CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

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CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by lunchmeat » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:03 pm

I'd like some opinions on this, as this is something I've been thinking about after watching the two latest episodes.

I've noticed that some of the explosions in KR 2008 look really really bad to me. In particular, I'm talking about buildings exploding - the house in Knight Fever and the warehouse in Don't Stop The Knight. (I don't really have a problem with any other explosions I've seen.) From what I understand, they're using CGI for these explosions.

Although they've done a good job technically (they've got debris flying, etc), it looks a little wrong. In the house explosion, there wasn't enough debris and the explosion looked like the overlay that it was. The warehouse explosion was better, but after the initial shot, there were no remains and the smoke dissipated too quickly.

I understand that CGI is cheaper than some alternatives, and I understand that it can be done quickly for this kind of show. However, for exploding buildings, would it not be better to use miniature models? In my opinion, these scenes would probably have looked a lot more realistic if miniatures were used. Ideally, the scenes would be a blend of CGI and miniature, with the miniature acting as a base for the final, doctored shot. (I don't know the cost comparison between miniatures and straight CGI, though, so maybe it's purely a budget thing.)

This wouldn't always have to be the case, mind you, but the shots of the house exploding and the warehouse exploding probably would have been a lot better, in my opinion. Any static shot of a building exploding might benefit from using a miniature and doctoring it with CGI.

What do you guys think? Really, if there's someone here who knows about the film business, or specifically, special effects, please input your opinion. I think it would look better but is it cost-effective? Has anyone here ever worked with or created miniatures before?
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Garthe Knight » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:29 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean. But in my opinion the explosions aren't the problem, they look fine. It's the fire and smoke afterwards that needs tweaking, it looks too regular and unnatural moving so that you always see its CGI.

And I know the guys from Masterkey Productions can do better, maybe they just don't have the time. It's not perfect, but I can live with that. More important is that the driving scenes look much better now.
:good: Nice improvements, well done.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Mr.Marcus » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:35 pm

What's cheaper? Hiring someone like the late Peter Diamond who has been working on miniatures/special effects for years or hiring a fresh out of UCLA undergrad with a computer degree who spent his free time in between classes playing World of Warcraft? Have you seen the vids posted of the FX department on KR08? They're all young socially awkward college grads. Not experienced FX people like Rick Baker.

Blowing up a building is easier said than done. You need permits, fire dept and medical services on duty, reimbursement of local merchants when you close off the area and they lose business, etc. All of this costs $$$. Even models requires someone with expertise in that craft and those guys come at a premium price. Its much easier, safer and cheaper to just have a potato chip eating graphics designer click a mouse and create an explosion.

True the CG isn't at a level where its completely perfect. But the stunts and explosions of the 80s weren't perfect either. From the obviously hollow KITT stunt trans am that would routinely have a mirror or headlight go flying off during a turbo boost to the clearly seen Jack Gill with a Afro wig go flying during an explosion stunt. Both practical stunts and CG aren't perfect. What KR08 lacks is good storytelling and the theme tune that would play everytime KITT peels out. Its these touches that make the KR08 series feel like its lacking something.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by _K3000_ » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:17 pm

well at least they are having the driving scenes and stunts for real now :) :good: including the explosion of the truck in the begining and shows bruening runny in slow mo :) :good:
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by z00story » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:40 pm

Mr.Marcus wrote:What's cheaper? Hiring someone like the late Peter Diamond who has been working on miniatures/special effects for years or hiring a fresh out of UCLA undergrad with a computer degree who spent his free time in between classes playing World of Warcraft? Have you seen the vids posted of the FX department on KR08? They're all young socially awkward college grads. Not experienced FX people like Rick Baker.



Ok, since the entire VFX dept. just read this, let me clarify some things.

1) I'm sure if the show could afford Peter Diamond and Rick Baker, they would. I would venture to say that there is not one show on TV with a Rick Baker Budget.

2) I am not young or fresh out of college. the socially awkward part, I'll give you that. I actually went to UCLA and USC. And my degrees are in theater and film, respectively.

3) I have a level 80 Draeni Mage on the Hakkar sever. I just got exalted by the Kirin Tor, thank you very much.

Mr.Marcus wrote:Its much easier, safer and cheaper to just have a potato chip eating graphics designer click a mouse and create an explosion.


4) I prefer Doritos(tm), if I eat chips at all. But mostly I am a huge fan of sushi and a fine steak.


lunchmeat wrote:I understand that CGI is cheaper than some alternatives, and I understand that it can be done quickly for this kind of show. However, for exploding buildings, would it not be better to use miniature models? In my opinion, these scenes would probably have looked a lot more realistic if miniatures were used. Ideally, the scenes would be a blend of CGI and miniature, with the miniature acting as a base for the final, doctored shot. (I don't know the cost comparison between miniatures and straight CGI, though, so maybe it's purely a budget thing.)


5) It's actually quite an interesting postulate. A good friend of mine directed the films Hollow Man 2 and Coronado. He is a big fan of miniature work and has done some great stuff with them. While it is not my area of expertise, I can give anyone who is interested in the business and tech side of the filmic world, here's some interesting points on miniatures:

First, the miniatures have to look amazing. This is very expensive as there are a lot less expert miniature makers out there than people in VFX. Second, miniatures have to be shot very specifically, there are a lot of issues with perspective, and, most importantly, you have to shoot things like fire, smoke, and motion at super fast frame rates and then speed up the footage in post. So you need a special, high speed camera and a lot more light to match exposure. This is extremely complicated.

I a friend of mine met Bill Pope once, the DP who did Team America. Apparently, he swore to never shoot miniatures again, it was the hardest thing he ever did.

Most significantly, you'd still need an entire crew, a space to shoot it, all the equipment, fire insurance, you name it.

So, in my best guestimate, it would cost at least 2000% the cost of doing it in CGI. I would argue that blowing up a life sized building or car (which they did in the latest episode) for real, might actually even be cheaper than a miniature workflow (but still way more effective than doing it in post).

When working on a show that has 300-500 VFX a week, us chip eaters simply can't be Rick Baker or ILM. I'd venture to say that ILM and Rick Baker wouldn't even nail every shot on that schedule. Often times we craft shots from nothing, not even a reference, in post, in less than a day. None of this is to sound defensive, just pointing out the facts. A feature film might have a year to do the same thing we have to do in two days. Other effects heavy TV shows like Lost or Battlestar have been forced to go on reduced 8-12 episode schedules, with long breaks in between seasons, exactly for this reason. As a typical network show, we do not. We work on a network schedule, but with more effects than a sci-fi blockbuster.

What I appreciate is that so far, I have only seen a few negative comments on really obvious effects. Which means the true meat and potatoes (and potato chips) of what we do is going quite flawlessly.

I'm guessing no one noticed that we added Kitt's blue dash lights in all the shots in front of magic mountain. Or that we removed a giant pimple on someones face in an entire scene. :) often times, we even add in KITTS cylon lights on the front of the car. All kinds of stuff, you name it.

Anyway, I have to go home and grind rep with Dragonsblight. Maybe run a few heroics.

Peace

Z00story

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Lynda414 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:47 pm

z00story wrote:
Mr.Marcus wrote:What's cheaper? Hiring someone like the late Peter Diamond who has been working on miniatures/special effects for years or hiring a fresh out of UCLA undergrad with a computer degree who spent his free time in between classes playing World of Warcraft? Have you seen the vids posted of the FX department on KR08? They're all young socially awkward college grads. Not experienced FX people like Rick Baker.



Ok, since the entire VFX dept. just read this, let me clarify some things.

1) I'm sure if the show could afford Peter Diamond and Rick Baker, they would. I would venture to say that there is not one show on TV with a Rick Baker Budget.

2) I am not young or fresh out of college. the socially awkward part, I'll give you that. I actually went to UCLA and USC. And my degrees are in theater and film, respectively.

3) I have a level 80 Draeni Mage on the Hakkar sever. I just got exalted by the Kirin Tor, thank you very much.

Mr.Marcus wrote:Its much easier, safer and cheaper to just have a potato chip eating graphics designer click a mouse and create an explosion.


4) I prefer Doritos(tm), if I eat chips at all. But mostly I am a huge fan of sushi and a fine steak.


lunchmeat wrote:I understand that CGI is cheaper than some alternatives, and I understand that it can be done quickly for this kind of show. However, for exploding buildings, would it not be better to use miniature models? In my opinion, these scenes would probably have looked a lot more realistic if miniatures were used. Ideally, the scenes would be a blend of CGI and miniature, with the miniature acting as a base for the final, doctored shot. (I don't know the cost comparison between miniatures and straight CGI, though, so maybe it's purely a budget thing.)


5) It's actually quite an interesting postulate. A good friend of mine directed the films Hollow Man 2 and Coronado. He is a big fan of miniature work and has done some great stuff with them. While it is not my area of expertise, I can give anyone who is interested in the business and tech side of the filmic world, here's some interesting points on miniatures:

First, the miniatures have to look amazing. This is very expensive as there are a lot less expert miniature makers out there than people in VFX. Second, miniatures have to be shot very specifically, there are a lot of issues with perspective, and, most importantly, you have to shoot things like fire, smoke, and motion at super fast frame rates and then speed up the footage in post. So you need a special, high speed camera and a lot more light to match exposure. This is extremely complicated.

I a friend of mine met Bill Pope once, the DP who did Team America. Apparently, he swore to never shoot miniatures again, it was the hardest thing he ever did.

Most significantly, you'd still need an entire crew, a space to shoot it, all the equipment, fire insurance, you name it.

So, in my best guestimate, it would cost at least 2000% the cost of doing it in CGI. I would argue that blowing up a life sized building or car (which they did in the latest episode) for real, might actually even be cheaper than a miniature workflow (but still way more effective than doing it in post).

When working on a show that has 300-500 VFX a week, us chip eaters simply can't be Rick Baker or ILM. I'd venture to say that ILM and Rick Baker wouldn't even nail every shot on that schedule. Often times we craft shots from nothing, not even a reference, in post, in less than a day. None of this is to sound defensive, just pointing out the facts. A feature film might have a year to do the same thing we have to do in two days. Other effects heavy TV shows like Lost or Battlestar have been forced to go on reduced 8-12 episode schedules, with long breaks in between seasons, exactly for this reason. As a typical network show, we do not. We work on a network schedule, but with more effects than a sci-fi blockbuster.

What I appreciate is that so far, I have only seen a few negative comments on really obvious effects. Which means the true meat and potatoes (and potato chips) of what we do is going quite flawlessly.

I'm guessing no one noticed that we added Kitt's blue dash lights in all the shots in front of magic mountain. Or that we removed a giant pimple on someones face in an entire scene. :) often times, we even add in KITTS cylon lights on the front of the car. All kinds of stuff, you name it.

Anyway, I have to go home and grind rep with Dragonsblight. Maybe run a few heroics.

Peace

Z00story



That was awesome. Kudos!

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:18 pm

:lol: I enjoyed reading it.

But yeah, I think (or hope) most of us understand the kind of constraints and schedules you guys are working on.. Even with the hang ups (like turbo boost which I know is a pain) I might have with certain effects I know we know you guys are doing the best you can with what little time you have to get it done. But basically yeah, if it's not mentioned it's probably either something we didn't notice which IMO is a sign of CG that's well done or it's something very minor. I'm sure that if I watched the episode multiple times and at .5x I could pick out more things but I'm not that obsessed. My doing that to the MKF reel was bad enough. :lol:

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Lynda414 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:48 pm

Let me know if you guys ever try LOTRO. I'll help you out.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by knightprobe89 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:54 pm

the explosion looked ok to me!
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:55 pm

I was actually a part of the LOTRO beta but I didn't stick around. :P
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Lynda414 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:58 pm

PHOENIXZERO wrote:I was actually a part of the LOTRO beta but I didn't stick around. :P


:P I've been playing since beta. I am an old Turbine fan. I guess I'm the type to stick to my franchises. Probably how I found myself here.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by lunchmeat » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:24 am

z00story wrote:
Mr.Marcus wrote:What's cheaper? Hiring someone like the late Peter Diamond who has been working on miniatures/special effects for years or hiring a fresh out of UCLA undergrad with a computer degree who spent his free time in between classes playing World of Warcraft? Have you seen the vids posted of the FX department on KR08? They're all young socially awkward college grads. Not experienced FX people like Rick Baker.



Ok, since the entire VFX dept. just read this, let me clarify some things.

1) I'm sure if the show could afford Peter Diamond and Rick Baker, they would. I would venture to say that there is not one show on TV with a Rick Baker Budget.

2) I am not young or fresh out of college. the socially awkward part, I'll give you that. I actually went to UCLA and USC. And my degrees are in theater and film, respectively.

3) I have a level 80 Draeni Mage on the Hakkar sever. I just got exalted by the Kirin Tor, thank you very much.

Mr.Marcus wrote:Its much easier, safer and cheaper to just have a potato chip eating graphics designer click a mouse and create an explosion.


4) I prefer Doritos(tm), if I eat chips at all. But mostly I am a huge fan of sushi and a fine steak.


lunchmeat wrote:I understand that CGI is cheaper than some alternatives, and I understand that it can be done quickly for this kind of show. However, for exploding buildings, would it not be better to use miniature models? In my opinion, these scenes would probably have looked a lot more realistic if miniatures were used. Ideally, the scenes would be a blend of CGI and miniature, with the miniature acting as a base for the final, doctored shot. (I don't know the cost comparison between miniatures and straight CGI, though, so maybe it's purely a budget thing.)


5) It's actually quite an interesting postulate. A good friend of mine directed the films Hollow Man 2 and Coronado. He is a big fan of miniature work and has done some great stuff with them. While it is not my area of expertise, I can give anyone who is interested in the business and tech side of the filmic world, here's some interesting points on miniatures:

First, the miniatures have to look amazing. This is very expensive as there are a lot less expert miniature makers out there than people in VFX. Second, miniatures have to be shot very specifically, there are a lot of issues with perspective, and, most importantly, you have to shoot things like fire, smoke, and motion at super fast frame rates and then speed up the footage in post. So you need a special, high speed camera and a lot more light to match exposure. This is extremely complicated.

I a friend of mine met Bill Pope once, the DP who did Team America. Apparently, he swore to never shoot miniatures again, it was the hardest thing he ever did.

Most significantly, you'd still need an entire crew, a space to shoot it, all the equipment, fire insurance, you name it.

So, in my best guestimate, it would cost at least 2000% the cost of doing it in CGI. I would argue that blowing up a life sized building or car (which they did in the latest episode) for real, might actually even be cheaper than a miniature workflow (but still way more effective than doing it in post).

When working on a show that has 300-500 VFX a week, us chip eaters simply can't be Rick Baker or ILM. I'd venture to say that ILM and Rick Baker wouldn't even nail every shot on that schedule. Often times we craft shots from nothing, not even a reference, in post, in less than a day. None of this is to sound defensive, just pointing out the facts. A feature film might have a year to do the same thing we have to do in two days. Other effects heavy TV shows like Lost or Battlestar have been forced to go on reduced 8-12 episode schedules, with long breaks in between seasons, exactly for this reason. As a typical network show, we do not. We work on a network schedule, but with more effects than a sci-fi blockbuster.

What I appreciate is that so far, I have only seen a few negative comments on really obvious effects. Which means the true meat and potatoes (and potato chips) of what we do is going quite flawlessly.

I'm guessing no one noticed that we added Kitt's blue dash lights in all the shots in front of magic mountain. Or that we removed a giant pimple on someones face in an entire scene. :) often times, we even add in KITTS cylon lights on the front of the car. All kinds of stuff, you name it.

Anyway, I have to go home and grind rep with Dragonsblight. Maybe run a few heroics.

Peace

Z00story


Dude, holy *?$#, you work for the CG department of Knight Rider!? Holy *?$# dude! Well, first of all, thank you for replying to my post with some interesting facts....it is much appreciated and exactly the informed opinion I wanted. Much respect for taking the time to even read my post, and even more respect for replying to it! You guys rock!

Although I think miniatures would probably look better for some of the static building exploding shots, I understand your position on this. I didn't realize the cost of miniatures themselves, and the cost of insurance, and the cost of everything else. It'd be awesome if it could happen (because I know you guys don't have the time or the money to get real life objects and always blow them up) but hey, you take what you can get. Honestly, I think you guys are doing an excellent job. I know I have voiced some criticisms, and those will stand, but I mean, I can't do the work you do. I am honored and very happy that you guys are doing the work for Knight Rider and I hope you keep it up, honestly. You guys may not get the full respect you deserve, but I'm one guy who respects the work you put in behind the scenes.

I will confess, I didn't realize that some of the regular effects we see are CG...I think I might have heard as such, like KI3T's scanner in some scenes, but there's no way I could tell by looking at it, and I won't lie and make that claim.

I guess, while you're here, I want to ask about the transformations, if you're willing to answer (you are under no obligation to do so, and as a fan of the series, I will not hold you in contempt or harbor any negative opinion of you if you do not) my questions. In the latest episode, there is a transformation from Attack Mode to Normal Mode, after escaping the prison via turbo boost. This transformation looked pretty good, but the lighting was off - the specular highlights were missing after and during the transformation. (This was most apparent with the brake lights on the mustang - generally, they are slightly translucent and they refract light in a certain way.) I saw a video on this site for a later episode, where a woman was holding a reflective sphere to gauge light sources in a scene for CG purposes. Will later transformations make use of this data in order to provide these specular highlights? (I can't really blame you guys for not including this - it isn't your fault that KI3T is really shiny.) I can understand the highlights not being visible during the transformation, due to the nanotech and whatnot, but after the tranformation is complete, I'd expect to see that familiar sheen, even if it's an aftereffect....like, after the transformation is fully complete, KI3T has a final shimmer pass over his body and the specular highlights return, as if his nanotech has settled into its final structure.

Thinking about it now, I realize that this is probably one of the scenes that you had to create from scratch...and if that is the case, and even if it isn't, I want to say great job.

I know you guys have probably been hearing a lot of flak about the CG effects in Knight Rider....but I for one want to say that you're doing an excellent job. I love the HUD and all of the other KI3T effects, and I didn't notice any type of mole removal in any of the shots....so know that you have my appreciation, and I'm sure that other fans of the show also appreciate you just as much. Keep up the great work and I hope you continue to enjoy what you do. Hell, I'll even buy you Doritos sometime.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to this.

-Edited for typos and substituted words, like "time" for "type". I was a little tipsy when I wrote this....sorry.
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Michael Pajaro » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:33 am

Sorry Mr. Marcus, but...

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Lynda414 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:39 am

Michael Pajaro wrote:Sorry Mr. Marcus, but...

Image


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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:09 pm

Dude, holy *?$#, you work for the CG department of Knight Rider!? Holy *?$# dude! Well, first of all, thank you for replying to my post with some interesting facts....


Yeah, z00story aka Stephan is the 2D effects supervisor use to be called "the HUD guy" also but his job is more than just that.



That helicopter at the end was CG too or at least I'm pretty sure it was from how it stood out, but that's something more of less minor, at least to me.
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Mr.Marcus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:26 pm

Michael Pajaro wrote:Sorry Mr. Marcus, but...

Image


Its all good. I'm not quite sure where the pwnage part comes in. He didn't really dispute my statements save for the fact that he's not young and out of college and he prefers doritos. He admitted the network goes with cheaper style FX and that was my point. Its the cheaper route when compared with practical and/or model effects. The OP makes it sound like practical is better but that's not necessarily true. One need only look at the old series to notice the obvious hollowed out stunt KITT and headlights flying off during the turbo boosts. Neither the past practical stunts nor the current use of CG is perfect. They're both comparable in terms of the end result, adequate but not perfect special effects. The CG element is not breaking this show. The current show lacks the storytelling and heart of the original. Its bogged down with Ford and NBC suit restrictions/demands. That's why its an inferior product and is almost surely going to be cancelled.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by ghidorah15 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:50 pm

Mr.Marcus wrote:The current show lacks the storytelling and heart of the original. Its bogged down with Ford and NBC suit restrictions/demands. That's why its an inferior product and is almost surely going to be canceled.


Dude, did you even see this week's episode? That's no longer true. The trend has been broken, and the old Knight Rider is coming back in 21st-century style. :)

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by z00story » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:08 pm

Some l33t cr3w pwnage going on here, eh.

Well to answer that thing about the 3D reflections, et cetera.

Let me start off by reiterating that I am a 2D guy. What does that mean? Means I am in NO WAY a CGI expert. We have other people here that do that that are much more informed and can probably give you a way better answer than I can.

I do 2D, stuff like the matte painting of the nuclear power plant in that one episode, and yes, the initial HUD design (though I now have a great team that has basically taken that over for me). I'm a workflow guy. My main gig in life has been to find faster ways to do quality things. I figure out the initial puzzle then build what is necessary to keep solving that puzzle.

So, back to 3D and reflections. Let me generalize here, and point out some differences between TV and Feature Films and the industry in general.

TV is faster. TV costs less to produce, TV is a product payed for by advertising. TV has hard deadlines and weekly schedules.

Film is slower. Film costs more to make. Film is payed for by audiences paying money to see the product. Film deadlines are much more flexible and their release dates usually deal with years, not weeks.

There are exceptions to all of this, but this is pretty much the truth.

Thus, as the worlds of CGI and VFX advance, you're going to see some patterns: Most revolutions in the fields will come about in film first. Why? Film has more money to get better, newer equipment. They can drop the coin to revolutionize things. If there are revolutions in TV, they will probably have more to do with speed and workflow than quality of effects. Why? Because speed and workflow are a higher priority.

Remember, you're not paying to watch a TV show. You are paying to see a movie. They know you want to get your monies worth. They know when you can nod and say "it's okay... cause it's TV."

TV revolutions come second. After equipment prices drop and things have been established in film, TV, being the little bastard brother that it is, gets to play with that stuff.

So to see film quality visual effects in television - very rare. Need I remind people of the polar bear in Lost? Or some other things of the like? That train in Heroes Season 3 Ep 1 looked pretty bad too. Man, even some of the compositing in that Wolverine trailer looks rushed and bad to me.

But then there are shows like Battle Star. Yes, BS has great effects, I know the guys who make them. Their history is a long and detailed one, but it boils down to one thing: they are given more time. They also deal with space and a lot of repeated models, which, arguably, automates things a bit more, freeing up even more time to focus on the details.

So to come around to your question -

The answer is time. Or lack there of. You will see some amazing work (KARR is going to kick some ass, I am blown away, personally.). You will see some work that isn't photo-realistic too. For that particular shot, yes it was a 100% recreation. It happens that sometimes the materials given to us by a production don't cut it, so we have to improvise to get the job done. I actually think that shot looks really good, for what it is, but there is always room for improvement.

One of those improvements, that you caught on to, is the chrome ball, and what is called HDRI Imagery. That is, we are now capturing environments that we can reflect into KITT, making things that much more convincing.

I am also excited to announce the creation of my latest team - the Driving Comp Team. As some of you may have noticed, the driving scenes looked pretty darned good in the last episode. While I, like the next guy, enjoy real driving, I think we've come up with a way to do the next best thing. A reality you will have to deal with in TV (and even films - I noticed this in The Invasion) is that more and more driving scenes will be done green screen. Why? Again, it's a cost/time thing. There's just no beating being able to shoot 10 pages of green screen a day, with no insurance, no special crew to drag them around, and no audio problems.

Anyway, the Driving Comp team is new (originally, we didn't do that part of the show) and I we have gone through great pains to build a workflow that emulates more realistic driving. Of course, not everything, every time will be perfect, nature of the beast.

The next episode, actually, was only half done by our team. So it will be interesting to see if you guys can spot and do a comparison of who did what. From then on, it's all us.

peace out

Stephan

PS If you want to know more about me, my personal site is stephanfleet.com - I think you will find that my own work has quite a different sensibility than KR, which is what I like - being able to find a different style that works for each project I do.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Mr.Marcus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:28 pm

ghidorah15 wrote:
Mr.Marcus wrote:The current show lacks the storytelling and heart of the original. Its bogged down with Ford and NBC suit restrictions/demands. That's why its an inferior product and is almost surely going to be canceled.


Dude, did you even see this week's episode? That's no longer true. The trend has been broken, and the old Knight Rider is coming back in 21st-century style. :)


Too little too late. The moment's gone. The ship has sailed.

When you have NBC thinking of ordering 3 more bonus episodes of ER after its series run officially ends and they have cut episode orders of KR you know things are in trouble.
http://www.variety.com/article/VR111799 ... id=14&cs=1

To be fair the 2 recent episodes were much better. But it still lacks quite a few things. I suspect GST and the creative team are bogged down by all sorts of restrictions/demands by NBC suits and Ford. I'm hoping the KARR storyline makes this show go out with a bang.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Lynda414 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:38 pm

z00story wrote:Some l33t cr3w pwnage going on here, eh.

Well to answer that thing about the 3D reflections, et cetera.

Let me start off by reiterating that I am a 2D guy. What does that mean? Means I am in NO WAY a CGI expert. We have other people here that do that that are much more informed and can probably give you a way better answer than I can.

I do 2D, stuff like the matte painting of the nuclear power plant in that one episode, and yes, the initial HUD design (though I now have a great team that has basically taken that over for me). I'm a workflow guy. My main gig in life has been to find faster ways to do quality things. I figure out the initial puzzle then build what is necessary to keep solving that puzzle.

So, back to 3D and reflections. Let me generalize here, and point out some differences between TV and Feature Films and the industry in general.

TV is faster. TV costs less to produce, TV is a product payed for by advertising. TV has hard deadlines and weekly schedules.

Film is slower. Film costs more to make. Film is payed for by audiences paying money to see the product. Film deadlines are much more flexible and their release dates usually deal with years, not weeks.

There are exceptions to all of this, but this is pretty much the truth.

Thus, as the worlds of CGI and VFX advance, you're going to see some patterns: Most revolutions in the fields will come about in film first. Why? Film has more money to get better, newer equipment. They can drop the coin to revolutionize things. If there are revolutions in TV, they will probably have more to do with speed and workflow than quality of effects. Why? Because speed and workflow are a higher priority.

Remember, you're not paying to watch a TV show. You are paying to see a movie. They know you want to get your monies worth. They know when you can nod and say "it's okay... cause it's TV."

TV revolutions come second. After equipment prices drop and things have been established in film, TV, being the little bastard brother that it is, gets to play with that stuff.

So to see film quality visual effects in television - very rare. Need I remind people of the polar bear in Lost? Or some other things of the like? That train in Heroes Season 3 Ep 1 looked pretty bad too. Man, even some of the compositing in that Wolverine trailer looks rushed and bad to me.

But then there are shows like Battle Star. Yes, BS has great effects, I know the guys who make them. Their history is a long and detailed one, but it boils down to one thing: they are given more time. They also deal with space and a lot of repeated models, which, arguably, automates things a bit more, freeing up even more time to focus on the details.

So to come around to your question -

The answer is time. Or lack there of. You will see some amazing work (KARR is going to kick some ass, I am blown away, personally.). You will see some work that isn't photo-realistic too. For that particular shot, yes it was a 100% recreation. It happens that sometimes the materials given to us by a production don't cut it, so we have to improvise to get the job done. I actually think that shot looks really good, for what it is, but there is always room for improvement.

One of those improvements, that you caught on to, is the chrome ball, and what is called HDRI Imagery. That is, we are now capturing environments that we can reflect into KITT, making things that much more convincing.

I am also excited to announce the creation of my latest team - the Driving Comp Team. As some of you may have noticed, the driving scenes looked pretty darned good in the last episode. While I, like the next guy, enjoy real driving, I think we've come up with a way to do the next best thing. A reality you will have to deal with in TV (and even films - I noticed this in The Invasion) is that more and more driving scenes will be done green screen. Why? Again, it's a cost/time thing. There's just no beating being able to shoot 10 pages of green screen a day, with no insurance, no special crew to drag them around, and no audio problems.

Anyway, the Driving Comp team is new (originally, we didn't do that part of the show) and I we have gone through great pains to build a workflow that emulates more realistic driving. Of course, not everything, every time will be perfect, nature of the beast.

The next episode, actually, was only half done by our team. So it will be interesting to see if you guys can spot and do a comparison of who did what. From then on, it's all us.

peace out

Stephan

PS If you want to know more about me, my personal site is stephanfleet.com - I think you will find that my own work has quite a different sensibility than KR, which is what I like - being able to find a different style that works for each project I do.


There are many of use that do appreciate the work the CGI guys do. We understand the time constraints and appreciate how cool it it that you are bothering to tell us about how things get done. Don't worry about the haters. And I know I have said bad things about the show, but that was the writing, not the CGI.

Peace guys, keep doing what you do.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by David » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:51 pm

The green screen driving scenes did look noticeably better in this week's episode. I had no problem with the explosions either. Noted the odd looking tail-lights post transformation but hey, it looked good enough to me.

However, what is the deal with those awful turbo boosts?! The editor clearly did his best to trim the bajezus out of this weeks in order to save face (presumably a shot of the dreaded blue neon KR logo on the underside of the car was one shot jettisoned into the digital ether), but it was still face palmingly, spirit crushingly LAME looking.

Find a way to jump the car convincingly, please!

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:57 pm

It's something that's an amazing pain in the ass to get right with CGI for many reasons. I'm sure that if the show makes it to a second season they will definitely be investing in a jump car.
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by KnightINSTINCT » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:10 pm

I noticed the KITT orb is alive in more scenes when Mike is entering/leaving KITT! :mrgreen:

Want to hear my level of satisfaction? The show is getting to a level where I really don't find any more reasons to complain...the last two episodes have been assuring. With that said, I may not feel the need to post on here again. That's my awkward form of handing out a compliment, because stating what I wanted to see more or less of on KR08 was my main purpose. z00story, your team is doing great work. The writing team is doing great work. The actors are doing great work. I don't even think of Val Kilmer as KITT, but just that KITT is alive now! Yes, Val Kilmer is doing great work!! GST is doing great work. The music dept. is doing great work. I literally don't have a problem with any aspect of this show anymore! And I believe this place is much more suited for haters than fans anyway. I hope that will change sooner than later.


Thanks for all the great information, z00story.

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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by Michael Pajaro » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:35 pm

KnightINSTINCT wrote:And I believe this place is much more suited for haters than fans anyway.


I could not disagree with you more. Yes, "haters" can have a loud voice. But go back and look at the forum over the past few weeks... KARR footage was released, people liked Knight Fever, people LOVED Wednesday's episode, and the forum is getting busier and busier with people being excited about the show. I don't know about you, but that certainly sounds like the kind of forum I'd want to be a part of.
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Re: CG Explosions in Knight Rider 2008

Post by vertigo778 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:10 pm

amen Phoenix, and yes, they would almost certainly invest in a jump car I think.

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