Here's an example of what I'm talking about from one of my all-time favorite films, Big Trouble In Little China
. If you haven't seen it, you should. Not only is it a great film, but it shows what you can do with a very, very small budget.
In this clip, Egg Shen is demonstrating some Chinese Sorcery:
Notice that the blue light from the sparks is lighting up the surrounding objects. It's not PERFECT, though - the extra light is coming from behind the camera and to the left, but that misses the cup of Egg's right palm (frame left), which is in shadow. If the continuity editor had picked up on it, they'd have reflected some of the blue light from a mirror on the right into his palm to make up for it. Then it would've matched the flickering from the main light being shone in his face.
Still - the effect is a PART of the scene, rather than just a superimposed drawing. You'll need this level of ability to place actors on a virtual stage, or else you won't be able to get your lighting right, their positions and shadows right - none of it. They'll be superimposed on a graphic, rather than part of a CG scene.
Do yourself another favor and rent the movie Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow. The movie is fun, but watch the extra features on the disc, specifically the Making of Sky Captain stuff and his original short concept film. He did exactly what you're trying to do now, so you'll have to master the same techniques he used to do his short film. Make a note of them.Originally posted on: 09-May-2006, 03:50 GMT