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Behind the seamless VFX in BBC TV series "Ripper Street"
Posted on March 27, 2014 at 09:20 pm IST
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Screen Scene crafted the final on-screen effect for one of the character in
The BBC TV series Ripper Street
The BBC TV series Ripper Street is set after the infamous Jack the Ripper killings. In season 2, one of the characters is shown to have ‘Phossy jaw’ or phosphorus necrosis of the jaw owing to working too close to white phosphorus. Screen Scene crafted the final on-screen effect.
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“Initially we were going to have an element of prosthetic work applied to the actors face as the outer shape of the wound and green within,” explains Screen Scene visual effects supervisor Ed Bruce. “Waldo Mason, prosthetic expert, started by taking a cast of the actor’s face. Production informed us that the shoot date had moved forward which gave Waldo no time to complete the elements, thus we decided to do it all within VFX. Waldo continued to craft the sculpt of the head as VFX knew the value of a model would be.”

On the shoot, the actor’s face was markered with tracking dots, concentrating these on the area of negative space. “We shot witness cams and ensured all measurements and data were collected,” notes Bruce. “Once Waldo had completed the very cool and detailed model head, SSVFX were able to collect controlled photography to aid our sculptor to build the CG version. The sculpt was done with Mudbox. The Mudbox sculpt was brought into 3ds Max where using the HDR’s and lighting refs collected on set assisted in the lighting setup. It was then textured and animated.”

Screen Scene’s 3D artist added in additional details such as spit dribbles to “add to the gore factor,” says Bruce, “but also add parallax to help sell the negative space. The matchmove was done in Syntheyes. In Nuke our compositor was able to work with the 3D EXR multichannel render and also the 3D object export to add his own subtle texturing and blends.”