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Production of this shot began in late February 2016. Working with stock footage I downloaded from the internet, I began experimenting with some colour grading techniques to turn my daylight plate into a night scene. My reference led me astray and the resulting renders appeared too dark. Some further trials led me to discover that the plate I was using wasn't ideal.

I gathered more reference, restructured my idea, and headed off with some camera equipment to shoot my own plate. I took another crack at grading my shot and ended up with much nicer results: brighter, more colourful, and with a much more pleasing composition.

From around twenty takes, this was the chosen plate.

The initial colour grade.

The added benefit of being able to place tracking markers in my shot made for a much easier attempt at matchmoving as well. With a viable plate at my disposal, I began to work on the matte painted elements. First I began by pushing back some of the larger trees in the scene, using photographic elements I shot from the woods near my university. This would make room for me to integrate a building into the scene. Knowing that the building would obstruct much of the photographic elements, I was able to forgo polishing the lower parts of the added foliage.

Before proceeding with the 2D elements, I chose to begin development of my 3D assets. After roughing in a model of the structure, I began to check the scaling and perspective. Through my own observation, and the observation of my peers, I learned that the building appeared much too small. To further recede it, I had to tweak the grading of the image and add additional elements that would help establish how much foreshortening was affecting the building. Various props were added to the scene to complement the narrative and the overall matte was refined.

The larger trees were receded into the background.

Several natural elements were added to help establish the perspective.

Props are introduced to the image.

From here I returned to Nuke to refine the final composite. I added some light interactivity between the props and the plate. To give the shot more colour, I used the small oil lantern prop as a light source. I wanted the light to radiate through the scene more boldly, so I added fog to catch the light. With some distortion fed by an animated fractal, I was able to give the fog some subtle motion. With the bulk of the work now complete, I began removing the tracking markers; having shot a clean plate, this was an easy task. The final stretch towards completing this shot was polishing the matte and removing any kinks in the projection.

The scene is brought into Nuke for integration.

Light interactivity is added between the integrated elements and the plate.

Animated fog is added to bring subtle motion to the shot.