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June 20, 2006

A stuntman was shot hanging on the hood of a car. Mechnology created a 3D stuntman to match. The actual stuntman was first positioned on the car and driven across a parking lot towards a concealed trench, equipped with a stunt pad. When the car came to a sudden stop, the stuntman was thrown from the car and into the ditch, where he safely landed on the stunt pad.

Lead 3D artist Mike Walls used reference shots of the stuntman, taken on set by Black, and digital pictures of the actor to model a fully rigged and textured virtual stuntman using Autodesk 3DS Max. The animation was carefully lined up to seamlessly replace the real stuntman. To animate the character’s long plunge into the ocean, Walls used 3DS Max’s physics system along with keyframe animation to finesse the final performance.

The studio also used Max to create the CG ocean and shore. Mechnology took digital video reference shots of surf and waves along the Pacific Coast near Los Angeles. Elements of crashing waves were generated by Mechnology digital artist Ben Campanaro by isolating sections of the DV footage and then altering select frames to match the camera’s perspective. Walls performed the final composting, adding the CG elements to the shot and removing the film crew, lighting equipment, and safety wires from the original plate.

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