Computer Graphics World

September / October 2017

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s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 7 c g w 9 "For the black-and-white frames, the artists traced the movement in the live- action footage," Wochniak says. "They did rotoscoping." For the color frames, however, which comprise the majority of the film, the paint- ers used the projected reference material only as a guide. They had to re-create the image in Van Gogh's style with brushstrokes. "From the keyframe and live-action footage composited onto the canvas, the painters create a new oil painting and then photograph it with the digital camera," Dominiak explains. "Once it is photographed, they scratch off the parts of the painting that move into a different position, and repaint it. Then, take another photo. And so on. With static camera shots, only a char- acter's face is repainted; the background is still. But if the camera is moving, the painter has to scratch the whole frame and paint it again." The painters did this 12 times for each second of film. Postproduction The artists photographed each painting with a Canon D20 digital camera at 6k resolution. BreakThru's three visual effects artists then went to work refining the images while maintaining the quality of the paintings. They used Canon's internal RAW converter to move the photograph into JPEG format, and The Foundry's Nuke to stabilize the images to avoid flickering and to fix distortions. "The projected images weren't perfect rectangles," says head of VFX, Lukasz Mackiewicz. "So we had to fix all the shots." Adobe's Aer Effects helped the visual effects artists remove dirt and specks, tone down heavy specular light on the edges of brushstrokes, and fix too rapid changes in paint tones. "The painters didn't always sit in the same position, so that would create a slight flicker, especially in the dark scenes, and sometimes the lights would get dimmer," says Mackiewicz. "We might have le minor issues, but when we made a decision to improve one image, the rest stood out. We were lucky that Aer Effects' Refine So Matte handled and interpreted the brush- strokes the way it did." "At the beginning, we thought we wouldn't be able to remove dirt or fix a background," he adds. "It would have been too tedious. Aer Effects sped up our work by 30 times. At the beginning, we thought only 10 percent would be [fixed in] post. At the end, only 10 percent wasn't. We did things at the end we didn't conceive of at the beginning." Of course, that might be said for the entire project, which began as an idea for a short film to be painted by one artist, Direc- tor Dorota Kobiela, and grew to become the remarkable Loving Vincent. Barbara Robertson (BarbaraRR@comcast. net) is an award-winning writer and a contributing editor for CGW. Vincent van Gogh decided to become an artist at age 28. He died at age 37. Van Gogh cut off his ear in 1888 aer a fight with his artist friend Paul Gauguin, who was living with him in Arles at the Yellow House. While in Arles, Van Gogh completed nearly 200 paintings in 15 months, many of which are now among his most recognizable images today. Director Dorota Kobiela and Co-director Hugh Welchman read 40 publications about Vincent van Gogh and visited 19 museums in six countries to view approximately 400 of his paintings. Many direct quotes from Vincent van Gogh's 800 letters are in the film. 5,000 artists applied to work on Loving Vincent; 125 made the grade. A Kickstarter campaign launched in 2014 funded part of the painters' training. The painters used 6,500 tubes and 1,300 liters of Royal Talens paint to make the movie. The filmmakers made Loving Vincent in the Academy ratio because it is close to the composition of most Van Gogh paintings. Artists painted each frame of the film in oil on a 67cm x 49cm canvas – 12 frames per second of film. The opening shot of the film, which descends through Van Gogh's "The Starry Night," contains over 600 paintings. Three painters took a combined total of 14 months to paint that shot. Director Dorota Kobiela was named one of Variety's 10 Animators to Watch in 2017. Loving Vincent Brushstrokes PAINTERS CREATED BLACK-AND-WHITE FLASHBACK SHOTS BY ROTOSCOPING THE LIVE-ACTION FOOTAGE IN A PREDETERMINED ANIMATION STYLE.

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