One of our projects at Lost Boys Learning is the popular Ghost project. In order to create a ghostly apparition that is subtle and believable, students worked entirely within our compositing software NUKE, as well as shooting individual live action background plates, black-screen character plates in our studio and a group cloud-tank elements shoot. Blending together the three live action plates, the students strive to create volume and cohesion between the different 2D elements and a scary ghost.
Creating abstract, amorphous VFX can be a very challenging experience. Unlike recreating practical or physical objects the students design a look that requires subtlety and creative vision. In a real production experience, the client or supervisor will have difficulty explaining exactly what they are looking for, so it is up to the artist to analyze all their references and design a look that can be effectively sold to the client. The artist might hear that's not quite what I'm looking for...but I'll know when I see it or more oily-smoky, brighter but more subtle, etc.".
The Ghost project is designed to demonstrate the power of leveraging practical elements (physical effects filmed in studio) to achieve very organic looking effects in a short period of time. In our studio, we shot a variety of substances on our high definition video camera including fluorescent ink, egg whites, cream and sparkles in our "cloud-tank" - a repurposed fish tank set up with a black light.
Our students have four weeks from start to finish, including finding relevant film reference, designing their idea and scouting locations. Lost Boys Learning is located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island - a community with a huge variety of accessible, free locations, including urban, rural, seaside, old-growth forest, ruins and mountains.