The making of HyperRace with Dimitrios Sakkas

From Blender to Affinity Photo, to After Effects and DaVinci Resolve; talented 3D artist Dimitrios Sakkas takes us behind the scenes on creating the final look of his recent animation project HyperRace.

My name is Dimitrios Sakkas and I am a 3D artist from Greece. Recently I published a project called HyperRace, which is a 3D animation I made with Blender and Affinity Photo, based on the Hyper Drive series on Netflix—I’m a real fan! HyperRace is a trailer video about cars and racing, and today I wanted to share my process with you and show you how I transfer my work from program to program to create the final video.

The finished HyperRace trailer video by Dimitrios Sakkas.

In this mini tutorial we will see how I use Affinity Photo for my post-processing and also to achieve the final look for my still and animated renders. Let’s get started!

Blender

The first step is in Blender to set the render settings. Most of the time I use the same settings for my renders: 32bit open exr float. Render passes: Beauty (final render), Shadow, AO, Mist and Emit.

For this project I only use the Final Render, Mist and Emit, which you can see below.

Beauty (Final Render)
Mist
Emit

Affinity Photo

Now we move on to Affinity Photo. My first steps are always the same for any render in Affinity Photo. I open the app, choose a new stack and then load all the passes. Once the new document has opened, I ungroup the layers and start the post-processing. The first layer is the final render.

The final render is the first layer.

Above it, I usually blend the Mist pass with the Beauty (Final Render). This blend makes the artwork more atmospheric and more realistic. Also, I can control the focus and the atmospheric lighting.

In this particular artwork I blend the Mist pass in two different layers and modes:

First Mist Layer—the first mist layer has an Invert Adjustment applied and Multiply selected. This is used to make the background darker which then makes the car and the woman pop out.

Levels Adjustment and Invert Adjustment applied.

Second Mist Layer—the second mist layer is used to make the artwork more atmospheric. I’ve also recoloured it to make it more blueish.

Levels Adjustment applied to second mist layer.
Recolouring the second mist layer.

The last render pass I blend is the Emit pass. I blurred the Emit pass and blended it with the Add blend mode. This blend makes the lights pop out.

Applying a Live Gaussian Blur.

Next comes post-processing using all the tools that Affinity Photo has to offer.

I start with depth of field and split toning. With the Depth Of Field filter I control the focus point of the artwork, and with the Split Toning adjustment I control the colours of the highlights and the shadows and balance them.

Applying a Split Toning adjustment.

I add an Exposure adjustment to make the image pop.

Adding Exposure.

Also, I add some Brightness/ Contrast.

Applying a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment.

Then some Noise to create a grainy look.

Adding a Noise live filter.

And the final look comes together with a custom LUT file.

Adding a custom LUT.

All of the above processes are used to make my artwork look more realistic and cinematic.

The exact same process is used in all shots (renders). This makes the animations look solid and connected.

I now move on from Affinity Photo to After Effects/DaVinci Resolve.

Due to how Affinity Photo works, with all the live filters and layer effects, it is very easy to transfer all of the above process to After Effects and DaVinci Resolve.

After Effects

I’ve now transferred the process to After Effects.

The “For depth” named layer is the Miss pass that is used for depth of field effects via luminance.

Luminance is used to control the Zdepth of an image. With this method, you can control at any time the focus point of your subjects and make the right depth of field effect for your animations etc.

The “For depth” layer is the mist pass that is used for depth of field effect via luminance.

To achieve the same results as in Affinity Photo, I used the same effects (levels, invert, Hue/Saturation, motion blur etc.), and equivalent effects (Lumetri colour for Split Toning, Apply Colour LUT for LUT Adjustment and Camera Lens Blur for Depth of field).

DaVinci Resolve

And now we move on to DaVinci Resolve.

Post-processing is done in Fusion for image/layer blending. OCIO file transformation is used to transfer the default colour profile to Filmic (Blender export colour profile). Unfortunately, DaVinci doesn’t load EXR files correctly, so we need to transfer it to the same colour profile as the Blender render.

Post-processing is done in Fusion for Image/layer blending and in Colour mode for colour adjustments and final colour correction.

To create the same look as in Affinity Photo, I used the same effects (invert, motion blur etc.), and equivalent effects (Colour Corrector for Levels—Hue Saturation, Merge for blend modes and blending the images together).

Then I continue the colouring in the Colour mode. In the first Node, I make the colour corrections as Levels, split toning, brighten and contrast and Hue saturation. In the second node, I apply my Custom LUT file.

That’s all folks. I hope all of these processes help someone to learn something.

I leave you with some stills from the final video which hopefully you enjoyed.


You can see more of Dimitrios’ work at dimitrissakkas.com, Instagram and Vimeo.