Lending A Helping Hand

This afternoon, Andrew came down to lend a hand in the video production studio… literally. His movie star hands are going to be part of a medical Onlivemation project that combines all sorts of media elements including (but not limited to) video, still images, 3-D animation and 2-D animations. In this particular animation, we have to show Andrew’s “doctor hands” palpating a 3-D model’s neck. This obviously presents a bit of a problem since we don’t have life-sized 3-D models laying around… yet. Andrew basically stuck his hands in front of the green screen and started wiggling his fingers. Watching from the outside, it must have looked silly since just about every DDA passerby chuckled or made some smart-aleck remark. Though I have to admit, there were times even we had to laugh at what we were doing!

In After Effects, I was toying around with an effect called the Puppet Tool. This allows you to add natural motion to images and vector graphics by deforming a part of the image according to the positions of pins that you place and move. I pinned down the 3-D model and started animating the location in which Andrew hands were “touching.” Not only did it add some more realism to the 3-D model, but it was a quick adjustment and will eventually save lots of render time since we wouldn’t have to render every frame in Lightwave.

We still have some minor things to iron out in the studio but we certainly learned a lot from this test shoot. We’ll be in the studio first thing Monday morning so I’ll keep you updated!