The making of… “The Pilot’s Dilemma”…
The secret is not to do it all in iClone, but to use iClone to rapidly make a picture library of quick approximately-lit prop candidates, with each prop isolated against a green and blue-screen. The picture is then put together like a jigsaw in Photoshop, bringing in each prop one at a time on a new layer, and cutting it out. When all the prop pictures have been swiveled and nudged into the right place, to make a good composition around the central photo, then the prop elements are color-shifted and faded out — to give a sense of distance and to start to unify the colour. At no time did I automatically “colour-match” layers, it was all done by eye. No filters were used. Then I brought in special FX such as mist and fog layers. Finally I got the Photoshop brushes out and blended, blurred, smudged, painted and generally fixed some of the details and errors.
With a stronger light source you might have more problems keeping the light direction looking consistent. That’s possibly where more pre-Photoshop work in iClone could help, making a more iClone heavy base-layer to start from. Or a quick “lighting sketch” to work from as reference.
I prefer to cut out in Photoshop as I have a plugin for that, and it gives me more control over semi-transparent bits. But I seem to remember that iClone can also output images that have “hard edge” embedded alpha channels, which should save time if you’re not used to cutting out. Reallusion’s popVideo software can also cut out from green-screens.
Time was about eight hours.