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The war zone, part three

This month, our three-part series of tutorials on how to recreate the war movie-style VFX shot shown above from a simple still photograph draws to a close. In our last issue, we concentrated on creating smoke and falling debris using 3ds Max, and set about the task of introducing a sense of motion to our collection of still assets. For this final instalment, we'll bring together all of the elements we previously created and, by using a mix of Photoshop and our compositing package, Combustion, we'll put the finishing touches to our VFX shot.

It's important to follow the tutorial steps extra carefully to ensure that everything goes correctly. This is a full, hands-on task, but nothing we can't handle together!

In most large-scale projects, especially work that may end up being used in a feature film, there are often last-minute changes and additional content to add in order to complete the shot. In our case, this means adding a helicopter to the scene to enhance the whole cinematic 'disaster' theme, but we don't have time to create a detailed helicopter model, let alone the time to render it photorealistically. So, once again, a 2D solution (with some 3D enhancement) is required, and because of the pipeline we set up in part one, we can easily slot this into our final composite.

These tutorials are designed to allow you to be flexible and creative, which means that once you've mastered the process, you don't have to stick to it rigidly in future. Be ambitious and try adding other objects to the shot using the techniques described here, so that you can go away and create your own version feeling confident about what you've learned over the course of three issues.

Click here to download the support files ( 10MB)