VFX Shot 1

After doing the test comp for this shot I made few adjustments. I did render the pyramids with a slight rotation on the Y axis, but I ended up using only a single .exr image, since I was worried about the rotation speed once the camera gets closer to the pyramids in later shots. Again, I rendered only the necessary passes, since the objects will be not too visible. On the filming day, the valley was covered in fog and haze filled the atmosphere into the distance. It would have been tricky to replace the sky as the fog covered the houses, so I have decided to just colour grade the pyramids. In order to integrate them properly I had to sacrifice a lot of render detail. If I omitted the rotation, I think I could have got away with just rotos of the pyramid shape and no rendering whatsoever. On contrary, I was also thinking of using the same pyramid sequence in the second VFX shot, but since the angle of looking at the pyramid was very different, I have ditched this idea too.
     The next step in integration was to add blur. General blur and fog blur as areas covered in fog, were even less sharp.
      With this footage I had some out of focus issues on several frames. I could not fix it, but I could replicate the effect on my CG element, so I animated a transform node to replicate the scale change and of course an animated defocus node.

Haze, fog, blur and AF replication
Result of the nodes above

Next, I wanted to add some more definition to the clouds in front of the pyramids, so I took a still frame using a FrameHold and rotopainted few strokes. Here I bumped into a problem with the RotoPaint, where painting 2 or more strokes, which overlap, creates an outline instead of smooth blend. I did not manage to find a solution, but I made the effect less visible by lowering the opacity.
      To break the paint stroke effect I brought it two .png images of clouds, which I made copies of and with few adjustments, like tint and opacity I placed them where needed.

This shot is not heavy for VFX. Most of the clouds are not so evident, but with these tiny details I tried to get closer to realism and ”sell” this shot.

The complete VFX shot 1 node network
The final look