Let's Do Lunch by Mark Graham

 

CGI takes readers step by step through the making of a title sequence for Channel 4’s daily live show, Light Lunch. The project, created using Spaceward’s Satori software, highlights the program’s flexible feature set.

 

Huge Designs is a video graphics design, animation and effects house based in central London. Huge offers broadcast standard graphics facilities and has recently added the latest Windows NT graphics workstation technology and 2D/3D animation software.

These studio upgrades included version 2.0 of Satori paint from Spaceward Graphics Ltd.

Spaceward is a Windows NT systems integrator, 2D/3D graphics software distributor and developer. The Satori product is a Windows NT object-based paint and graphics software for video and film effects, rotoscoping, compositing, masking, image editing and processing.

Satori was recently used by Huge Designs to produce a 30-second animated title sequence for "Light Lunch", a live daily show produced by Princess Productions for Channel 4.

 

1 The brief for this live chat show included the requirement for the sequence to be re-colored on a weekly basis and altered daily by the addition of different captions in varying quantities.

Satori's ability to edit any of the design elements (Spaceward calls this infinite undo/redo) proved critical in producing the weekly/daily alterations on time and within budget.

Satori was originally purchased (v 1.0) by Huge at its UK launch in 1996. The company was attracted by its object-based graphics features but also by its ability for multi-layer compositing, texture map generation, masking and rotoscoping. These were features that would complement Huge’s 2D/3D graphics productions and installed real-time digital disk recording equipment.

A storyboard was produced and together with a matte animation (hand drawn in CG) was submitted to the client for approval. Huge was awarded the project and the production began.

Ss1.jpg (13310 bytes)
Ss2.jpg (23044 bytes) 2 A background was created in Satori by generating a soft-edged circle that was progressively blurred by the addition of filters. Stars were added (forming a 4 frame loop) then blurred and converted to a luma mask with a solid color as a fill.
3 At this point the basic black and white animation was added, luma keyed and filled with a complementary color. Ss3.jpg (22538 bytes)
Ss4.jpg (24854 bytes) 4 To increase clarity, but retain the simplicity of the image, two shadow layers were then added. This was achieved simply by copying a layer and editing its properties - scale, color and transparency. To get the keyline effect, a copy was made of the layer, blurred and brightened and then filled with semi-opaque black. Another copy was made then enlarged and blurred to generate a drop shadow.
5 The same process was repeated for the second color (though without the drop shadow) and this was filled with a graduated color in a similar way to that used in the background. Ss5.jpg (30162 bytes)
Ss6.jpg (26271 bytes) 6 Some "sparkles" were added at frame 110 using another 4 frame loop into another layer. At this point the total number of layers used is 8.

 

Finally a matte was created for the whole sequence. Because it was a live transmission this was actually just black areas of the screen that were luminance keyed over the studio. The middle of the sequence contains black holes that enable captions to be keyed through into the titles to customize the titles daily (guest names and so forth). After these boxes there is a 5 second gap before one of the lozenge shapes becomes transparent and then animates out over the background layers to reveal the studio.

Satori object-based editing provides the facility to generate many different animation versions but only using a fraction of the source clip storage for each variation. Only references to the source material and the image edits are saved in the Satori Canvas (cvs) file. It is at the final output stage that the rendered files return to sizes approaching that of the original source material (subject to format used).

At any time in the future, the production could be fully re-edited assuming that the canvas file and the source files are available. In this way, it would be possible to re-render the entire production at a new aspect/format for film, multimedia, and/or web presentation.


According to Hugo Moss, md of Huge: "We eventually produced twenty versions of the title sequence plus countless in-show graphics and break bumpers. Satori is a versatile program with a great capacity for experimentation"