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Old December 8th, 2003, 07:37 AM   #1
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Exploding head

I want to learn how to make someone's head explode realistically. I've always wanted to know how to do this, but could never find any resources to tell me how. I don't know if this fits in this board (maybe DVi needs a special effects thread)...

I have premier 6.5, premier pro, after effects 5.5 and after effects 6.0. How can I do this?

Thanks in advance.
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Old December 8th, 2003, 07:52 AM   #2
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How realistically is realistically?

Your first decision will be whether this will be a practical pyrotechnic or accomplished in post using some particle effects and compositing trickery.

It will be as difficult or moreso to get a modeled/rendered head looking "realistic" in the computer as crafting a molded model to blow up.

The cheapest and simplest way to do this is with a simple 2D particle effect, accompanied, perhaps, with some 2D pieces of "head" (a chopped-up bitmap) flying away as the head explodes. This can be done with combustion or particleIllusion. It may suffice for your no-budget home movie, but not for a serious endeavor.

Here's an ancient tutorial from the particleIllusion web site that may aid you if you go this route.

(If you're looking for the sample movie, it's here.)
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Old December 8th, 2003, 08:20 AM   #3
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Hmmmm, no...I wasn't looking for something like that. I can do compositing trickery, if it looks real...When I say realistic, I don't mean it looks like it actually happened, but real enough...Look at the head explosion in the KKK episode of Chappell's show for example....
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Old December 8th, 2003, 01:52 PM   #4
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I would definitely stay away from trying to do this from scratch in AE or something... I think you should shoot something physical...

David Cronenberg's 1981 movie "Scanners" has one of the most memorable exploding heads I've seen... here is the trivia entry on it from IMDB:

"The exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun."

Depending on where you are shooting, the 12-gauge solution may not be optimal. There are other ways to make explosions though... You could hit a cantelope with a sledge hammer... you could fill a large ballon with red jello hit it with a bat.... whatever. Then afterwards you can use AE to add the face the moment before impact, and take out the implement of destruction.

Be careful... don't do anything dangerous unless you have an expert around...

A lot will depend on how tight a shot you want, what the environs are, etc.

I think this type of solution will give you a much more realistic look, will probably take less time, and will certainly be a lot more fun.

Good luck.
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Old December 8th, 2003, 02:42 PM   #5
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Yeah, I was thinking it would look shotty if I did it in AE from scratch, plus no fun....So, using this physical method I'd have to Get a model body too, right? To set the head apparatus on....?
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Old December 8th, 2003, 03:19 PM   #6
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Just so everybody knows, threads that veer toward discussions of pyrotechnics tend to get locked on DVinfo.net.

I think everybody here already understands--when shooting things or blowing things up, it's best to procure the assistance of a credentialed expert.

~Now back to our regularly schedule decollations.~

For years there was an exploding head culled from some chop-socky movie as the leader to the "5 Questions" segment when Craig Kilborne helmed The Daily Show. Two hands came together and slapped the head into goo. The clip was ping-pong-looped for several cycles. It must have been a pretty good model because it looked really real.

I think Barry's on to something when he suggests using compositing to map the live action filmed figure onto the exploding practical. That way you'll be able to achieve convincing effects such as subtle facial movement right up until the deed is done.

One of my favorite on-film decapitations is from the Roman Polanski version of Macbeth. As I recall it, after his head's been cut off, Macbeth's arms fly up and occupy the space where his head had just been. Typical of Polanski gore, the decapitation is as convincing as it is jolting. The realism of the scene plays a large part in the impact of the fatal wound.
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Old December 8th, 2003, 09:47 PM   #7
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maya 4 unlimited had a quicktime (i dunno if i still have it somewhere) that had CG render explosions that i thought were awesome (for CG). check it out if you can find it.
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