June 10, 2007

Photoshop, AE go to war in "300"

I’ve got movies on the brain, having just returned from a couple days spent with the amazing folks at Disney Feature Animation.  (Seriously, I throw around “great” and “amazing” as much as the next guy, but these artists are laughably talented.  It’s the sort of place where you’ll hear a guy saying, “Well, I’m not a painter…” as you look around and see his lovingly painted artwork on every wall.  I had to interrupt, saying, “Man, maybe you’re not officially ‘that guy’ here, but trust me, you’re *That Guy* everywhere else!”)  I took notes furiously, and maybe at some point I’ll be able to share bits here.  (I just want to make sure that I don’t inadvertently “give up the gag,” as the Disney folks would say.)

In the spirit of peeking behind the scenes, I enjoyed learning on Adobe.com how Photoshop and After Effects were used in the making of 300.  From roughing out storyboards to painting backdrops in Photoshop, “crushing” the colors, adding dust in AE, and compositing layers in HDR, Adobe apps are used throughout the filmmaking process.

The article reminds me of a previous Adobe.com profile, one discussing how Photoshop and AE were used in the making of The Aviator.  Favorite insight:

Scorsese wanted The Aviator’s color palette to reflect the look of movies from the period being portrayed onscreen. Hence, when the action is set in the years 1927-1937, the film emulates Technicolor’s two-color dye transfer; for the period 1937-1947, the film’s look changes to Technicolor’s three-color dye transfer system…

After consulting with one of the oldest color timing experts at Technicolor, Legato was able to “previz” the palettes by scanning black-and-white stills and using Photoshop to digitally overlay cyan, magenta, and yellow filters, digitally emulating historic Technicolor color processes.

Adobe’s own Mike Kanfer won an Oscar for his work on Titanic and is helping keep the ideas flowing back and forth.  We’ll try to gather more info to share soon.

PS–One other cinematic mention: New Yorker/Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty recommends Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. Author/architect/curator
James Sanders gives Photoshop a shout-out for its role in the interactive & documentary efforts.

Posted by John Nack at 1:19 PM on June 10, 2007
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