- Member: Ashyukun
- Studio: Electric Leech Productions
- Title: Samurai Windu - Star Wars Trailer Project
- Premiered: 2003-03-14
- Lucasfilms Star Wars Episode II Trailer: Mace Windu
This video is (probably somewhat obviously :p ) a part of the The Anime Star Wars Trailer Project (http://animeswproject.tripod.com/). For those not familiar with it (which wouldn't surprise me, as it is a bit obscure), this project involved taking the 'Occupation' trailers for Star Wars Episode II : Attack of the Clones and remaking the trailers, replacing each character with an animated character. There's obviously a reason I said 'animated' as oposed to 'anime', as I thought it would be fun to use Samurai Jack for Mace Windu's trailer. I don't know what the deal is with me lately... my two most recent videos have both been to animated shows that aren't anime (though they were apparently influenced by it to varying degrees) :P
I have to say, technically-wise, this was the most difficult video I've made yet. I figured out early on that I was simply not going to find the scenes that I needed to make this video easily. Right off the bat, there was no way to make the whole hologram scene without rotoscoping Jack out of the original scene so I could make him look like a SW hologram. Looking through the source - the only Samurai Jack DVD available is the Movie, which has the movie (the first 3 episodes) and a bonus episode, the one that is pretty much my favorite, the first episode with the Scottsman. If I had all the episodes made so far, I could probably have made a good amount of it without rotoscoping. But the movie and the Scottsman episode have a limited number of venues, and none of them really matched up with the trailer. There was also the problem of the other characters- I would need at least the replacements for Obi-Wan (Utena), Jango Fett (Spike), and some hardware from the Clone Troopers (Evangelion). So, I did a sh*tload of rotoscoping, and basically built most of the scenes completely from scratch. This video was my first real time working much with actual footage in After Effects- previously, I'd mostly been building titles and all-effects scenes in it.
I have to give credit where it is due in this- the light sabers in this were 'sub-contracted' out and done by vicbond007. He saw one of my near-completed version that had the sabers I had made in After Effects in it and offered to re-do all the sabers in Photoshop, as he had done them for a light-saber duel he choreographed and participated in and then did the effects for. His sabers look a good deal better than my original AE ones did, and I am quite thankful.
Some of you may be scratching your heads after watching the video at why several of the anime that are listed in the description are there. This scene-by-scene breakdown of the video should help with that :p
General things: Anything not mentioned was from the original trailer video. I considered but didn't replace the Lucasfilm logos and the likes and the last set of logos. The audio was unchanged from the original trailer. The three titles for the first three sections were all replaced- the 2nd two because I actually wanted/felt it was better to have them say different things, the first because while I was able to match the new titles almost perfectly to the old, the quality of the original titles was noticeably lower than my new ones- and though it was possible to 'degrade'the new titles to match the originals, it was easier and made more sense to just replace the first one.
Jack in this scene is from the first third of the movie (1st episode), shortly after arriving in the future. I was able to find a couple of good FAQs and guides on making Star Wars-like holograms using After Effects, and modified them to my own tastes. For the first section, the background was built from scratch in After Effects. I could not think off-hand of any background scenes that came close enough to the original, and as there wasn't a whole lot visible I just made an entirely new background using solids and effects (primarily 'Glow') in After Effects. The second scene's background is from the Bebop episode "Waltz with Venus", when Spike is talking to his bounty's blind sister over tea.
This was my first real experience at rotoscoping a character out of a scene using animated masks in After Effects. It took me a while to get the hang of Bezier Curves.
"Electr" ... Um, I mean "Enchanted Lightsaber"
The title change just sounded right to me, since Jack's katana is enchanted. :p
For the scene where Jack lights the lightsaber, the scene with Jack came from the end of the first third of the movie (1st episode). The background was from the first Battle Athletess Daiundokai TV series episode (Battle Athletes Victory- sorry, I just don't like the US name Pioneer gave it). The blaster shots flying around in the background were created in After Effects using solids with several effects applied to them (Motion Blur, Glow, Gaussian Blur). Anyone interested in the exact mechanics, I actually made an AE Project file to demonstrate the method for someone who was interested.
The second scene was one of the most difficult and took the most amount of time. Jack in this scene is from his fight with Aku before being blasted into the future. Unfortunately, the only good sequence of him had several of the tako-Aku's tentacles in front of him for about 1/3 of the frames. So, in addition to having to rotoscope him out of the scene, I had to go through and eliminate the tentacles from in front of him as well, which took a -lot- of time. In one frame, his hands are entirely obscured, and I could not find a similar enough scene to recreate them from. Hellooooooo, lens flare!
Utena was only slightly less trouble. She is somewhat obviously from the movie. There were a few scenes from the TV series that might have worked, but the difference in image quality between the Utena TV series and the SJ movie was large enough that I decided to go with something from Adolescence Mokushiroku. Unfortunately, Utena's character design in the movie- especially in her duelling outfit- is maddeningly complex. Thankfully, it was only animated a bit higher than 12fps. While the Utena TV footage looked considerably worse than the SJ movie footage, the Utena movie footage looked better than the SJ footage. This was fixed by added a bit of noise and a slight blur to the rotoscoped Utena to try and get the two characters to look more in place together.
The background from this scene was from Gasaragi- from episode 4 where Yoshiru is doing his trance-dance in the desert. I had to edit him out of the picture, which was comparatively easy after the foreground rotoscoping. However, as I only had the static image, I didn't want it to look too static- so I tried to eliminate the 'static' feel by adding a Noise effect and changing the values over the course of the clip. The lasers were created with the same method as before, and the lens flares were 105mm lens flares with a yellowish light source (another hint from Vic).
"Clone Trooper Transport"
The title was changed because the planes used were transports, not gunships like the original title called for. I actually had worked up a transport Gunship using the U.N. planes that were constantly getting wasted in EVA, but found out that ShonenDizzyCow was apparently using the EVA transport planes for the Clone gunships, and decided to go ahead and go with those. If anyone wants to see the original idea, I'll probably put the image up on my web site. Unfortunately, irrelevant of what I was going to use, it meant dealing with EVA footage. Blech. No, not in content- encoding. Despite the fact I should have been able to use the first two scenes completely un-modified, I still had to go through in Photoshop and try and elmininate some of the more heinous encoding problems. Both scenes are from the "Both of you, Dance like you want to win!" episode (I suck at episode numbers. :p )
For the last scene in this section, the EVA shot comes from the Jet Alone episode. I believe Jack comes from the same fight with Aku I used earlier- I can't really remember right now. Jack's saber in this is the onle one that is still my original AE sabers, because it was small enough I decided it wasn't worth worrying about. Tracking Jack to keep him in the right place on the EVA's hand was amusing. This EVA clip also required rotoscoping to deal with the encoding problems. Lasers were created as usual. The AT-Field effects were initially created in Photoshop and then a Glow effect applied to them.
"Occupation : Jedi Master"
(Trade Federation droids firing) Looking through my anime DVDs, the best I could come up with for the heavy Trade Fed. droids were the robots from the Trigun episode where Wolfwood shows up. I couldn't find a section that was long enough, so I ended up pulling my Noise filter trick again. I also used several layes of the image with a mask for the 'heads' of the robots so I could have them recoil when firing the blaster shots (yes, I know lasers should not have any kick. But in SW, blasters do, so humor me :p To quote Apollo and Latell, "Why are you pretending that gun has a kick? It's a laser!" "Call it a hobby.")
(Jack deflecting blaster shots) Jack was pulled out of the fight on the bridge with the Scottsman. Laser and lens flares in AE as usual. The backgroud was again modified from the Wolfwood episode. As it was supposed to be well in the background, a gaussian blur was applied to it.
(flip through the air) From the fight that carried over from the end of the first third of the SJ movie to the 2nd third. The background was again from the first Battle Athletess TV episode.
(slicing up droids/gator bots) The foreground scene was from the Scottsman SJ episode. The scene just worked far too well. Unfortunately, it was rather complex to rotoscope. However, by this point I'd gotten much better at AE masking then when I started, and it went faster than I expected. The background was from the same Gasaragi episode used earlier, just a few frames earlier, again with Yoshiru edited out and zoomed in. The background in this is actually one of the things I like watching through the most. As Jack is moving across the original background, it needed to move as well. So, I used the original background to map out how the new BG should move and zoom. Then, on a whim, when making sure my lasers Motion Blur was set right, I enabled the motion blur for the background as well. It looked just -perfect-.
(Spike/Jango Fett firing) Background- Gasaragi. Spike is from "Sympathy for the Devil", just before he fires the crystal-tipped bullet. In an effort to make my life easier in terms of masking in AE, I exported three frames from the shot of spike and then did the necessary zooming and color adjustments to make them match up. I figured (correctly, I believe) that a single, large pan cell was used for this shot, and I attempted to recreate it. With the exception of the fact it was neigh on impossible to tell where Spike's hair stopped and the night sky began, I think it worked out fairly well. As it was a static frame, I had to mask out the trigger and Spike's trigger finger as well as the gun's hammer to animate them when he fired.
(Jack Charging) Again, from the Scottsman episode. This was the only scene that did not require any rotoscoping outside of the addition of the sabers and the blaster shot.
Final Scene - "This Party's Over."
Jack is from right after he tries to cut the Scottsman's sword in two, with some creative rearrangement of frames to get his lips to match up with Samuel L. Jackson's from the original. He is zoomed in around 200%, and even with several sharpening filters applied, it still looks fuzzier than I'd like. The background was built from scratch in Photoshop using the original background behind Mace Windu, with a slight blur and Noise effect applied.
This project was a lot of fun, and I learned a heck of a lot about rotoscoping and masking in the process. I don't know yet if all the videos from this project will be shown at any cons, but I hope that anyone who sees it or downloads the video enjoys it!
Please leave feedback and let me know what you think of this video! Thanks!
Update: Entered on something of a whim to Anime USA's contest, Samurai Windu ended up taking home the 'Best Trailer' award for its category.