Michael Cauchi- Breakdowns

I made a friend. Though this is no real surprise as I don’t shut up. Anyhow, Michael studies Animation over at Bournemouth and he was happy to talk me through a few cool things that would help me with my own compositing scene.

I originally wanted to do something a bit mad- moving and tracking. However, as Greg  mentioned when looking at Michael’s showreel, he loved the scene below. It was eye catching, and simple too. That’s when I slowly began to realize, maybe simple would be better.

Michael explained to me how the composition was made- from the creation of the back-plate in a panoramic look to the lighting references from the sphere. I really don’t understand a lot of the information he has given me but I will have a look to understand what it actually means.

 I have had a few questions from different people recently about the HDR (latlong map) for the comp project as well as the steps to producing it. I thought I may as well breakdown what worked well for me in the hopes it will help clear up any confusion  if you have any suggestions for things to add to this list just add them in the comments or something  recommended equipment:

1) full frame sensor camera (such as a canon 5d)

2)a vr tripod (if not available just try to get any tripod that allows you to turn the camera) 3) a 50mm prime lens (to minimise lens distortion, if not available try to get a zoom lens that has 50mm in its range)

4) 8mm fisheye lens (preferably the sigma 8mm) to capture the spherical panoramic hdr.

5) a colour chart and light probe set, these are only for reference purposes and are not strictly necessary. However I do heavily recommend getting them if you can!

Process: 1) backplate, this will contain no spheres or colour chart

2) sphere reference, this should be from the same camera angle as your backplate. Try to take 1 image of each sphere individually and then 1 with all three in the composition you wish to make

3) colour chart, again this should be taken from the same camera angle as the backplate

4) the hdr’s for the latlong (panoramic image) This depends on what process you wish to use. for the chrome sphere you just take several images from the same position at bracketed exposures, then you move your camera to capture it from another angle. (distance is not too important if you are unfolding it in nuke using a sphereical transform node) the chrome sphere should be in the same position as the reference sphere for the original backplate image! For fisheye, you just need to centre the vr tripod so that the camera rotates around the lens, this will minimise distortion in the final image. Also make sure the camera is positioned as close to your subjects position as possible. Chances are this will mean that you have to move the tripod from where you taken the original backplate from. 4.

5) to merge the hdr’s together just take the raw images to photoshop and go file-automate-merge to hdr pro 5) when stitching the image you will either use nuke using sphereical transform nodes (if you did a chrome sphere based latlong) Or If you do a fisheye capture method I suggest using PtGUI instead

6) finally, i’d suggest grading your final hdr panoramic image in nuke to make sure the colour match the original colour chart image since when you merge raws to hdr images it tends to desaturate the colours just a small amount at the middle exposures. Final quicktips: -Save your hdr maps and latlong as an open exr (.exr) file rather then a radiance (.hdr) file. Open exr with compression set to none jst seems to give better results and have less effect on the floating point value of the lights – make sure that the colour chart can be seen somewhere in the latlong map, this will help grading it later so that reflections in your spheres are correct (or at least LOOK correct)

Final Composition breakdown. (Vimeo, 2016).


Vimeo. (2016). Final comp breakdown. [online] Available at: https://vimeo.com/165597308 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2016].



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