Help: Special Effects Newbie

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Darren Harris, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. I want to learn as much as possible about creating visual effects. In
    particular I would like to get into creating “vast”
    landscape scenes, like that seen in adventure films like “Lord
    of the Rings”.

    I’d also like to learn how special effects are created.(Like the
    kind of explosions you see in science fiction films like "Star Trek",
    "Independence Day", ect.

    Can I get recommendations on how to get started learning about this
    kind of digital editing *on my own*?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 7, 2003
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  2. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    Yes. Watch the "behind-the-scenes" stuff on those DVDs, and pay

    I'm serious.
    Max Volume, Jul 8, 2003
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  3. Darren Harris

    Tim Adams Guest

    Most of those effects are built using one of several 3D animation and
    modeling applications: Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Alias:Wavefront,
    Lightwave, SoftImage, and Discreet's Combustion, to name a few.
    Unfortunately, these programs can be pretty expensive, so just be
    forewarned when you start pricing them.
    Also, keep in mind that it takes a team of visual effects artists
    months to complete the sequences you see in the films you mentioned;
    however, if you are determined to do it, keep at it, and you'll
    eventually learn what you need to know.
    As far as explosions, there are royalty-free media packages that deal
    specifically with different explosions and fire elements that you can
    use in any project, as long as you have a LEGAL copy of the media.
    I'm not sure if they offer them on DVD yet, but I know they have
    CD-ROM packages that you can check into. Try B&H or Markertek to
    start your search.
    As far as landscape scenes, get to know Photoshop and Illustrator
    really well, as well as Painter and After Effects. A basic
    understanding of 3D modeling will be something you'll need as well
    before you can really start getting into the creation of landscapes.
    Just keep in mind that every visual effect you do will have to be
    created one frame at a time, and will take a while, even when you get
    really good. You might also try and see if there are any local groups
    that meet in your local area. I think there's an Art Institute in New
    York, you might call them up and see if there are any student meetings
    you could sit in on and learn from or something.
    Max is on the right track, watch the DVD behind-the-scenes to get a
    grasp of what kind of work is involved in creating the effects, but
    the knowledge you'll need goes far beyond just that. Also keep in
    mind that in editing the footage, the editor cut out most of what
    visual effects artist talks about as far as how much work really goes
    into one visual effects sequence.
    Anyway, hope that helped.
    Tim Adams, Jul 9, 2003
  4. Like I mentioned, I've seen enough behind-the-scenes footage shorts to
    get an idea of how much time and effort goes into creating a lot of

    But since one can only learn so much that way, I was hoping to find
    other materials that show °exactly° how certain things are done.

    To give an idea of one of the things I want to do. I will need to
    create and then videotape "miniature" artificial landscapes. The goal
    will be to make them look vast and realistic.(ie: 3D).

    The foreground of a scene will be relatively flat, but anything of
    structure will probably have to be videotaped up close and then push
    into the background of the scene. The entire scene will be edited for
    a feel involving distance.

    Of course, I'll have to videotape the scene's foreground, as well as
    the makeshift sky separately, and then combine everything.

    The resulting video clip will show a 3 second pan across the
    landscape, which will be about two screen lengths.


    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.

    Darren Harris, Jul 16, 2003
  5. Like I mentioned, I've seen enough behind-the-scenes footage shorts to
    You may start with

    Marleny Nunez, Jul 16, 2003
  6. Thanks.

    Okay. I've come across some stuff that I can't view and read totally
    because of the pc problems I have, but from what I can tell, many
    things are "top secret", and the only way to learn is to actually work
    for a special effects deparment.

    Nevertheless, I failed to mention that I do have both "Industrial
    Light & Magic" books("The Art Of Special Effects" & "Into The Digital
    Realm"). I will continue to search for the best way to create
    artificial landscapes(and skys) *before* digitally videotaping them
    for my purposes.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.

    Darren Harris, Jul 19, 2003
  7. Darren Harris

    Seattle Eric Guest

    You're looking for some 3d help--- WHY not just hire someone (who's spent a whole hell of a lot more time than
    you'd be well advised to spend mastering these esoteric skills) to do it right? There's a REASON why special effects
    credits are so long-- sheesh.
    Seattle Eric, Jul 20, 2003
  8. Bullshit. I don't know where you got that idea, but it's crap. The
    Max Volume: I have no idea what all that was referring to, but since
    you didn't understand what I said, let me attempt to go over this

    I am *not* going to buy a DVD player and then go around looking for
    DVDs in a "crap-shoot" attempt to pick up bits and pieces of
    information relating to what I am looking for. I've already said twice
    that I've seen some of these behind-the-scenes shorts in the movies
    that have effects of interest to me, and there just wasn't enough
    detail given.

    I never said this was supposed to be easy. But if you knew of no
    in-depth tutorials on specifcally *what I want to do*, and in a
    specific location(site or book), then that is all you had to say.
    Seattle Eric: You're the third one to say hire someone, which tells me
    you also didn't understand what I was asking. I made the decision to
    learn this, because that was my intent. If you would consider a
    project like this too much for you then that would be your perogative.
    MSu1049321 : I'll have to do some research on Bryce and View D'
    Esprit. But as I mentioned, what I wanted to do, which is in three
    parts, is 1) build the articial landscapes. 2) Digitally video them.
    3) And *then* edit(for realism). There will be no claymation or
    conventional animation involved.

    But since you said that most people do artificial landscapes digitally
    now, did you mean video landscapes or just stills? I was thinking in
    terms of building the miniature landscapes *before* going digital
    because I was under the impression that doing it this was produces the
    most realistic end result. But correct me if I am wrong.

    Remeber, this is a video I am creating. There is no movement in the
    landscape scene. Just the panning of the camera.

    Thanks a lot.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 21, 2003
  9. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    Dude, you obviously don't realize just HOW wrong you are, and you won't
    listen to anyone who's trying to tell you. Just because I'm a nice
    guy, I'm gonna clue you in to a little secret. When you build a
    fucking landscape in 3D, you can pan all you want, because it actually
    exists in 3D space. I don't know how much more movement you want,
    unless it's fucking dancing mountains or something, which could be
    achieved in Lightwave. Simply put, you're in way over your fucking
    head, and you'd be better off hiring a professional.
    Max Volume, Jul 21, 2003
  10. The question concerned what produces the more realistic end result.
    1)Building the miniature landscape before using a videocamera on it,
    *or* 2)creating it from scratch, from scanned in images on one's pc.

    I already said that there would be no movement within the scene. The
    only move ment would be the "panning".

    And I'll say it again in a different way in hopes you can understand
    this time. I want to learn how to do this myself. I need the
    knowledge. Hiring a professional doesn't help me one bit, because this
    is about me creating and working my ideas into a finished product.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 21, 2003
  11. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    Sorry, but we've already seen that you're too dense to be taught
    anything, so we've given up on trying.
    Max Volume, Jul 21, 2003
  12. Darren Harris

    Evander Guest

    I'm coming into this thread late so bear with me. Why the need to create a
    landscape miniature for panning?

    Evander, Jul 21, 2003
  13. Sorry, but we've already seen that you're too dense to be taught
    Are you going to be a jackass your whole life. I know you from RGVAC.
    Why don't you harrass someone else?

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 21, 2003
  14. "There are hardly any ready-made tutorials on special-fx." That
    statement pretty much answers my original question(which makes most of
    this thread unnecessary). Thanks.

    And again. Hiring a professional is not an option. That would would be
    like hiring an a lawyer to teach me how to practice law.(Now if you
    are rich, then okay, but for a normal person, that is ridiculous.
    I understand all that. But if I use software to generate landscapes,
    then I won't need to build and video an artificial scene to get the
    source material I want to work with, and vice-versa. So I am still
    looking for an answer on which is the best of these two ways to
    approach this for getting the most realistic end product.

    Thanks a lot.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 21, 2003
  15. On 21 Jul 2003 13:53:26 -0700, (Darren Harris)

    Yes, I know you said that already :) But next time if you got the
    budget, go for the pro.

    Well, again, it is what you find acceptable as being realistic. Try
    out Terragen, it might be what you need, and it's free for personal
    non-commercial use (and
    registration for commercial use is only US$79, which is cheaper then
    the money you would spend on building a realistic looking landscape).


    Martin Heffels, Jul 22, 2003
  16. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    Because you're the moron of the month. Someone else posts something
    just as ignorant as what you did, I'll go harass them.
    What, this is supposed to impress me???
    Max Volume, Jul 22, 2003
  17. Darren Harris

    Mike Fields Guest

    Darren -- don't bother arguing with Max -- he is like the Seti Project --
    people spend their whole life listening to the noise looking for a sign of
    intelligence (none found so far ... )

    Mike "mikey" Fields
    outgoing email scanned by Norton Antivirus ... is that good ?

    Linux users brag on how long their system stays up,
    Window users assume it's a temporary condition ...
    Mike Fields, Jul 22, 2003
  18. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    Hey, at least that's an ORIGINAL insult. Two marks.
    Max Volume, Jul 22, 2003
  19. It's my road. And again, animation is not the issue I am dealing with.
    Your existence in this thread has been a waste of bandwidth and geared
    to cause trouble. From now on I'll expect intelligent people who
    actually have the answers to respond.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
    Darren Harris, Jul 22, 2003
  20. Darren Harris

    Max Volume Guest

    No, what you expect is for someone to hold your hand through the
    process. Ain't gonna happen.

    Ever wonder why more and more people leave automotive maintenance to
    the professionals and there are fewer "shade tree mechanics" than ever?

    One word. Computers.
    Max Volume, Jul 23, 2003
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