Tuesday 20 May 2014

Jurassic Wedding

You will have seen the instant internet classic of a dinosaur crashing a wedding... I got married this year and just had to do the same. Fortunately my wife agreed! I am a biochemist, but cloning a dinosaur to crash my wedding would have been a bit of a challenge, so I had to stick to the graphics approach instead.

So how do you get a dinosaur to crash your wedding?

Step 1: Recruit an understanding wedding photographer and guests for a quick running photoshoot. Make sure everyone is screaming and staring at something imaginary!

Step 2: Recruit a dinosaur. A virtual one will do, and I used this excellent freely available Tyrannosaurus rex model for blender.

Step 3: Get some dynamic posing going on! Most 3D graphics software uses a system called 'rigging' to add bones to a 3D model to make it poseable. This is exactly what I did, and with 17 bones (three for each leg, seven for the tail, two for the body and neck and two for the head and jaw) I made our pet T. rex poseable.

 The bone system

The posed result

Step 4: Get the T. rex into the scene. By grabbing the EXIF data from the running photo I found that it was shot with a 70mm focal length lens. By setting up a matching camera in blender and tweaking its position I made the camera position match perspective between the view of the T. rex and the running people.

Step 5: Making the dino look good. A 3D model is just a mesh of points in 3D space. To get it looking good texturing and lighting need to be added. For this project they also need to match the photo. Matching the lighting is particularly important, and I used Google maps and the time the photo was taken to match up where the sun was as accurately as possible.

The T. rex wireframe

Textured with a flat grey texture.

With a detail bump texture and accurate lighting.

With colours, detail texture and lighting.

 Step 6: Layering it all together. To fit into the scene the dinosaur must sit into the picture in 3D; in front of some object and behind others. To do this I just made a copy of some of the guests which need to sit in front of the dinosaur and carefully cut around them. The final result is then just layering the pictures together.

So there you go! 6 steps to make your own wedding dinosaur disaster photo!

Software used:
Blender: 3D modelling and rendering.
Paint.NET: Final layering of the image.

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