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The original cut of my demo reel included three shots. Of these three, only one made it to the final cut. As I progressed through my reel, I discovered new skills and ideas that I felt would be preferable to display and so I opted to trim out my two least interesting shots. This shot was the first to be added in as a replacement for those removed. Working from a concept I had roughed out earlier, I began gathering reference and images to draw from for later manipulation.

Once I felt I had enough to work with and a clear picture of what I had hoped to create, I stitched together a rough first pass of my scene. Initially I focused on blocking out the shapes in my shot and confirming whether or not I had gathered a sufficient amount of photographic material.

Blocking in the composition.

Having the composition in place, I was now able to work on my lighting. I adjusted each component of my image to give it a warm, sunset colour scheme. My initial pass was too dark, so gradually I had to introduce brighter tones throughout the scene. At first I began introducing more value near the horizon and slowly expand that through the rest of the image, making sure light cascaded in a pleasing fashion across the hills and into the midground.

The initial lighting pass.

The light is brought forward through the scene.

I proceeded to extract my elements to ready them to be projected in Nuke. I had built my matte with compositing in mind so this process was brief. I composited together the divided layers and introduced a water element from a plate I downloaded off the internet. I painted flames into the small camp in the distance, and merged them over the rest of the image, while masking them with an animated fractal. This, alongside the slight camera move I added, brought some motion to the shot.

From there I began working on creating proper reflections, as opposed to the painted ones I had been using to this point. I introduced some motion to the foreground foliage and then moved on to my final refinements of the shot.

Water and fire elements are introduced.

Reflections are composited into the shot.

The camera move is finalized and sublte motion is applied to the foreground elements.