One of the shortcomings of the very first test piece was the cramped field of view and the restrictiveness of the camera animation. The camera needed the portrait aspect ratio and needed to be kept forward facing in order to stop the bounds of the picture showing. Also, the displacement effect broke down at extreme angles, meaning that an image like this would have been impossible to create:
However I have now overcome those problems by making the picture bigger, with the help of Photoshop's magical 'content aware' filter and clone stamp tool. The image is split into even more layers that last time, but most importantly I have taken care to keep the original part of the image intact.
Left: the original / Right: expanded image
The latest issue I am facing (which is why I've held the animatic off for a bit longer) is that I can't actually animate anything (other than the camera) until I've baked the projected textures to the 3D meshes. It turns out that baking textures is a rather slow process... Almost as slow as final rendering. I was hoping to make a rough draft with simplified elements, but since I don't want to bake everything twice, I am now reluctant to start baking the textures until I've got the models sculpted / displaced exactly how I want them. I want to get it right first time.
But in the meantime, here's another quick fly through video which shows just how much of the picture I will be able to explore (note: I haven't applied the full displacement effect here. Everything is on flat cards positioned in 3D and slightly warped to give the impression of 3D):
I think I'm still OK for time though. I can allow one more week to get the animatic done (it will be the first official draft animation). Then I will have another week left to revise things based on the feedback I get (as well as final polishing), and one final week (until Friday) to get it rendered and put together.
I admit I was rather hoping to get an animatic done a couple of weeks ago so as to leave more room for a discussion. As usual things got complicated!