View Full Version : NIN Like, Pin Art Animation

07-01-2007, 03:48 PM
I want to make an animation featuring one of those office pin toys. What Im trying for is something similar to the amazing NIN music video for "Only". Where I use live shots to displace the pins and such.

Does anyone have tips on how to actually shoot or edit the video for the best displacing effect?

I dont do much video work, so I dont know the flow that much. Any help would be well appreciated!

If you havent seen the music video, you've gotta check it out! You can download it from the withteeth website.


07-01-2007, 06:08 PM
Well I would suggest lighting it from the camera, as this will give a decent displacement. Ideally you want the scene to get darker the further from the camera something is, so if you could light or use filters to do that, then that would be best...

07-01-2007, 07:14 PM
would shooting at night with a strong light coming from the camera work?

07-02-2007, 03:15 AM
If it was the only light in the area, it would work a bit. You'd kind of need the surface to be one tone though I think.....

07-02-2007, 03:23 AM
Same technique, just replace cubes with pins : http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69195&highlight=grid+displacement

What is really funny, is we've made one of these pin toys last week.

07-02-2007, 03:34 AM
Just use a red green and blue light so that you end up with a sort of normal mapvideo. I guess that's a good way to get 3D info out of your 2d footage

07-03-2007, 12:23 AM
I know how to make the displacement [check out video link]. The video I projected on it is just the NIN video for march of the pigs, i used it since there's a high-contrast between the guys and the background.

BTW, Is there something special about using a blue light? I never heard of it.
I figured if I record someone at night like i was saying that they would wear light gray or white, and maybe even hair color. :P

Thanks alot, always appreciated!


07-03-2007, 01:07 AM
Sorry, here's the video example.


07-03-2007, 02:20 AM
Doh, sorry mate, didn't see that.
Well, it is possible to do normal mapping photography, and it's very easy on stills.
BUT, for video (as in moving material) it can become somewhat more difficult.

It still requires the same technique but you can't get 4 colors (red green and blue form white light, any color inbetween is derived from any of the 3 primary light colors, leaving you without a 4th light source that is needed for normal map filming)

In comes a triggered flash, you can do this with 4 programmable stroboscobes or 4 good studiolights/flash lights connected to a programmable trigger.
The idea is to film at 50 fps (or 25fps with 2 fields) and have only 2 light pairs (one red and green) every odd frame or field flash and the other pair every even frame or field.
Then in a program like Fusion create a normal map sequence from the shot material.

07-03-2007, 02:35 AM
Another thing you might try is trying to run footage through Furnace 3 or PFTrack , as far as i know these software programs/plugins can manage to output a depth buffer with the help of their build in optical flow engines.

Yes the software is expensive, but when you contact the companies who build the software you probbly can 'rent' a license for a couple of days/weeks.

Capt Lightwave
07-03-2007, 08:56 AM
Here's something I did right after I saw the Only-video for the first time...with the photos of a gorgeous friend of mine.

07-03-2007, 11:31 AM
Still pictures are pretty easy to get the effect, I usually bring them into photoshop and change grays to "raise" areas.

Thanks red_oddity, im keep re-reading you suggestions, trying to get a better idea of the method...I kind of understand [i rarely shoot live action for animations]...looking at the software you mentioned too.:D


07-15-2007, 05:20 PM
Add a Relativity Motion Modifier, create Relativity Texture (turn the Wolrd Coordinates option on) called rottext or something and type an expression like TEX(rottex,X(SELF,t),0,X(SELF,t)) in the rotation channel you want to be influenced.
Duplicate your object umphteen times in a grid layout and your basically done.

07-15-2007, 05:32 PM
fracking edit time limit...

That should have read:


07-15-2007, 05:43 PM
Oh, for heavens sake...stupid stupid edit rule...

What i wanted to add was,
It's better to use the previous expression and set it up as a Variable, and then simply use that Variable in the final rotation expression tab.

(SO, say you setup Variable A with 'TEX(rottex,X(SELF,t),0,Z(SELF,t))', you would setup say your H(heading) expression using simply the expression 'A'.

That way you can debug or adjust your script over all your cloned objects without having to delete all but one object and redoing the cloning when you rewrote your expression should it need to be changed.

07-15-2007, 06:05 PM
An example:

07-29-2007, 03:20 PM
as for shooting the live video...

I wrote most of this before watching the video you referenced. To me it looked like they just lit him from one side of the camera and had him close to a really wide angle lens.

my thoughts below are to get a depth channel like effect. which is something I wanted to try before but didn't get around to it other than murky water in a fish tank with a clay model which didn't really work out too well. :D

These are three untested (by me anyway) thoughts on ways to shoot this.

1) Maybe have the light source near the camera, but not too bright. You want significant falloff from the light. you may need your people to be in all white.

2) shoot in a small room with a lot of (non-toxic) smoke in the air. you may need your people to be in all black.

3) set up an array of four lights. two on each side. (think of a four door car with the doors open... Now replace the doors with lights, now remove the car) the ones in front could be gelled red, the ones in back could be gelled green or blue. The idea is that whatever is closer to the lens is red and whatever is farther away is green or blue. You could then remap the colors to gray scale for your displacement.

08-03-2007, 03:32 PM
i did some videos in the dark using a camera light and gray clothing. it worked pretty nice...i still like the excuse for filling my pool room with smoke though. Like that wouldn't attract attention hehe

08-17-2007, 10:06 AM
There is a great behind the scenes look at exactly how this video was made at Digital domain. If you go to the Digital Domain site http://www.digitaldomain.com/ then click on features, then behind the scenes, and then find the image with the video (right now it is in the top row at the far right on the 1st page).

The video on that page first shows the music video and is then followed by a behind the scenes look. You can actually see that Lightwave was used, very cool. Some of the previs still has the scene name and frame number out of Lightwave. There is also a nice look at how they got the displacement from video using multiple colored lights.

Hope this helps.


08-19-2007, 02:28 AM
WOW, great find!

08-19-2007, 02:35 AM
Can anyone tell me how the are using the lights...?

08-22-2007, 09:01 AM
Just an aside.

Take a look at Jacques Drouin. He created several animations for the NFB (National Filmboard of Canada). Actually some very intense pinscreen animations.