May 6, 2002

Another exercise/project. Only this time, we were to take our own photograph and insert a 3D model that neared photo realism. Lighting and focal length play the largest role in this type of work. I have done handfuls of composite shots or matte paintings and personal projects, so remembering to take the necessary notes wasn't a big deal. A big secret to pull off a convincing composite is to have one key light source; not an over-all fill. Mimicking a spotlight or single light source with 3D software is much simpler to manage than a complex lighting scheme, and the shot will look remarkably realistic if you pay attention to shadows, highlight color, and ambience.

This piece is a self portrait. I was the cheapest model available.

Original Photograph

Final Composite shot


Modeling this scene was straightforward, if not time consuming. Dark shadows allowed me to omit much of the geometry, and allowed me to concentrate on things that were more important. Modeling a human head is an art form. There are countless websites that go into laborious detail over intricacies and techniques when it comes to modeling heads. There are 3 general methods. Nurbs, Polygons, or Subdivision primitives (Called Metanurbs, in Lightwave). I started with Nurbs, moved to polygons, and eventually switched to SubDivs. Here is one of the most useful resource sites for head modeling:

Interface Screenshot showing
model details.

Interface Screenshot showing
composite details.

© 2002 GDUNNE