Team Lightning Final

I had a lot of fun working on this project! It was great working with my team and getting feedback from the mentors at The Mill. I learned a lot about Houdini, Redshift, lighting, and CG compositing.

Here is our final edit:

Here is the breakdown for the compositing work I did:

To recap what I’ve been doing for comp, I adjusted the AOVs with separate light groups to refine the look of the shots, added subtle camera shake in some shots, added bloom, lens flares, and other subtle lens effects like distortion and chromatic aberration.

Shots 1 and 4 have some additional work in Nuke’s 3D system. Shot 1 has some smoke elements laid in cards to catch the volumetric and give the scene some atmosphere. It’s particularly visible when the main lightning strike hits the car. I used the CurveTool node in Nuke to get the average value of each frame from the lightning emission AOV and linked it to the mix on a grade node on the smoke elements to adjust the amount of light the smoke was catching.

Additionally, I used a tool from Chris Fryer called GodRaysProjector to get 3D volumetric light rays in Nuke. This way gave us more control over the shape of the light then rendering volumes out of Redshift, which was necessary for this shot with the front of the car being so close to camera. Chris Fryer also developed a tool called TrueExponentialGlow that I used in all the shots to get the correct falloff on the bloom.

For Shot 4, I faked the glass on the display case in comp. I used the camera exported from Houdini and placed a card of an image of a room at the distance I thought the wall opposite the display case should be. I used the display case geometry to place another card where the glass should be. On that card, I put a dirty glass texture. I also used that card as a mask for the far away card of the room image. Attaching all of these to separate scanline renders allowed me to adjust the merge operations to create the effect of glass on the front of our display case.

Another thing I’d like to touch on are lens flares. I really enjoy these sorts of effects as someone who likes to practice photography. I’m very interested in any effect, no matter how minor that makes an image look as if it were photographed by an actual camera. This was my first time doing lens flares in Nuke. I decided to use a tool from Kyran Bishop called LensEngine. Flares are something that I will likely be doing a lot more research on in the near future for a project I’m working on.

Team Lightning

Drew Daly – lighting, compositing
Thomas Green – look development, lighting
Phirada Kanjanangkulpunt – FX
Thalia Valencia-Murphy – FX

with thanks to

Chris Arya – animation
Aidan Jones – sound design
Amanda Rabade – rigging