Integrating Animated Assets

CG Integration Breakdown including animated characters from


6/24/20223 min read

In this project we were given the task to use animated characters to successfuly integrate into moving live action plates. As in the other projects, we were encouraged to record our own footage, making sure it has camera motion to track and capture as much lighting information of the scene as necessary. I used a Cannon 5D Mark III, and two 3 inch balls (chrome and soft grey). As for the animated characters go, I downloaded them from, but I didn't end up every aspects of them from the website...

Here's the cleanplate I used:

I decided to use this alien character and have a workout animation for two characters. However, the UVs and textures that came with them were low quality and unefficient so I had to create my own.

Before I could start on the 3D aspect of the project I had to track the camera, for which I used the following setup/settings:

As I moved on to texturing, I didn't really know what I wanted so I was just experimenting with different shaders in Substance Painter. One of the first options was a lava shader, but that didn't quite work with the mesh and just simply wouldn't make sense in the scene. Then I decided to go with a texture that emphasizes the curves of the characters. These are some early versions of he comp:

I wanted to have some variety within the animated characters without having to export multiple textures from Substance Painter, so I decided to use an aiColorJitter node in Maya, fro which I created a mask so it only effects the areas where you can see lines on the objects.

After I had all the layers rendered out I could move onto compositing in Nuke, where I started with color correcting the background, because the one that I recorded was very distaurated.

I decided to use the subtractive method for the cg part because with the additive result I got a very different result than the original, but this way it stayed the same so I could color correct each element efficently.

I was going to use crypto mattes for seperating each character from each other to have more control, but whenever I took the renders from the render farm they mattes were simply not there, so I created a render layer where each character would have its own color using a simple Maya Surface Shader so that I could do the sepratin easily in Nuke.

After that I just moved onto adding the shadows under the the characetrs which was quite simply and I also rotoed out the feet of the guy who jumps on top of the wall.

To add more realism I added depth of field, since the characters were kind of spaced out on the scene and motion blur because some of the animation were quite dynamic.

Then I added some lightwrap to make the characters blend even more...

Having all things put together my node graph would look like this:

And this is my final render with breakdowns: