Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's not just a movie...

... it's a breakthrough vehicle for computer rendering of realistic human skin, among other significant steps forward in computerized visual effects: Prometheus: rebuilding hallowed vfx space:

The specular reflection on the skin provides an immediate surface property. It gives one the details of the skin, diffused light is inherently less ‘detailed’ as the light has been scattered under the skin. In reality skin is a complex combination of scattered and surface properties. “Traditionally what we would do back at King Kong era is we would have a sub-surface model and then we’d add some sort of general Lambertian back in to maintain that detail,” explains Hill. It’s something we’ve always tried to fake until now, but the new model allows us not to have to do that, in a far superior way. It contains the detail right at the surface without us having to de-convolve our texture maps to accommodate it.”

And not just skin algorithms; the orrery scene was quite a step forward, as well:

A significant amount of work was required in preparing the plates for the star map effects, by removing the distortion from the plates and also solving for stereo. “Say your camera’s a totally non-VA (vertically-aligned),” explains Cole, “then you’re getting parallax between these very fine star fields and your pixel you can touch on the screen is the sum of all the pixels behind it – and you have a vertical alignment matte you can rubber sheet that around. You can push that one pixel around but you’ve got baked parallax.”

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