This is a comparison of Trickster Before and After VFX and Color Grading.
Watch The Trickster Fan film here: vimeo.com/88051948
some important things to notice:
1. Color Grading: we had to make it look like the post-apocalyptic world of matrix, outside the virtual world where the sky was scorched, we recorded in daylight so we had to make it look more like night or late-afternoon with clouded sky. The original matrix series made it look more bluish, i didn't make it that much though. the greenish look that matrix have is only used inside the virtual world, but trickster happens only outside of it, where the look is more gray and bluish. We used some masks to keep the color of the actress hair and skin, also we made some masks to darken some bright areas or lighten some dark areas, for example in the interior scenes where the outside was too bright and the shadows areas were too dark.
2. CG Sentinel, Rifle, Aircraft integration: Some pftrack for tracking the camera and the rifle dummy. After rendering we had to match carefully the colors with the real footage. The rifle was difficult sometimes because i had to erase some pieces from the real dummy in the footage. In the shot where the actress is raising the rifle to aim the sentinel i had to reconstruct a piece from her face that was blocked by the dummy but not by the CG weapon. In other parts i just blacked out the dummy and it worked like a charm (lazy but effective). The rifle dummy had a little piece of plastic strip hanging around that i forgot to chop off and it was a pain in the ass to erase it in post, watching the short again i noticed that i forgot to erase it in some parts (oops!). And the guy that you see around there in some shots is me acting like a fool sentinel ;), it's better to have some physical reference for the actress to look at. And what about the sentinel?, oh my goodness! tons of work animating those damn tentacles.
3. There was a lot of vegetation in the location, we had to erase it in post (it doesn't seem to be too much vegetation in a post-apocalyptic-scorched-sky Matrix world). The smallest ones were just desaturated and the bigger ones were blocked by some CG wall or CG terrain.
4. Sky Replacement: the clouded sky was a huge HDR image that i bought on the net, i used the a 3D scene with a tracked camera to place the sky in almost all the shots, then in composition i masked it out using the real almost-white sky as chroma-key with the help of some rotoscoped masks, taking out some trees in the background as well.
5. Some shots were just photographs, in some of them i added some camera movement in post to make it look less static and/or more dramatic. The shot in the sky where the sentinel is flying towards the camera is a photograph too, i added the camera movement making a projection over a 3d environment and animating the 3D camera.
6. One of the most difficult shot was the second one, where the Actress is walking away from the aircraft in flames. We didn't have a green chroma key background so it was tons of work of rotoscoping and it has to look perfect (we could have saved several days of work by just bringing one at the shooting day :'( ). Some CG terrain was used to cover the vegetation, in the foreground there is a destroyed wall but i didn't rotoscope it, i just deleted it completely and replaced it with a CG version of it, so it was easier to put the aircraft behind. The fire from the Aircraft is a recorded footage of real fire.
Well it was a lot of work doing it at free times at nights, early mornings and weekends but tons of fun as well ;) .