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Old March 11th, 2005, 06:30 PM   #1
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Effects on upcoming movie A Scanner Darkly

Hello Board,

I checked out the trailer of a new movie called a scanner darkly.

I was just wondering if any of you knew how they went about and did the animation for that. Could it be they just traced over film or something?

How can that effect be achived....hahahahaha..sounds pretty hard. Draw frame by frame?

Trailer is here.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/warner...er_darkly.html

thanks,
Chad
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Old March 11th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #2
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It's possible that they:

Shot live action footage.
Got animators to trace over the footage.
Get people to do the cell shading. With digital tools, they may be able to save some time with tweening/key framing so you don't have to draw every frame.

Considering the cast, they probably have the budget to do this (and it's probably not that expensive).

I remember a short film did something like this where they shot live action and got animators to trace over the footage to give it an animation look.

It also looks like there is some 3D animation in the footage (with a classic animation look). If you watch the new spiderman animated series it has that look (it looks extremely similar to this except for the art direction).

2- Damn, I love the look of this movie.
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Old March 12th, 2005, 12:42 PM   #3
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Rent the DVD of "The Waking Life" and look at the extras. Probably the same thing with some improved processes.
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Old March 12th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #4
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Betcha Studio Artist played a hand in all this...or something like it, anyway.

Looks freaky, can't wait to see it.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #5
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I saw this trailer in the theater, and was obviously reminded of "Waking Life".

The trailer really captured my interest. I can't wait to see more.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 10:46 AM   #6
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I had the opportunity to work on 'Scanner' for a while, when they needed an extra hand in the camera department. So, the days I was worked were the days they used the maximum number of cameras.

The main shooting was done with 2 DVX100a cameras.
Those were operated by cameramen at 24P.

The rest of the footage ("security footage") was done with whatever they could get their hands on. Mainly we had about 8 Canon ZR80s (i think that was it) as well as a few VX2000 cameras. Obvoiusly those were all shooting 60i.

The 'security cameras' were all run to decks, and from there to monitors. So we had about 10 decks going for each take, plus the DVX's.

On most of the takes where we were shooting with that many cameras, the actors wore wireless mics so that the security cameras could get the wide shots they needed.

The video is then edited, and once the picture is locked the animators rotoscope the footage using the same proprietary software that was used for 'Waking Life'
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Old March 13th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for the insight, Luis. Wow the applications of the DVX never ceases to amaze. Do you have any idea what the final resolution of the film is after being animated?

What I'm really asking is, how important was the resolution of the original footage to this type of animation process. Would it have made a difference to shoot in HD or on film?
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Old March 13th, 2005, 11:47 AM   #8
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"Thanks so much for the insight, Luis."

Hey, after having spent so much time reading about other people's experience, I'm glad to be able to add something to the discussions here.

I've never worked on the post end of any rotoscoped project, so I can't really tell you any specifics. But, it's my impression that the resolution of the original footage is not that important at all. The footage is used as a guide, for movement and angles. I imagine that the animation could be done at virtually any resolution, so other than having a "clearer" guide track, I don't really think there is much advantage to shooting HD for rotoscoping.

The advantage to shooting on DV was the small size of the cameras, and the low cost of the equipment and footage. The days I worked we had about 10 cameras going at once, so obviously they were generating a tremendous amount of footage. It wasn't rare to have 15-20 tapes at the end of the day. We had cameras up in trees, across the street, mounted on roofs, etc. And, keep in mind that the crew wasn't really all that big. That just wouldn't have been financially or logistically possible with HD or Film. HDV might be a possibility in the future, but I'm still not sure it would make much difference. Plus, you can't get much cheaper than those little Canon ZR cameras.

That would be a question for the animators I suppose.

A friend of mine (the same one who got me the job on Scanner) worked on a rotoscoped music video done in the same way. I'll ask him about that.

If I find out any other specifics, I'll let you know.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #9
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Luis,
Would you happen to know if they did anything special to the set? i.e. Did they put special markers (i.e. a big black + on a white background) to make motion tracking easier?
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Old March 13th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #10
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No, there were no markings on set.

Rotoscoping in this way isn't like greenscreening. We shot on location, the sets were dressed, etc. The entire frame is animated, subjects, background, etc.

Granted, you can shoot a lot looser than you would if you weren't animating over it, but all in all the production on set was run like any other film. You would have thought we were working on a DV movie.

The only times I saw any motion tracking markers were on televisions and computer monitors. Anytime there were monitors or screens in the shot, they were off and had taped marks on the corners of the screen. Whatever was shown on those screens was added in post during the animation process.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #11
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holy crap that looks good..
hmm.. with regrard to applications used to get that look.. first thing that comes to mind is either softimage or maya. or maybe even lightwave but im not sure..

id love to be able to do something like this... i jsut need to know what they used.. and abotu 2 weeks to learn.. ;)
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Old March 13th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #12
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"i jsut need to know what they used"

It is the same proprietary software that was used for 'Waking Life.' It is not for sale anywhere as far as I know.

But like anything else, it's the talent of the person using the tool that really counts. I'm sure similar effects could be achieved with many different programs, it's just a matter of ease of use.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #13
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ease.. thers no such thing in this game i found.. apart from particle illusion.. lol

im bout to dive into Maya.. and i dont like my chances.. LOL
Fusion on teh other hand i think i can understand, as ive used combustion for a number of years..

as for propietary applications i have one word.... DAMNIT!
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Old March 15th, 2005, 10:29 AM   #14
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From what I understand about how the proprietary software works, it's basically a keyframe-able rotoscoping software. Traditional Rotoscoping is a long, drawn out process; you have to paint over every single frame. The software allows you to paint over, say, every 5th frame, and it interpolates the in-between frames. It saves a huge amount of time on rotoscoping, although it doesn't make it a breeze, by any means.

A friend of mine was hired to be an animator for this project, but he said they ran into some budget problems early on, and he was canned. Oh, well.
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