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Non-Blender: Boardwalk Empire VFX Breakdowns of Season 2


An inspiring video - pay special attention to the face tracking part ;-) (Via Andy)

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. That is an awesome breakdown.
    Very cool to see, how a lonesome beach is turned into a big attraction by a town.
    Thanks for the inspiration
    PS: First!

  2. well - as awesome this breakdown is - sometimes i got the feeling that searching another place to get the records would've been easier :-) mean, when 95% of a picture are replaced *gg

    but awesome! thx for insight

  3. How did they key out that car driving along that road? Old fashioned rotopaint? Does anybody know how they do that?

  4. The face tracking was cool, but the quality of the roto work was just phenomenal.  The car going into the armory was neat, but the beach scene with the wind flapping on the umbrella must have been a damned nightmare.  I am in awe of the VFX that were done here.

  5. I'm not an expert in composing, so there are things I don't understand. The main question is what was 3d-modelled, and what was filmed and then put together (in general?) For instance the city at 0:40? All that is 3d-models? And how did they cut off the car?

    • Some footages use base 3d object to deform the perspective of the composites images and give correct 3d shading, so for the most parts its not the same as using 3d models in a 3d software and is closer to how you use 3d models in matte painting..

  6. @google-464e5425b4ac5bbbb8d20b5d801fbda8:disqus  I think it shows they did a good job if you can't tell them apart!In terms of Blender; I think it is on the right track; the new developments are very exciting and would allow for some of this kind of work. They new open movie should be a great project to take things forward

  7. Did anyone notice the big error at 2:25?!

    I mean, come on - I know the audience is "stupid", but THAT stupid?! This can't be the final shot :)

  8. Having done my share of compositing for video and film, I found this engrossing.  What is interesting is that use is made of mixtures of found footage, CGI and live action.  These are reasonably standard techniques nowadays, and the tools are now available to make it much easier than it has been in the past.

    The real tool that has most impact here though you can't buy.  It's the brain of the VFX supervisor(s).  Knowing when and how to enhance a shot is something that no software can achieve.

    Well done, team.  Even with the "big error at 2:25".

  9. Excellent work! Does anyone know what tools/software they use? Or even the technique? For rotoscoping & also face tracking?

    • all the comp work is done in nuke.  cg is maya. most of the DMP work is done via photoshop and nuke with some geo and simple projections.

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