The Chalk VFX Blog

An Intro To Nuke

February 14, 2019

I know there's a lot of people out there who want to improve their movie making skills and production value.  You don't have the money to hire vfx artist, even reasonably priced services, but what you do have is TIME.   Time to learn and time to do your own vfx shots.  That's how The Chalk got started; taking advantage of the time we had to learn and practice.  With that in mind I'm posting a video of an intro to Nuke software - I (Thomas Tamura) am a certified Nuke Trainer, so I do have some street cred!!  there will be other lessons to come too.  So sit back grab some footage and a Nuke Non commercial and learn some compositing.

One note, I do use a Wacom Tablet with the pen mapped to: tap = left, up buttoon = right, down button = middle.  I might refer to that in video.  The link will take you to the basic model, which is good enough.  I use the Intuos Pro, but honestly I just use the basic features -rarely touch the buttons on the side.

A film made with friends

February 6, 2019

Usually we’re so busy with client’s projects that there is no time to do personal stuff.  A few years ago we filmed this little piece in front of the Batman vs. Superman release.  We filmed at our friend’s, Man Made Media, studio.  It was edited in Portland by Nate Bamford and The Chalk removed and replaced the green screen.  

The Process CONT'D

February 1, 2019

Visual Effects, Compositing, Animating, Motion Graphics -- These are all iterative processes.  In other words the first version is usually a starting point on a finished product.  We started this little animation project as a test for a client, a proof of concept, if you like; but, we decided to continue to refine it.  So here's the next iteration: 

Have you ever done a Spider

January 26, 2019

We recently had a client ask us if we've ever done a spider animation.  The answer was 'no'.  But we took a  crack at a proof of concept to demonstrate that we could.  And seeing how we've traditionally done very little character animation, we needed to prove to ourselves we could do it.  Here's a little behind the scene look at the process of animating, lighting, shading, and comping a CG Spider.

The work is done in Photoshop, Resolve, Modo, Mari, and Nuke.  We used Lens Baby 5.8mm to shoot 180º bracketed exposures (3 sets of 9, offset 120º) to create a LatLong image for IBL in Modo.  The plate was shot with the Balckmagic Ursa Mini Pro, in the new blackmagic Raw format, so the first pass of the grade was in Resolve.  The model was purchased form Turbo Squid, pre rigged; however, we did have to set up the IK ourselves (myself).  The first pass is a bit mechanical animation and low quality render (speed over quality), but all and all it looks pretty good.  We're currently working on an improved version just for fun. 

Pass the camera through the holes

January 18, 2019

Check out the images below that go with this post, and there's some links in case you want more info on gear of software

My son, Kenzo, turned one around the holidays. The baby shower theme had been 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' so we had a ton of this stuff lying around, including a wind up toy.  In 2018 we filmed two book trailers and thought it would be fun to video inspired by this book.

The first step was getting food items with holes.  We froze everything then used wood bits to drill holes, progressively bigger, in each item. 

We deiced to use our Blackmagic 4k Cinema Camera for its small size, LOG 10bit color, and 4k-ness - The Ursa Mini Pro is sweet, but a bit cumbersome.

Next we need to do somewhat similar passes of each item.  Originally we planned to comp all these passes together.  We used some c-stands and a CameTV Slider to rig up a slider that floats the camera over the table (attached at the top - see pics). 

We did a hero pass with the strawberry, an apple pass, bread pass, and caterpillar pass. 

Lastly, we shot and HDR (in case we need to add CG) and we used a Structure Scanner to make models of the apple and bread.  

We used the models we made to track the camera's path in PFTrack.  Unfortunately, the reflections and shadows became a bit of and issue and with time not on our side, we pulled stills an - Read More

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