Didn't keep it simple. Huge problems ahead

Final result - It’s very, very hard to do.

I used two render layers and a mask to build the composition. I needed a shadow with mask because the butterfly shadow bleeds through the background image. One wing I manipulated so, that is doesn’t over other shadows on my hand.
A second render layer for the butterflies. The shadow thing is very difficult to get right. The color of the shadow, the sharpness (blur), direction of the sun light, etc.

In preparation of this project

My concept of flower in hand plus CGI butterfly is becoming a brainteaser.
I took the photo with my smartphone. Camera hardware spec’s are difficult. No sensor data.
On the photo there is no horizon, I’m pointing the ground.
So I thought to model my hand and use that as a reference object. Smart idea, but execution is difficult.

Problematic is the XYZ rotation of the hand. Then camera lens … how much zoom effect. Lots of tweaking, no real match found. I manipulated the mesh to make it fit a bit
The sun light and direction is also a problem. The photo was taken in the middle of the day, bright sun. The shadow on the hand is hard. I included a 3D flower to mimic the direction of the sun. Which is also difficult match.
And the shadow is very soft. but I think this is solvable.

So, keep it simple…
It’s not the end results that count, but the journey … grrr

This is really hard to do!

I have a lot of problems to extract the shadow data on the hand. Because not only the objects casting shadows on the hand, but also the hand itself cast shadows (fingers). I could not separate them (somebody?).

So I decided to go with a flat plane, receiving only shadows, without generating them. Of-course we lose the shadow contour of the fingers.

Also the shadow color, photo blending, shadow sharpness, shadow direction are difficult to get right. A lot of tweaking in brightness sun lamp, environment lighting, etc. Too many uncertain parameters.

Okay, my butterfly nearly finished

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Blender project for download on this Gamedev forum thread

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