Click on a picture to see the
original version or the new version.
For more information about how this shot was created, see below!
Details on the new additions
Here we go with cut number 5. It's a pretty fast shot of an alligator slithering into the water. This presented a variety of problems, not the least of which was dealing with how to animate water!
While I wrestled with the water
issue, Brandi started on the set. Here she has randomly cut the end of
a piece of scrap PVC to form a hollowed out log. A tree limb is then hot
melt glued into place.
To give the log some interesting
grain/bark, Brandi slathers it with DAP vinyl paste.
The log before painting. The
wooden pieces at the back end are to keep it from rolling. ;)
I decided that I wanted the
set to rotate so I'm just using two boards with a single screw in the middle.
The stage will be rotated by hand in about 1/8th inch increments, so I'm
giving the two opposing stage surfaces a coat of paste wax to reduce friction.
When in doubt, use a mirror!
I had some surplus first surface mirrors laying around, so I figured I
would use them for the water. Here I'm anchoring a wooden backing for the
river bank area of the set. Dunno why I look pissed off. I must be deep
More vinyl spackling! Care
had to be taken not to damage the mirrors while we put the set together.
Me attaching some plants to
a wooden stand-off to simulate a tree in the corner of the frame. Having
already shot a couple of jungle sets, we had surplus plants a-plenty as
you can see on the top shelf in the background.
Despite our abundance of foliage,
Brandi found it necessary to swipe some plants from a neighbors front yard
and cut them down for our use. Here she hot melt glues them to the mirror
to simulate reedy plants sprouting from the water. Note the completed log
in the background.
As with some of the other shots,
I decided to just use clay for the alligator. As I knew I would be adding
motion blur, I exagerated the surface detail of the gator and kept the
design simple. The gator in the cartoon was brown but I felt a grey gator
would read better against the sandy river bank. Using clay allowed
me to slice off the gator in sections to provide the illusion of it entering
the water (mirror).
Here is what the set looked
like during the shoot. Click on the picture for a larger view.
To solve the problem of ripples
in the water, I animated a set of expanding concentric rings across an
18 frame repeating cycle. These moved from the center out, like water ripples
would normally do. In Photoshop, I layered up two identical stills for
each frame of the animated gator entering the water. The top layer was
normal but the layer below it I increased in size by 5%. I then used the
animated rings as a key to cut a hole in the top layer, which revealed
the slightly larger bottom layer. However, the bottom layer was was only
visible within the lines of the rings and, because the bottom layer was
slightly larger, it appeared "skewed" and displaced compared to the surrounding
imagery. This gave the impression of ripples distorting the reflections
of the surrounding scenery.
Originally, I had painted in
the splashes but felt they didn't look quite right. So I decided to go
for some real splashes and enlisted the help of my 12 year old daughter,
Remington. We headed out to the river on our property for some aquatic
Oh, and Scout and Gizmo decided to help, as well.
I waited until the sun was
just over the trees behind her to shoot. This put any reflections of the
trees in shadow but with the water backlit for maximum contrast. I used
an HD video camera set for progressive and a high speed shutter to freeze
the water in motion.
Once in Photoshop, I then desaturated
to black and white and cranked up the contrast. I added a soft matte around
the perimeter of the splashes and then pasted them into the shot, frame
by frame to align with the gator.
Me animating the gator.
I pinched a tree from the jungle
canoe shot and put it in the foreground in soft focus.
It's not in the cartoon but it adds a bit of depth.
And this is what it all looked like! Click on the picture for a larger view.
The finished clip is at the
top of the page!
Thanks for looking!
All information, videos, photos and graphics in
this website are copyright 2010, Roger Evans. All rights reserved.
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