The Nemeton

A nemeton is a sacred grove, a sanctuary in a forest clearing, in this case associated
with ancient worship.

Our job on Episode 2 was to deliver a shot which to our 21st Century eyes would
still give a sense of the mysterious ways of ancient worship, something even quite
sinister!

So, we have a small squarish pool, surrounded by twelve posts carrying the
likenesses of six male and six female deities. At the entrance to this shrine, you pass between two tall posts, each with a carved hollow in which sits a skull. Before those
are two flaming torches.

 
 


Having set the scene we then plotted a camera path which would take the viewer from a treetop view, down through the branches and leaves and into the clearing.

A shot like this is all about the lighting - our plan being to start with a pink glowing twilight sky with silhouetted trees, down through the dark woods and into the clearing lit by flickering torches.

On the left you see our setup for this shot. The small dots with arrows attached are the light positions, casting pools of light into the forest to give the effect of twilight seeping through the trees. The sky is a photo virtually pasted onto a virtual board behind the setup.


It's all about the illusion of reality, and looking at the photo of the 3D model and setup above, it does resemble a diorama you might make for real.

 
 

 

On the left is a particle simulation for one torch, set up to create the soft ethereal fire. Each particle renders as a soft crumbly blob. With several together they appear as the effect on the right - the actual torch flames with the rest of the scene blacked out.

   
 

You get alot more control in a cgi shot when assembling the final shot from alot of disparate pieces. It is common to render (the process whereby the 3D program takes all the objects, lighting, textures and camera position, size of frame and so on, and effectively draws it as a colour image) parts of the scene separately, according to how much control you want and how complex the shot is. In this case we rendered the fiery torches separately, blacking everything else out, which allowed us to adjust their brightness later and add glow to taste.

Rendering can take many hours, even days, and so it is wise to create a separate basic element you can adjust at the end during compositing, blending all the elements together. Had we rendered it all at once and found it didn't look right, we would have had to render all over again!

Finally, we blended several copies of the shot and the separate torches to give a soft glowing effect. The image on the left is a frame from the unprocessed render - run your mouse cursor over it to see the glow and torches added.

Click Here for The Final Shot

 

Click Here to see the Cremation Mounds