The Dark Room

The Dark Room is a film and animation preview engine for Cinema4D. I designed it to help with story-boarding and previsualisation of live composites and character animation.

The idea stemmed from the need to find a better way to preview motion capture animation on top of tracked images. While there are ways to circumvent this (such as adding background image plates to your 3D scene, or rendering out hardware animation versions and compositing them in another application), I found them to be somewhat hacks, a little cumbersome, and I felt a better solution could be made.

One way to do this was to write a complete animation package inside one of the commercial compositing apps (think Nuke, After Effects, Fusion). But this would require a monumental amount of programming, one that was simply out of the question. An alternate way was to build an application inside my 3D studio program that handled the moving images (mostly 4K film) and making a basic preview window with the composite in there. In other words, build a plugin for my 3D studio program that could draw the preview composites for me. After all, at this stage, it’s mostly just 2D image handling.

And this is how The Dark Room first came to light. A simple 2D drawing program that took the 3D viewport draw of the animation and put it over the film composite. The project has evolved since it’s early inception with new tools, but it’s general purpose is still based on it’s original roots.

You can find a history of posts on this project and read up on it’s current state of development, in the links below.

Project post history:

Projecting a new engine
The Dark Room Beginnings