Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Moviestorm visual effects: night vision

One of the things we always liked about The Movies was the large variety of "film stock" you could use to give your movie a particular style. If you're a Moviestorm user, you're somewhat limited at the moment to either the standard look or the cel shaded look, unless you drag your footage into a proper external video editor and apply filters to it there. Some users have created some amazing effects - iceaxe's Clockwork, for example - but that's more than most people have time or skill to do.

So, quietly, Julian has been putting together a set of filters that can be used directly inside Moviestorm, with no need for an external editor. So far, we have eleven that we'll show you over the next couple of weeks.

When we've finished, you should (we stress, should) be able to overlay several filters on top of each other, and combine this with cel-shading as well. Quite how well this will work, we're not entirely sure yet, but you should be able to create some interesting looks. It will certainly hammer your performance, that much we do know!

Here's the basic test movie that we'll be using to demonstrate each of the filters. It's not exciting, but it'll give you an idea of what's coming up.

A few things to note: This is not representative of the final quality. This is really, really raw development code that we've grabbed straight off Julian's desk, and he hasn't actually finished writing it yet. That's why some of the movies don't fit nicely in the screen - there's a bug that can cause the filtered 2D image to resize when it's rendered - and you'll see walk marks in all the test movies too, which is part of the animation and nav mesh stuff that Mark's working on.

There's no user interface to any of the filters yet - it's all controlled from within the code by manually setting parameters, so it's nowhere near as fine-tuned as we'd like. (The jump at the beginning is just due to bad camerawork when we set up the test movie - that's not Julian's fault!)

And please remember - everything you see here is 100% pure Moviestorm. There's absolutely no post-processing at all. We haven't changed the lighting or any other settings. We've simply applied the filter and re-rendered the exact same footage.

As usual, we can't say when this will be released, but it certainly won't be 1.1.6, and 1.1.7 is highly unlikely too. Still, we're really excited by the possibilities these filters offer, and figured you'd like a look anyway. So here goes. Enjoy!

Effect #1: Night vision

First up, here's an effect we're all familiar with from countless movies: night vision. It's based on what you'd see through an image intensifier, a starlight scope, or perhaps seeing through a cat's eyes. This would also work well loaded onto a TV or computer screen for a surveillance camera effect. Optionally, you can add in noise, which gives you a slightly more authentic look.



Night vision, please. Thank you.

IceAxe said...


If only I'd had this sort of capability when doing Clockwork! To apply effects like this (and the others that I can't wait to see...) requires a whole additional step in post production (or at least it did in the case of Clockwork because I decided to rerender every clip with the filter applied so that I could keep the performance up in the video editor)
Being able to do it directly in Moviestorm will greatly increase productivity (yes I know I'm making it sound like a CRM tool!) Seriously. This is serious stuff!