31
Jan
09

Focus on the kill. Using Depth-Of-Field and Image Layers in iClone3.2

Take a deep breath and hold it, then squeeze the mouse!

Take a deep breath and hold it, then squeeze the mouse!

What up iCloners? Did you know you can create a convincing Sniper scenario in iClone using only the basic features and the new G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content pack? It’s easy to accomplish and a stunning to insert into your next War-time animation. Imagine this, you want to develop a first-person shot but don’t want your camera to position directly over the avatar itself. Using a combination of Depth-Of-Field and Image Layers can create this visual effect without all the hassle. Then, adding a small bit of zoom animation and effective Lens settings will both provide the desired shot and captivate your audience when utilizing this technique. In this tip I set up a 3 camera scenario, 1 covering my G.I. platoon, 1 covering my Wehrmacht sniper, and 1 that is specifically for advanced Depth-Of-Field and an Image Layer. This camera becomes what the audience will see as the sniper’s point of view, and being that calls for a perspective peering down a scope of a rifle aimed at an enemy target. Sounds complicated when you break it down like that but it is actually a surprisingly easy method to execute. Follow the steps below to create a Kill-shot using a combination of Depth-Of-Field and Image Layers or watch the high-speed video example provided at the bottom of the post.

  • Create a scene that you wish to place a “Kill shot” or Image Layer camera inside of
  • Click Play to review the animation in the scene
  • Click Pause and stop the project where you want to place the new camera
  • Drag the IN tab to the point where you want to place the new camera
  • Select the Preview Camera ( if it is not already on by default ) from the Shader menu on the top right of the view port
  • In the Modify Panel click the Add button to place a new camera into the project ( notice the new camera shot will become active )
  • Use the Zoom, Pan and Orbit tools to position the camera at the angle you wish to portray
  • Once you have your angle, in the Modify Panel locate the Lens section and choose 200MM or higher
  • Click the Image Layer button
  • For a “Kill shot” or sniper-type scenario I use the default Scope Image Layer, double click to activate it ( it is important that you are aware that applying an Image Layer will do so to all cameras in the project. I recommend you render out this camera by itself and use an outside video editor to compile your individual shots )
  • Check ON Depth Of Field in the Modify Panel and make sure Pixel Shader is active to view the D.O.F.
  • Move forward in time in your project or shot by scrubbing the Play-head
  • Again use Zoom, Pan and Orbit tools to position the camera, or follow a subject in the scene in this case
  • Click Pick Target under the Depth Of Field portion of the menu and Click the Subject in the view port
  • Move forward once again in time in your project or shot by scrubbing the Play-head
  • Use the Zoom and Pick Target features to create realistic “focus and zoom” first person camera effects
  • Move forward in time once more by scrubbing the Play-head to the point you wish the Image Layer shot to end
  • Drag the Out tab to this point
  • Click the Export tab
  • Select the Video button
  • Choose your video Format and Size
  • Select your Render Quality and Frame Rate
  • Click Export
  • Choose a Video Compressor and then click OK to render out a “Kill shot” ready for editing

Using Depth-Of-Field and Image Layers is a great idea for many different shots, but using them together to create shots that call for specific effects can be beautifully executed. A sniper scenario is the perfect example of this method and the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht pack is the perfect content to showcase it. You can apply this trick to any camera for any scene but remember that you need to work with Pixel Shader on to view these effects so make sure you set up shot designed for this sort of output early in the production so that your computers resources are not as taxed during your execution. For more information regarding Depth Of Field features in iClone 3.2 be sure to check out the Online Beta index. Below you will find a rendered example of this technique in brutal effect and see first hand how a 6 second camera angle can really help to engage your audience, along with a step-by-step look at the porcess of creating your own “Kill shot!” Enjoy!

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