I should preface this by saying I don’t think the “Minority Report UI” is a great idea, at all, in terms of real-world usability (this article sums up some reasons why). But nonetheless, it looks pretty cool and has become widespread in sci-fi films and television shows, and even things like CSI:Miami. So, of course, I had to take a crack at it.
I’ve been curious to try out fluid dynamics simulations in a 3D package for a while now. The image above is my first test using RealFlow together with Cinema 4D. It’s a very powerful tool, but also one that is very demanding on hardware. RealFlow works as a standalone program, but I started inside of C4D, to create my name as a 3d object, which I imported to RealFlow to serve as my “container,” so to speak.
I’d like to show you the full animation, but with Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion on (for the uninitiated, basically settings that help renders look richer, and more realistic), outputting this single frame on my laptop (never the ideal setup for 3D) took long enough. I likely would have had better luck with my trusty old Mac Pro tower, but really, this served as a reminder that it’s probably a good time for an upgrade! Long render times have never stopped me from trying things in the past though, so even if I have to leave my system running over night, I plan to explore this tool further.
Here is another pass of the same simulation, textured more to resemble clear, natural H2O:
As a fan of sci-fi, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of portals. In honor of TV shows and films like Sliders and Stargate, here’s a test of Cesar going through a portal, from an undisclosed location in Downtown Los Angeles, to… well, the verdict is still out on that one.
The motion tests continue with more footage from the same shoot as my earlier fireball test. My laptop recently died on me, but luckily I was able to salvage the files. Thanks to Cesar Vargas again for his acting skills, he got totally into it. This is a rough cut of a motion tracking and particle generator test (using Trapcode Particular). I haven’t even gotten to rough sound effects yet. I used the built-in tracker in After Effects, but I had to do a fair amount of hand correction/roto to get it to work right. The crossing of arms didn’t exactly help. Look closely and you’ll notice I have masked out the intersections to create a slightly more convincing fiery hand effect. I know, you thought he really had superpowers.
Just a basic VFX test shot, set up as simply as possible (stationary, on a tripod). My main priority here, and in most video/motion tests you may see throughout my blog, is practicing techniques and tools to achieve effects I find cool. But I do need to get around to practicing some storytelling at some point. My subject for this was my friend and fellow designer from my UCLA Design/Media Art days, Cesar Vargas.
Here I used Trapcode Form to create the main fireball, and combined it with some other canned effects (glows, blurs, and animated masks/solids, inside of After Effects), to create a Street Fighter 2/comic book inspired fiery orb that Cesar grows and throws (yes cheesy rhyme intended). I shot the video with my Canon 60D in the Downtown LA area.