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Thread: Virtual Sets for Online Classes

  1. #1
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    Virtual Sets for Online Classes

    Some of you may recognize me from Foundation3D. I've been meaning be more social online with Lightwave, but I haven't had that much hobby stuff to post recently. For the past few years, I've worked for the University of California, Santa Cruz, as part of a video production team creating on-line classes for a program called Scout, with the ultimate goal that every High School student in the state should have access to all courses necessary to earn admission to a California public university, regardless of circumstances (for instance, kids in rural areas or small towns where there weren't enough students to support a wide range of electives and advanced courses).

    Most of the day to day work was assembling and editing different lesson videos for our courses, but I did get to do some 3D work. All Lightwave, with Photoshop and After Effects support for texturing and compositing, and, technically, some early experiments with Substance Painter on exactly one object.

    Most of it ended up being virtual sets for our instructors (all shot on greenscreen) to be placed in. I pushed for the opportunity to create more realistic environments for them than just some generic wallpaper or gradient. More images and detailed descriptions are on my blog, along with some miscellaneous animations and renders I did to support specific lessons.

    I expect to have a couple of fresh reels done this weekend, including one that's all educational work, so I'll update the thread then.
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  2. #2
    LightWave documentation BeeVee's Avatar
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    These are great fun! Are they animated behind the presenters? Some of the textures, like the wooden bookcase from USHIS_Jamestown.jpg, seem a bit poor in comparison with the standard of the work otherwise?

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    Ben Vost - NewTek LightWave 3D development
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    Some excellent work there... I have been trying to get time in to build some virtual sets for our video production work, but I always end up just throwing in a reasonable background, color grading the footage to match and lightwrapping the actor instead.

    What version(s) of Lightwave did you use?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeVee View Post
    These are great fun! Are they animated behind the presenters? Some of the textures, like the wooden bookcase from USHIS_Jamestown.jpg, seem a bit poor in comparison with the standard of the work otherwise?
    It's about 50/50 whether they're animated. Some didn't lend themselves to it, like the chemistry lab, and I made so many variants for the history class, I didn't want to take up the server space for dozens of minute-ish loops in production quality when you could hardly see the trees out the window. The others have stuff, though. I liked giving some life, if it was blinking lights, moving screens, trees blowing in the wind, or traffic out the window. I even pre-matched the grain from our filmed footage, even though it'd usually average out in the final compression.

    The Jamestown and Williamsburg history backgrounds were fairly quick fill-ins. My major advance on those was figuring out why normal maps from stock texture sites kept rendering funny (check your y-direction handedness, everybody!)


    Quote Originally Posted by RPSchmidt View Post
    What version(s) of Lightwave did you use?
    The first three attached to the post were done in 2015, the rest in 2018.

  5. #5
    LightWave documentation BeeVee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. What do you use for the video side of things?

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    Ben Vost - NewTek LightWave 3D development
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    Laptop with Intel i7, nVidia Quadro 2000Mw/ 2GB (377.83 and 192 CUDA cores), Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 8GB RAM
    Mac Mini 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 10.10.3

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    Day-to-day editing in Premiere. I composited my 3D stuff, and we did 2D animations, with After Effects.

  7. #7
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    Aw, thought there might have been a NewTek 1, 2 with LightWave and a TriCaster or something

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    Ben Vost - NewTek LightWave 3D development
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    AMD Threadripper 1950X, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, 32GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti (388.13, 4GB and 768 CUDA cores)
    AMD FX8350 4.2 GHz, Windows 7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit, 16GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti (416.34, 4GB and 768 CUDA cores)
    Laptop with Intel i7, nVidia Quadro 2000Mw/ 2GB (377.83 and 192 CUDA cores), Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 8GB RAM
    Mac Mini 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 10.10.3

  8. #8
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    As promised, the video version of this post.


  9. #9
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    That looks really great! If I had one critique, it would be that you might want to consider doing a lightwrap on your actors so that the edges of the chroma key blend a little bit better with your environment.

    It's fairly easy to do in After Effects and it's actually part of Red Giants' Primatte Keyer https://www.redgiant.com/products/keying-suite/

    Really great work, overall... thank you for sharing!

  10. #10
    LightWave documentation BeeVee's Avatar
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    Excellent stuff! Thanks.

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    Ben Vost - NewTek LightWave 3D development
    LightWave 3D Trial Edition
    AMD Threadripper 1950X, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, 32GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti (388.13, 4GB and 768 CUDA cores)
    AMD FX8350 4.2 GHz, Windows 7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit, 16GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti (416.34, 4GB and 768 CUDA cores)
    Laptop with Intel i7, nVidia Quadro 2000Mw/ 2GB (377.83 and 192 CUDA cores), Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 8GB RAM
    Mac Mini 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 10.10.3

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPSchmidt View Post
    That looks really great! If I had one critique, it would be that you might want to consider doing a lightwrap on your actors so that the edges of the chroma key blend a little bit better with your environment.

    It's fairly easy to do in After Effects and it's actually part of Red Giants' Primatte Keyer https://www.redgiant.com/products/keying-suite/
    Thanks for the tip, I'll pass it along to the main editor on the team. When we first started, I briefly tested out pre-rendering all the greenscreen stuff in After Effects (I mostly wanted to have light bloom from the background wrap around the presenter), but with the amount of footage and the extra time and data requirements it'd add, it made sense to do all our keying in Premiere (which, I see, Primatte also works in). And even though we later got the RG suite, there's been an element of "not broke, don't fix," especially for those of us who weren't as familiar with the tools and don't realize how it can kick our regular day-to-day stuff up a notch.

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