It’s all about the lighting

Posted: 26-06-18

I got a copy of Element 3D from video copilot the other week, and after a few days of playing around I attempted to make something as realistic as possible using all the environment effects at my disposal. I also had this 3D model of R2-D2 sat around doing nothing so it was time to put it to use.

The first step was filming the footage. I had to do this multiple times because the 3D tracking camera could not focus on the right points. If you notice on the desk there are 3 plectrums underneath the model. These were what I used to be able to track the camera in 3D. So if you're filming something you want to track, and the background is all bit the same (like my desk) then you will need to add something to help the tracker do it's work. Once the footage is tracked you can then insert the model and lock it to the tracking data. I'm not going into a full tutorial here (maybe some other time), just a bit of explanation.What really sets this apart from my previous efforts was the use of the environment maps in Element 3D. Yes, you can place a model on your desk, and it will sit there perfectly in place as your camera moves around, but it looks fake, really fake. You could spend hours adjusting the colours, brightness etc and still never get it looking right. That's where environment maps come in. I grabbed my phone and did a full 360 degree spherical panoramic shot in the same place where I shot the footage. Saved the image to Google Drive and then imported it as an environment map into Element 3D. A bit of adjusting of brightness and the ambient occlusion settings and it's pretty much there. You can see the reflection of the wallpaper in the top of the model, which I think really sets it off. Here take a look...