3D integration VFX has long been an item on my tutorial plan, but it took a considerable amount of time to plan it out properly and finally get started :)
Since the topic of 3D integration is rather complex, I decided to break this tutorial up into a number of parts and today I will start by covering the theory of 3D integration.
3D Integration VFX Tutorial Part 1 – Theory
What is 3D Integration?
3D integration is a technique used for combining real live footage with virtual elements that were created, animated and rendered inside a 3D program.
Most modern television shows and films contain some sort of 3D integration effects, but depending on how well they are done, you may not even notice :)
3D integration is a complicated process, but can be used to create anything you can possibly imagine: from super slow motion 3D bullets to alien planets or strange creatures tearing down entire cities! If you can imagine it you can – theoretically – create the effect :)
What Tools Do I Need?
The main obstacle for many people to create 3D integration effects is that you need to know a 3D program like 3D Studio Max, Maya or Cinema 4D. You also need to be a fairly competent user of the program, otherwise you might struggle with setting up the scene or rendering the individual passes you may require for a realistic composite.
I myself have grown up using 3dsMax and – with the help of my brother Nils and some online tutorials – managed to complete all the steps involved in setting up a scene, pFlow particle systems and rendering everything piece by piece using the vRay renderer plug-in.
However, creating the 3D scene is just one part of a longer process to realistic looking 3D integration VFX that includes the following steps: