30 September, 2007

Frank Miller Graphic Novel Style

So just a quick art tip, while I was playing around on my drawing tablet, I discovered how to get a really cool Frank Miller, graphic novel look. I simply drew a fairly standard toned arm, with a small narrow brush, to get some chaotic line action round the edges of the shading, and then applied a “charcoal” style half-tone screen filter... and here is the result.

Here is another great effect to try, simply try using any dry-brush simulations on a black canvas. Here I got a nice looking sky-line at night, with a white paint dauber.

27 September, 2007

Lens Distortion Correction for Apple Motion

I've spent the last couple of days working on a Core Image, Image Unit that can correct for radial lens distortion. If you have ever used Apple Shake, then you will know that it had a node that could correct lens distortion on a video source. This feature is missing in Apple's Motion 3, so I thought that if I wrote an Image Unit to do the correction, then it could be used in any program that supported Core Image, including but not limited to Motion, and Final Cut Pro.

I just downloaded and digested a paper I found on the subject of lens distortion correction, it's really quite a good read (see:Automatic Correction of Lens Distortion by Using Digital Image Processing). After that I followed Apple's reasonably well written tutorials on the subject of creating a Core Image plugin: I have to say that the devil is in the details, because it was really hard to find any documentation on non-executable (GPU-only) plugins, for reasons beyond the scope of my knowledge, these simply don't work inside Motion. They work in Core Image Fun House, and Quartz Compositor, but not inside Motion. This got me frustrated enough to think about reprogramming my graphics card with my fists. So in case your wondering, GPU-only Image Units don't work inside Motion 3. (like you care!) I did get it all working in the end, but had to program some Core Image glue code to make all the little micro-chips happy!

Well without further ado, the results:



There is some great software out there, for doing lens distortion correction on still images, if that's what you need I would try Lens-Fix CI (I assume it also uses Core Image). Lens-Fix CI comes with a database full of correction parameters for different optics at different focal lengths. My plugin is more designed with movies in mind, and doesn't come with a sweet user interface.

To correct your images, you'll need to know the calibration polynomial coefficients of your lens — If you have no idea what this means, then twiddle the sliders back and forth until the picture looks right. If you want a mathematically accurate correction, you will need to calibrate your lenses with a grid or something, and probably some software. Google it. Seriously.

You can download the Image Unit (Universal Binary) and Source here: UMLensDistortionCorrection.zip

To install simply copy “UMLensDistortionCorrection.plugin” to “/Library/Graphics/Image Units/” and away you go, it should appear in the category “Distortion Effects”.

26 September, 2007

Creative Commons Music

While poking around on the internet I found a really great site called ccMixter (ccmixter.org)

ccMixter is a site that allows people to share loops (beats, riffs, vocals, etc.) under a Creative Commons license, people can download these samples and mix them into their own songs, which they then upload.

The Creative Commons is an organization that is an advocate for copy-left licenses and ccMixter was started as a site to support freedom of ideas in music. You can go there and simply listen to some of the music, or download it and for use in your next movie. It's a great resource for indy film-makers who would like some free, quality music for their next short film. Many songs are under a non-commercial license so if your planning to sell DVDs or something, you may need to contact the author of the work and ask nicely. (visit: creativecommons.org for more info).

Creative Commons is a really great idea, and we've been seriously thinking about making putting the Identity Man movie under a CC license and distributing it over bit-torrent with an option to buy a DVD, the idea being that people should be able to acquire the movie, and share it with friends unrestricted. But can buy the DVD version, as a way to support Independent Film.

25 September, 2007

Look Ma' Faceless People

Just a quick post of some cool concept art...

Great Script Editing Software

I've been working on the pre-production side of Identity Man, for about a month now, and I've been using a program called Celtx, to create the script. You can download it here www.celtx.com, you won't regret this, it's totally free and comes with the ability to share scripts over the internet, both privately (only selected users can download it, or edit it) or publicly (it gets posted on Celtx: Project Central).

Project Central is a screen-play sharing site, and Celtx allows you to download and upload from within the program, which is incredibly useful, and it's a lot of fun to read the other scripts that are there.

Celtx has a set of features that save a lot of time. One, is the ability to automatically format scripts in studio format. And it can auto-complete character names, which prevents you from having to type the main character's name 100 different times.

I actually discovered Celtx early this year, but I thought I should share it with all the people out there; It's really a great piece of software, and considering it's free and open source, you should really give it a whirl.

So it begins...

So after a some discussion with Ashley, we have decided to work on a film making blog. We'll be posting articles about everything we are doing, on-set and off-set, to make our fresh project "Identity Man" a reality.

Our Identity Man project, is a fictional narrative, based around a protagonist without a face. Through his ability to impersonate people, and aspects of them, he chooses fight crime.

After reading The Watchmen I began thinking about the idea, of "Super-Heroes" who are really quite flawed, deranged, and desensitized. After-which I started working on a concept for a graphic novel, with the idea to take another interesting angle on the old concept of the super hero story. So after a time, and much discussion with Ash and Jack the idea developed in to a movie scheduled to be completed mid-to-late 2008.

Expect a whole host of pictures, movies, and behind the scenes write-ups, for each step along the way to making this move: From the first brain-storm, to the finished product.