Ideation, Reference & Concepts

I could use blend shapes for any animations (very simple and short animations) so I save time by not trying to rig something.


  • Mushrooms, flowers, alien plants blooming – Planet Earth (David Attenborough) inspired.
  • Staring at an alien invested skyline (relevant at 1:44)

I could do a spaceship with only a few moving parts (I wouldn’t have to rig anything thankfully).

I spoke with Alec on where to start with this project and he recommended doing a still image and if I had time, move onto live footage.

Looking at the models I created for our 3D environment assignment there’s a few I could use for an image such as the hat, cards or pistol… or maybe all three! I kind of like the idea of a crystal ball (I could do something really creative with the reflection in it) and the pack of cards in front of it.


So I have no idea how to even go about starting this  compositing project so I sat down and watched as many “the making of” videos as I could.

Gloam was a video I found in first year when researching for the tonal project (17:38)!

  • Consider the contact shadow
  • Motion blur – render will be perfectly sharp whereas real-world camera captures a bit of blur
  • Consider use of camera fringing!
  • Adjust grade so blacks match in fore and background images
  • Use of a mask to draw attention to (highlight) certain areas (solid layer with a colour dodge blend mode)

Compositing breakdowns from Martin Nabelek‘s “Off”:


So the idea I’m going to go with is the crystal ball idea, with a cloth dropped over it but revealing the grim reaper in it’s reflection, spilt tarot cards (all showing death). For the photo I’ll take a picture of the table and a chair, and another one for the background (curtains maybe). Maybe I could have the hat hanging off the chair or the gun on the table?

Inspiration: Pinterest board


For the background I looked at gypsy tents, circus stalls, anywhere where you might find a clairvoyant or fortune teller.

I’m probably going to have to set up my own gypsy tent to take a photo of. Hopefully it won’t turn out something like this…

Quick concept on what I want:


If I incorporate live footage it won’t be anything exciting. I made this with a few google images in After Effects:

To keep it simple I’m going to have a single light source – a candle – in the scene.

Crystal Ball

Went to Fresh Garbage and took some snaps of their crystal balls:

Online Reference:

I like the wooden three-legged stand design the most. There will also be a cloth draped over a third of the ball, so I need to take that into account when shading it.

Rosie had a crystal ball that she kindly let me borrow to get a lighting reference.


I tried to create a messy deck of cards. I took a few of these as reference for my models:

It was really difficult finding an image of a messy deck of cards. Online references:

For the textures I would need to design the back and the front image (death) of the cards. This is why I’d prefer to model the cards myself then I could place the texture on the models and it would be rendered together, rather than compositing the images onto the cards (it may defeat the purpose of a compositing project but less things can go wrong this way!).

For the front and back textures I took inspiration from theses images:

So here are my tarot card textures:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 01.11.26.png

I wanted to keep to that mystical purple and gold colour scheme. It’s quite pixelated and you can kind of see it in Maya but I’m hoping my dimly lit scene will hide it.


My model:Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 14.24.45.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-24 at 12.14.55.pngscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-14-43-42.png


I just need to get a believable texture on the gun. Shadows of the objects are going to be a nightmare.


So there’s going to be a gun on the table and the tarot cards all showing death will be like a supernatural message that there’s trouble ahead. I was also going to put an image of the Grim Reaper reflected on the crystal ball but I don’t want it to look like it’s IN the ball.  So I may have to further develop this idea. I can always use my reflection from when I take a picture of the scene for reference.


To show that the image on the crystal ball is reflected and not within it, I’ll have to curve the image… still unsure how to do this.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. sahaquiell says:

    Hey phoebe! Saw this and thought of Princess Mononoke… They used pre compositing to make flowers grow and bloom in the ending scenes!


    1. Phoebe Long says:

      omw I’ll have to look into that, thanks!!


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