Green-screen shoots with composited 3D animations always present their own set of issues. Trends in the industry require better work in less time. Efficient post production processes and creative technical problem solving skills are becoming more and more important. We are always looking for new ways to produce the highest level design and animation, while speeding up our work-flow and making revisions as smooth a process as possible. Sometimes this means finding new tools, such as Magic Preview* that speeds up Cinema 4D work-flow, or other times it involves approaching technical hurdles with creativity.

Magic Preview has become a staple for our 3D design and animation team and that will be covered in its own blog post soon, so check back!

Even though the shots in our Bar Rescue promo were essentially identical from a production standpoint, each required its own technical approach to bring out the best results. We have included some of our most “creative” executions of scenes below as individual breakdowns. Hopefully this helps you out next time you are faced with some challenging shots to pull off in only a few days.

Burger Breakdown

To execute this scene, we couldn’t exactly drop flaming burgers on our talent, obviously. We decided on using a bar tray, weighted with bean bags to add realism in the talent’s movement when the burgers hit the tray. In this scene, we dropped bean bags from a ladder to simulate the impact of flaming, over-cooked burgers. The footage was then 3D tracked to extract the motion of the tray. The tracking was achieved by placing a circular guide spline in C4D over the footage and aligning it to the proportions of the tray, frame by frame. By knowing that the tray didn’t really move in the z-axis or twist along the y-axis, that allowed us to hand track its movements without pulling our hair out.

This provided a rough object track that we could tweak for the rest of the animation (addition of a new tray, burgers, and smoke simulation in TFD). The 3D burgers falling were then timed to match the falling bean bags and the rest of the animation fell into place, all without having to make a trip to the burn unit.

Beer Wall Breakdown

As Taffer walks into the scene an impressive wall of beer taps is erected behind him, full of variation and at a staggering scale. This scene was difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, we had to figure out a way to procedurally create a wall of thousands of beers taps that were each unique. Secondly, do it in such a way that was relatively low-poly so that the scene ran smoothly during production. Our solution came in the form of Cinema 4D’s Mograph features. To begin, ten simple low poly beer taps were created and then textured with materials that were comprised of a series of stacked multi/variation shaders. Through this method we were able to quickly randomize beer tap attributes and create a system that allowed for 2160 different tap combinations.

Martini Breakdown

This was one of the more demanding scenes to accomplish because of the many actions that were based in dynamics and/or had to be cheated to appear so. Coins falling, cards intricately building, and of course a realistic martini splashing, all in under 6 seconds. With all of these complex dynamics simulations needing to occur harmoniously inside of the same scene, our main approach was a lot of baking and caching. Once the individual actions were baked, they could be reincorporated into the scene from various animators and re-timed so that everything moved fluidly. One animation that was made easier through the use of dynamics was the cards building up into a pyramid. The cards were positioned into their final shape and then a simulation was run to see where they fell, this simulation was then baked and reversed. A few prominent cards were hand animated into place for visual interest and to keep up the energy of the shot. A very intricate animation built on the coattails of a realistic simulation, all without one card intersecting was the result.