Steam Train

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008, 9:22 PM

I have several friends who make movies, and I am often called upon to help out in various ways. Most of the time it's for some kind of art, like conceptual design and storyboarding, but most recently, and most fun for me, it's been for visual effects and 3D graphics.

The latest film I'm working on, for my friend Robbie, is set in WWII, and there will probably be a shot or two that involves a steam train. We can't afford to get a real train to the location, especially since it needs to have a very distinctive cargo we won't be able to source, so I volunteered to make a 3D version of the train.

Here's one of the early pics of it. It's a composite image, which means the background of the tracks and buildings is a real photograph. My only contribution is the steam locomotive.

I've worked on it since this pic, adding a tender, and then a big railway-gun trailer comes after that. It's all looking good so far, I'm very happy with my progress. The trick is to make it look believable and real, not so much to be perfectly accurate. If I can make people believe the train is really there for the brief time it's on-screen, I've done my job.

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