Tag Archives: Blender


Generate quick interview backgrounds with Archimesh for Blender

Here’s a puzzle:

You’re working on a science documentary where all but one of the interviews were shot on green screen — in different locations, with different lighting setups, different cameras/lenses with different operators. Some of them are over or underexposed and the blown out or crushed areas of the footage are unrecoverable. No background plates were shot, and none of the stock imagery you have to work with matches the lighting or camera angles. Quick, make the interviews look like they’re in ten different locations yet belong in the same film. 

Solution: throw together a couple of CG “science” “labs”, and make ’em super blurry so no one can see how simple the geometry is.


(Note: these, and all the images in this post, are raw test outputs. The films haven’t been onlined or color corrected yet.)

I didn’t have a lot of time on this, but Antonio Vazquez’s Archimesh add-on for Blender makes it possible to build interiors very, very quickly.  Blender is definitely not my favorite 3D application, but there’s nothing like this add-on available for C4D. And Archimesh is free!

1. Enable three Blender add-ons: Archimesh, IvyGen and Sapling. Fake up some lab/office interiors with Archimesh (some great how-to videos here), then add some plants with the other tools. (Gotta have plants. It’s a documentary about plants, and these folks are pretty much all plant scientists. )


2. Export the geometry to C4D. Play with the materials, match camera angles and lighting to interviewees, then render out of focus. I only built a couple rooms for ten interviewees, just moved the camera around and changed the colors. It would be pretty trivial to adapt this setup for multicam interviews.



3. Composite and tweak color in AE. compositetest

As long as your final result is this blurry, your ivy can just be a bunch of square planes, and no one will ever know.



Airmail Route Map

Mapping Plugin Roundup

Can’t be bothered with learning GIS software? Here’s a quick roundup of a few plugin options when it comes to map creation for animation. Have I missed any others? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

After Effects

Fabiantheblind’s AEmap and Locations plugins give you the ability to build, customize and animate a political equirectangular map, and/or  drop geolocated coordinates onto several different projections. These are great if you have country-level data to display or want to pinpoint specific locations. (He’s working on a tool for InDesign too!)

Cinema 4D

Paul Everett’s cinemaplugins.com sells several tools for working with map data directly within C4D. His plugins can import both DEM files (digital elevation maps) and OpenStreetMap data automatically.

Illustrator + Photoshop

Avenza MapPublisher is a full GIS toolkit for Illustrator, and  Geographic Imager is its raster companion for Photoshop. These are serious tools for mapping professionals, and priced to match. There is a more limited “basic license” available for Geographic Imager though that’s only $199.


ESRI Shapefile Import/Export and Georaster Import are free(!) plugins for Blender that do exactly what it says on the tin: they let you import shapefiles and geolocated raster images into Blender.