Video Post






Video Post

Video Post demands a book of its own, due to its features and complexity. Even as a 3ds max beginner however, there are some things you should know about it. Video Post is used to render effects to an animation after everything else is configured. It’s especially useful for creating fast background and light effects. A quick blast through a typical Video Post project — a spacecraft in flight — shows off those capabilities (and isn’t all that different from the way the pros do it in big-budget sci-fi movies).

Setting the scene

Think of Video Post as an ideal place to use the classic lights-camera-action sequence that movie directors know by heart. The first order of business is to set the scene. Here’s what that looks like for the spacecraft-in-flight example:

  1. Access the Video Post Panel (shown in Figure) by choosing Rendering>Video Post.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Video Post Panel.

  2. Pass the mouse cursor over the top row of tools and options in the Video Post Panel.

    A label appears over each tool. (Handy, isn’t it?)

  3. Place an Extended Primitive Capsule in your scene to act as a spacecraft.

  4. Place a camera in the scene, using the Front Viewport.

  5. Place two Omni lights in the scene.

  6. Change the Perspective Viewport to the Camera Viewport.

  7. Create a keyframe animation so the lights move across the camera’s view during the animation.

  8. Keyframe the Capsule object so it too moves across the camera’s view in the animation.

     Tip  Make the object’s movements different from those of the lights.

Using Add Scene Event

As most fans of Saturday morning cartoons know, only the cheapest animations freeze the entire scene and move only one thing (for example, a character’s mouth). In the real world, lots of things are moving all the time — not just the item that’s the center of attention. Adding a Scene Event makes your animation seem more like a real-world scene. Here’s what that looks like in the spacecraft-in-flight example:

  1. Choose Rendering>Video Post to bring up the Video Post Panel.

  2. In the top row of options, pass your mouse pointer over the tools and find the Add Scene Event tool.

    No problem — just read the labels as they pop up.

  3. Click the Add Scene Event tool to bring up the Add Scene Event Panel.

  4. Under the View heading, choose the Camera_01 option.

    Doing so selects the camera as the effect-processing viewer for the scene.

  5. Click the Render Options button and configure the settings in the Render Options panel.

  6. Close the Render Options panel, and then close the Add Scene Event Panel.

Adding a lens flare

For the you-are-there realism everybody expects from a camera that’s filming an actual scene, you can add a lens flare. Here’s how:

  1. Click the Add Image Filter icon in the Video Post panel.

    An Edit Filter Event Panel appears.

  2. Click the Setup button to open the Lens Effects Flare Panel (shown in Figure).

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Lens Effects Flare Panel.

  3. Click Preview to highlight the lens flare you are creating; check its appearance.

  4. Click Node Sources on the left, and select your Omni01 light as the source of the new lens flare.

  5. Click the tabs on the right; each represents an attribute of the lens flare.

    Here you can experiment with the parameter values and play with the sliders, watching the preview window. As you alter the settings, the lens flare changes before your eyes.

  6. Click OK to accept your chosen settings for the Omni01 lens flare.

Doing it again to enhance realism

You can reuse certain processes to refine the realism of your scene. Here’s what happens to the spacecraft-in-flight scene when you reapply the Image Filter, the lens flare, and the lighting options:

  1. Repeat the Add Image Filter process again, creating another lens flare (different from the first) for the Omni02 light.

  2. Add Image Filter Event again, this time choosing Star Field from the list.

  3. Click Setup to enter the Stars Control Panel.

    Use the following parameter values in the Stars Control Panel: Dimmest Star 77, Brightest Star 255, Logarithmic, Star Size 2.0, Motion Blur 0, Star Database Random, Count 12,777, and Background.

  4. Click OK to accept your settings.

  5. Click the Add Image Output Event icon at the top of the Video Post Panel.

    The Add Image Output Event panel appears.

  6. Click the Files button in that panel to create a filename, destination, and animation file format for the animation you are about to save.

  7. Click Save to apply your information.

  8. In the Video Post Panel, click the Execute Sequence icon (it looks like a running man).

    Doing so starts the process of creating your animation and saving it where you told the computer to save it. Your Video Post Panel should resemble Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: In an ideal universe, your Video Post Panel looks like this.

 On the CD  Be sure to view the VidPost2.avi animation in the ANIMS folder on this book’s CD-ROM.

This whole section of the chapter is only a taste of Video Post. If it has made you hungry for more, all I can say is, “Go for it — bon appetit!”



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