At work I’m often required to fill in shots that we can’t film. In this case the story we were illustrating talked about a small motor vehicle (quad bike) travelling down a lonely road at night. I didn’t want to create a day for night effect with available footage so I made some headlights and grass, then shot it myself. In Blender of course 😉
The first pass included a pair of spheres traveling a path with some animated rotation to simulate riding over rough terrain. But it looked to sterile.
So I added a plane growing some very rough grass as particles. Now as the headlights approach our camera they are occluded by stalks of grass, giving a flickering effect to the glare in the lens.
This is all rendered with Blender Internal as I didn’t have time to resolve the Cycles images, although the free depth of field would have looked nice. Of course this raises an issue that I have with using Cycles in Blender.
Cycles is a magnificent path tracing renderer that can provide stunning results… if you let it cook for long enough. The light effects and blurs are very realistic, but they come at a price. That price is time and I simply don’t have very much of that on the tight deadlines that I am subjected to. The result of this is that I rarely render in Cycles or if I do I make sure that there are no shallow depth of field effects (lots of blur) or any other path effects that will eat up render time.
Finally here are the nodes that I used to composite the shot and the final result clipped from the story.