Behind the Scenes – The Time Warp – 3D Backgrounds

Over the years we’ve been able to improve our Starring You technology in a number of ways, including head rotation and secondary hair animation. Now we are able to add 3D environments to the list!

While Jump Jive and Wail was the first time we incorporated 3D environments into a Starring You video, Time Warp marks our first attempt at mimicking an actual life-like environment into a computer graphics world. In the past we would typically paint a 2D illustration of each shot, sometimes adding fake camera moves to give the video a hand-held feel. However since the scale of this room was to be a large open dance hall, camera moves would look 10x sexier with subtle indications of parallax, and the best/easiest way to achieve this effect is building in THE THIRD DIMENSION!

Because Rocky Horror is such a well known film (people have LITERALLY seen it hundreds of times), it was extremely important to replicate as much of the set from the original film as possible. So to help us with the creation of the room we enlisted the help of a 3D artist by the name of Lucas Milner. Using only screenshots taken from the film, Lucas was able to design textures, models, and lighting to recreate the same dance hall shown from the original movie. Everything from paintings to sculptures to wall molding had to be taken into consideration, with a lot of attention to detail!

After modeling the geometry of each object, UV maps of the textures were created and assigned. To quicken the amount of render time down the line, shadows were also baked into the textures to imply lighting and focus.

Once the hall was completed, the 3D space was brought into AfterEffects and paired up with our live-action footage of the performers dancing. Horizon lines were matched up,  and scaled according to each shot and 3D motion tracking was used to ensure that feet wouldn’t be ‘slipping.’

Once heads were animated with dynamic hair, actor shadows were cast, color correction took place, masking, converting, and all that other good stuff, this card turned out to be quite the complex process… but if we did it all right, you didn’t notice any of it at all :-)

So check out the awesome 3D backgrounds of The Time Warp today!

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