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Here's how Pulp Muppets was made!

 
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EricM



Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:25 pm    Post subject: Here's how Pulp Muppets was made! Reply with quote

I've made this making of Pulp Muppets so that all you fans out there who want to see the entire movie Muppetfied, or at least the Gimp scene, can do it yourselves, 'cause there's no way I'm gonna to do it.

I'm going to walk through one shot that uses most of the techniques employed. It's the shot near the end of the trailer where Jules says, “Most definitely.” Here's what the shot looks like originally:



First thing you need is a Muppet head to stick over Jackson's face. Here's the Fozzie figure shot against a piece of green craft paper. I never killed myself trying to match the lighting in the original footage, but using just a couple of desk lamps I would approximate the main light source.
I then use chroma key tools to remove the green screen. I don't want Fozzie's body, so I draw a quick garbage mask around his head. Another garbage mask with a soft edge is used to get rid of the back of Fozzie's head and ears so that Jackson's hair will show through.



Placing Fozzie's head on top of Jackson, you can see two problems right away. Jackson's ear and neck can still be seen and so can his chin through Fozzie's mouth.



The warp tool is used to stretch Jackson's hair closer to his face. The red line defines the area affected by the warp. The white line defines the before and after positions of the stretch.



Now Fozzie's head covers Jackson's ear. But you can still see a bit of his neck, so I use the same warp technique to stretch Fozzie's face back a bit.



This next part isn't as hard as it looks. Using a clone paint brush, I paint out Jackson's face. I probably did more than I had to, but it's so much fun. Only one frame is painted and just the part I need is pasted onto all the frames in the shot. There's no need to paint out his entire head; just the part that Fozzie's head doesn't cover up. Luckily this shot is locked off. When the camera is moving, this kind of work can get very annoying!




Jackson nods his head in this shot, so Fozzie's head needs to match the movements.
This is kind of hard to illustrate, but tracking Fozzie's head to Jackson is easy. I tell the computer what points I want to track and it does all the work in just a few seconds! The green dots show the movement over the length of the shot. Gotta love it.

It's much easier to track a point that doesn't change shape. That's why I chose to track his ear and nose. He blinks his eyes and his mouth changes shape as he talks. The first point (ear) is used to track the movement of his head. The second point (nose) is used only as a reference to calculate rotation.


Just one significant step left to go...

We need to make Fozzie talk! Animal was the only Muppet we used that was actually a puppet. Everyone else was a plastic figurine or a still photo downloaded from the Internet. The warp tool was used to make their mouths move.

It's the same thing we did above, but this time the warping had to be in sync with the dialogue. All I did was play the clip over and over again listening to the audio, getting the rhythm of the syllables. Then with the pointer over the “Make Keyframe” button, I pressed the mouse button in time with the words. This didn't animate anything, it just created keyframes on the timeline that showed me where the syllables were. I then pasted the open mouth warp at all the keyframes and pasted closed mouth warps between the original keyframes. Bingo, bammo. He's talking in sync with the dialogue.


All that's left is a little massaging. The video image of Fozzie was a lot sharper and cleaner than the rest of the image, so it was blurred a bit and film grain was added to dirty it up. A colour correct is applied to Fozzie to make him match the colour and contrast of the original trailer.


There you go. All done! Just do it 60 more times and you've made your own Pulp Mupptes. Smile
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Lawson



Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks... This is a great tutorial. What tool did you use?
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EricM



Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Combustion from Autodesk.
The great thing about is that unlike most compositing programs, Combustion has a great set of painting tools. It saves me from having to do painting in something like Photoshop and having to import into my compositor.
...I love Combustion.
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Lawson



Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again... great info... I'm tooling up after not doing this kind of wotk for about 15 years (my last platform was Lightwave on an Amiga)...
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EricM



Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No way! I'm an Amiga/Lightwave old timer too!
Like you I hadn't done any movie making for years, until I saw what they were doing at www.channel101.com
That inspired me to buy a DV camera kit and a new computer set up, just so I could make The Mighty Blowfish. The last time I had used Lightwave was version 5 on the Amiga. I had to do a lot of reading and tutorials to get up to speed to use version 8 on the PC.
I'm still amazed at what can be done on a home comuter these days. It's deffinetly the time to get back into the swing of making movies.

...And just wondering. Are you in the Toronto area?
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