The digital set I made is a simple walkthrough camera which helps me cheat a bit with time editing in After Effects. It is not necessary to render enourmous amount of frames to achieve result which I can do in After effects. For this reason I used few effects.
Firstly, I applied a Time Stretch to my layer and increased the % to fit my desired time. Important note is to turn on the Frame Blending so we have a smooth frame transition. Because of the amount of rendered frame, I had to make it even smoother but avoid the chopping frame transition. For this reason I applied Time Wrap effect and keyed the amount I want it wrapped. I increased the speed to compensate the time stretching I applied previously. In my case, chosing Pixel Motion worked best although still some transition issues appeared
Also rendering adjustment layers and effects in After Effects takes ages. So to save time I rendered my sequences with the effects separately as Window Media Player format which reduces the file size but keeps the quality as good. Then I imported them in the Main final composition which I rendered Lossless. I noticed that if I do not render the sequences seperately it takes more than 5 hours to render all the effects including light rays, otherwise it takes 7 minutes for the final composition.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books
a digital set design by Antonina Peneva based on the novel
‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruis Zafon
When I first read The Shadow of the Wind I instantly fall in love with the book. The style, the atmosphere, the characters, the twisted plot, the time travelling were all in perfect proportions. So easilly digested was it all as if merging into the story and becoming another character hidden in the shadows as an invisible witness was something natural. After that I could not resist the tempation but read The Prisoner of Heaven and the Angle’s Game. These ‘epic films on paper’ are stories that leave traces in your soul long after you put the book back on the shelf to collect another dose of dust. So natural was the idea to recreate one of the many enigmatic places in this book such as The Cemetery of Fogotten Books.
There are many scenes in this book worth bringing alive as digital sets. The one this project involves is the massive, gloomy and mysterious library or The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Zafon presents the audience with three sectoins of this building: the entrance, the round hall and the corridor full of bookshelves where Daniel searches for his book.
The original idea of this project was to create a complicated three scene animation as a walkthrough showing around this ancient building. But the time and complexity of this scene left me with no choice but cut the other two scenes and focus on two different camera position showing only one of the scenes: The Round Hall.
Here is a final render of Camera 1 and 2 image sequences with some Photoshop adjustments.
Because adding all these coloour adjustmens manually to each sequence will take eternity, I added these filters to After Effects. I added adjustment layers to my Composition using Colour Balance, Mask for the edge shadowing, Selective Colour, auto Contrast and of course LightBurst for the light rays. To the latter I added animated Fractial Noise to get that particle effect in the air. Here are some screenshots of the workflow.