CG Game Elements in Fan Films

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Hey Everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone has some knowledge on how fan films like Helljumper, The Fallen, and Dawn Under Heaven add in their CG elements of ships, vehicles, and the aliens. Shorts I'm talking about:

It seems like they must get rigged and textured models to be able to add their own animation into their shots, but I'm not sure where one would find something like this. I have googled around for 3D models and found sites like turbo squid and sketchfab, but these might be more appropriate for printing or game-type animation than visual effects. Or is there a method of capturing gameplay of these characters and vehicles on a green background so they can be keyed into shots using something like Forge (I've never used Forge, so I'm not sure if this is something you can do)

If anyone has any tips or leads or could @ the film makers, I'd be very interested to learn more about their VFX approaches for this.

I'm sorry to say this but it's incredibly complicated and involved. It takes artists skilled in modeling, texturing, shading, tracking, compositing, lighting, rendering, along with an understanding of what is needed from the camera, lens, and location information from the live action set for starters.
This is a very short list of things you would need:

Clean 3D models preferably with a high polygon count and made with quads over tris.
The models should be properly UVed so that the textures fit and render correctly.
All the camera settings that filmed the live action plates needs to be recorded, including the lens information so it can be recreated inside the 3D software.
Location information, lighting information, scale information, distance to the camera...lots of information.
360 degree HDR to help recreate the lighting inside the 3D software.
Compositing software that is capable of tracking the live action shots so you know where and how the models will fit into the scene.
3D software that is capable of matching a camera and recreate the live action set. This is where all the location and camera information comes in.
Now the background plates need to be imported to scale into the software along with the tracking info, and the lighting needs to be added in order to ensure the models look like they belong in the scene and are photo-realistic.
Set up the render layers for compositing, giving you better artistic control of the individual lights and textures.
All the layers that make up the frames need to be rendered, this can be incredibly time consuming.
Now its time to rebuild all the rendered frames in the compositing software so it can head back for color correction and more.

It takes blockbuster films thousands of artist to complete CG shots. A small team can also do it but the members need to be well rounded CG artist with comprehensive knowledge in a lot of 3D areas in order to accomplish all the tasks involved.
I'm a visual effects production manager by day, so I'm familiar with the process and requirements for VFX for major film and TV. My question was more in the case of these lower-budget fan films like the examples I listed, which would have fewer resources than say the "Deliver Hope" spot for Halo Reach which was done by Method Studios.

So for fan films such as these I'm curious how they get their assets- if from a library(or the games somehow) or do indeed build their own. Another example would be like the JetStrike package from videocopilot, if instead of real-world aircraft it were a package of Halo vehicles.

Thanks for your input.
That's funny, that's the same reason I am here. I am looking for assets for my next project for my demo reel. I am doing a crowd simulation that involves landing sci-fi troops that attack a target. In a perfect world they would be O.D.S.T. The project I am finishing now is an ocean simulation involving a pirate ship in rough seas. It has taken almost 4 months of constant work. I wanted to be responsible for creating everything with Houdini and Substance Painter. It took me 2 months just to model and UV the ship inside Houdini. (I should have just used Maya, but it was a personal challenge) There was a lot of learning involved along with spending time getting Houdini and Substance to play nice together. Now it's weeks of rendering.
I don't want to do that again since modeling is not my focus, and it was incredibly time consuming. Unfortunately I'm not finding any usable models at the usual model retail sites that will work for me, at least not affordable ones. Before I resign myself to modeling drop-ships I have been searching game mod sites for assets. There is a lot out there but everything is very low poly with shady topology and UVs. I was at least trying to find some models that I could rebuild but no luck so far.
I always forget about tools like Element 3D, I even bought it a few years ago but I haven't really used it since I started using Nuke. I have watched a ton of Andrew Kramer's tutorials and have even seen several TV shows and Movies that have mirrored the effects he teaches. Fan films could definitely produce some decent visual effects going that route. I should revisit After Effects it could save me some time. As long as it looks good it is good and not having a render farm is killing me!
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