Beniamino Della Torre

Blend ‘em Up – Making of

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I’ll try to explain some techniques I’ve used in my video Blend’em Up.

I apologize for my English!






SCENE 1 – The City 

I’ve used some solids from “Shipyard V0.7″ of Greyoxide for the geometry of the buildings. I should have worked them with care, but I had to make a run.

I quickly created textures using images of skyscrapers in order to give the idea of the windows and quickly mapped in UV. I should have done this with more precision, generating the specular maps for the windows and other things, but there was no time.

I’ve created a city using a particle system.

Then I’ve created a sphere in which I’ve mapped the sky and the horizon at 360 degrees.

I’ve created the roads with curves and added the vehicles using particle systems on curves. HereI had to work a lot more, to get different speeds and trajectories.








SCENE 2 – The Chase 

I’ve worked the scene using different paths for the ships, missiles and the camera. I’ve used keyframed constraints on the camera to keep focus on the subject that interested me.

The trails of the missiles are generated by particle systems using a textured plane, always facing the camera, and slightly rotated randomly by particle systems.

The explosions are made with planes facing the camera that have video texture with alpha channel. I’ve used one plane for fire and one for the smoke.

Then I’ve generated debris using particle systems with explode modifier and solidify modifier.












SCENE 3 – The aeronaut 

I’ve started working on the 3D, creating the desired movement of the camera and the spacecraft. Once I’ve reached the correct movements, I’ve sat my son Nicolò in front of a green screen (without markers). In the video recording I’ve tried to reproduce the same movement made earlier in 3D.

Then I’ve stabilized the scene on green screen using a button of his t-shirt as reference. I’ve keyed the green screen with the compositor and I’ve put Nicolò in the 3D scene on a plan constrained to the camera, so you always see the face perpendicular to the scene (like the Moon and the Earth)!

In this scene, I do not like the vibrations of the spacecraft … are not well made. Unfortunately I had no time to try different values of frequency and amplitude.








SCENE 4 – Form above 

Same techniques of stage 1 and stage 2.








SCENE 5 – The collapse 

I have divided the building into 4 parts. I made the moves by hand, with the keyframes, simulating the slow collapse.

I’ve added the particle systems (as in previous scenes) to generate debris.

I’ve enabled the smoke simulation using three different emitters placed inside the building.

To give the idea of the large scale of the dust, I’ve raised a lot the value of the density in the material panel. I should have used more subdivisions, but I had no time to wait for the bake. Unfortunately, on my computer the smoke simulation is very slow.

I should have worked more on the geometry of the build… now you can see the mesh has no volume, and there are impossible compenetrations.

I really don’t like the building on the right of the secondo view. His material and textures are useless… there no realism at all.








SCENE 6 – Aida 

This is the less convincing scene, but I wanted to accommodate requests for my daughter to appear too.

I have not studied the scene before. I’ve taken the camera and I’ve made the shot on the fly, on the balcony of the house, no green screen. In the background there was the sky.

I’ve used the antennas the houses in font of Aida to do the motion tracking, which is not perfect, because there are too little tracking points.

The movement of the face is not very consistent with the one of the spacecraft. In addition, I’ve found it hard to key the background… unfortunately it’s very noticeable. There is a further problem that I have not had time to settle: at the end of scene you can see “holes” in the roofs of the houses in front of you … I should have masked it.

However I wanted to keep this scene, to keep a promise made to a daughter!















Here I put Nicolò in front of the green screen. With a joystick in hand. I’ve drawn 8 points on his face with a pen. My wife moved a chupa chups into the space in front of his eyes. I was able to map the movement of the face and then, with a solver object, I’ve constrained the HUD elements. I’ve drawn the HUD externally and then imported on planes, to which I gave a little slow parent.

I did the green screen keying. I’ve removed the markers using masks in the compositor to identify the areas on which make a blur. It is not a perfect technique, but when you are in a hurry, it can fit.

Then I’ve made the tracking of a single tracker in the chair, which helped me to understand the movement of my camera (which was at hand, not on tripod) and then I’ve parented the camera with the cockpit. This gives a greater idea of the vibrations of the spacecraft.

In this scene there are important errors: the HUD is reversed respect to the POV scene that you will see later, and the artificial horizon is not working. Trivial errors!








SCENE 8 – Point of View 

Here I’ve used the techniques of the early scenes. The viewfinder is moved by hand using keyframes. The HUD is parented to the camera with a slow parent.

Glitches: there’s a highway passing through a building. And the cars on the highways are not moving. Probably I’ve forgotten to bake the particle system before rendering…








SCENE 9 – Eyes 

I’ve made this very quickly. I’ve traced two points and I’ve used them trivially as tracker for the camera and for the plane with the graphics. With the nodes in the compositor I’ve created the eye reflections and duplication of graphics on a larger blurred scale.








SCENE 10 – Megacannon

That’s all 3D. You can see the poor quality of texture, on which I’ve worked just very little.

I’ve used shape keys and keyframes to animate the cannon.




SCENE 11 –  HUD 2

Same as Scene 7




SCENE 12 – Point of View 2

Same as Scene 8 and earlier.












SCENE 13 – Bingo!

All previous techniques. I’ve only activated the smoke simulation for the explosion … with the usual problems of computation time.

In the last frames you can see glitches caused by vector blur. They are probably due to some defects in the geometry of the buildings… I have not had the opportunity to check them.

And the cars on the highways are not moving. Probably I’ve forgotten to bake the particle system before rendering…










SCENE 14 – Game Over

Here I’ve shoted in a few minutes. Nicolò was tired. In the phone I put a completely green image. I’ve tracked the four corners of the screen and used plane track deform in the compositor. I’ve managed to recover very well the original reflections that are created on the surface of the phone in a few moments. In the end I’ve left the green screen visible … it’s a joke, as the Space Invaders ship at the beginning of the video.




Ok, I think I’ve finished.
Thanks for reading.
If you want to contact me, you can do it!

© Beniamino Della Torre 2014 - ITALY

skype: bentower
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