t have time to fully write about the techniques I used to create these effects but every shot here has been altered in some way in After Effects.

The Smoke and Snow were added as separate layers in AE because its a lot more flexible than trying to produce the same effect in Max.

Snow EffectsSmoke Effects

I created the following aluminium texture in Photoshop as a background when the render doesn’t take up the whole screen. You can also see a vignetting mask I created to darken the edges of the video. This is a popular style at the moment and it seems to work well in this case.

Seat EffectsDynamic Seat lighting

Aluminium Texture.

I used a wire frame overlay on one section to define the shape of the dome. This worked rea
lly well. The laser section was nearly all created in AE. I started out with a very basic render of the scene and a simple animation of some extruded lines. Then applied lots of filters to create the glow and colour of the lasers.

Wire Frame overlayLaser Effects

Any comments or suggestions are welcome :)