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Digital Compositing and Effects
After Effects, Shake and everything else.


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Old June 24th, 2006, 03:28 PM   #46
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I'm in favor of "Digital Post-Production" (if votes are actually being tallied here)..
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Old June 24th, 2006, 03:46 PM   #47
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as a general newbie who is quite new to effects, I support the idea. This new forum could teach me A LOT. See you around, everyone,

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Old June 24th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave C. Preston
I'm in favor of "Digital Post-Production" (if votes are actually being tallied here)..
Woohoo! Can I vote twice?
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kang
Well, there's a book out called "Digital Composition for Film and DV"...

I think that says it all. We should just go with Digital Composition.
Are you sure it's not Digital Compositing for Film and Video (ISBN 024080760X)?
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Old June 25th, 2006, 12:07 AM   #49
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Emre, oops, my bad, you are correct.

I was just at an Apple store today and saw that they have a program called Motion. It seems like a lower version of Shake.

Anyone tried using it?
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Old June 25th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #50
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there are a ton of vfx forums out there, id contribute

http://rileyharmon.com/wordpress/?p=53
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Old June 26th, 2006, 08:33 AM   #51
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John without looking at the short film you mentioned, my best bet is that he used the scenes independantly and used AE's camera system to track the scene. But as I said, with out seeing the clip then it's pretty hard to guess.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #52
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Doesn't "Digital Post Production" include all the editing that we cover in the various NLE (DV & HDV) boards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emre Safak
Woohoo! Can I vote twice?

Are you sure it's not Digital Compositing for Film and Video (ISBN 024080760X)?
When shopping for this book, be sure to get the new second edition that was just released this year. There is much more coverage of HD and many new plates shot with CineAlta cameras that are not found in the first edition.

I've been on set with the author once and taken one of his compositing classes. Fantastic and tremedously experienced fellow with a knack for breaking down complex concepts into bite size explanations peppered with humor just when you're brain needs a break. I'd HIGHLY recommend this book (which describes digital compositing down to the core mathmatics) to anyone intersted in digging deeper into this art.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 09:15 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kang
As to After Effects, I have access to ver 6.5.

I'll bite. I saw a short indy clip where the guy put in a helicopter overhead and than pans down to soldiers (walking independently) among a field. The guy said the helicopter was an effect and the soldiers were cloned as well, all in Effects.

So question 1. Without going into a 3d program, is there a way to animate a helicopter hovering overhead? I'm assuming a toy model of a helicopter is used.

Question 2. I'm sure you're doing several retakes of yourself walking among the field, from different locations and that the camera does not move. Later, you would combine all the clips together to get the multiple movements, but is there a way to combine that with a camera moving?

Besides this, I'll be more interested in how you might create those interesting 3d title effects used on ads.
OK... to shoot, setup the camera on a tripod. Ideally, use a nodal pan camera head, that lets you pivot the lens around the nodal point of the lens. This results in no shifting of the background as you pivot the camera.

Shoot in the direction you intend to pan down to. Set all manual controls for exposure and focus and lock them in. Now pan up slowly to where the helicopter should be, hold for a bit, then pan back down to the empty field.
Before moving again, have your soldiers march.
Now, clear the soldiers pan sideways a bit to tape some empty field, and then have them march again in the new place. Repeat as needed.

For the helicopter, shoot a high-res still photo of a model or real helicpter from below. Use Photoshop or AE's mask feature to get rid of the blades and sky from this image, leaving just the helicopter with transparent background.
Also Make a new image that is just the blurred blades.
You now have all your raw assets .... time to comp in AE

First, create a comp by taking "empty" still frames from all the camera pans to build out a large canvas of the empty scene. You can do this with 3D or 2D layers if you like, which ever you're most comfortable with. The result will probably be a big L shape, with the sky up high, then the field filling out to the left or right along the lower edge. This comp should be very large so that you don't scale any of these stills at all .... use them at full resolution.

In AE, make a pre-comp of the blades image that is square, and "spin" the blades in this comp. (animate the layer's rotation property.)
Layer the no-blades helicopter image over the sky area of your background, then place the spinning blades precomp behind the helicopter, but in front of the sky. You can use a distortion or corner pin filter to create a perspective effect for the blades to match the angle of the helicopter. Now the helicopter is hovering over the field.

Now, add layers of the walking soldiers aligned with the empty background "canvas", using masks to cut out the areas around them so the various takes don't cover each other.

Finish by creating a new comp ("Output Comp") that is configured for the output resolution and framerate you'd like for your finished shot.
Add the big comp we just described as a layer 3D or 2D, whichever you like best. If 2D, scale and position the comp to start with the helicopter and sky filling the frame ... then animate position to "pan" the camera down and across the soldiers in the field. For 3D, you'll just animate the 3D camera that "looks at" the layer.

Well ... that's the overall process anyway. Would be nice to have a forum to host a thread for this shot so we could easily go into more detail. ;)
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Last edited by Nick Jushchyshyn; June 26th, 2006 at 11:02 AM.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kang
Emre, oops, my bad, you are correct.

I was just at an Apple store today and saw that they have a program called Motion. It seems like a lower version of Shake.

Anyone tried using it?
I've used both Motion and Shake .... these programs are VERY different from each other.
Shake is focused on compositing and Motion is focused on motion graphics.
There are simlarities, but in much the same was as there are similarities between Word and Excel ... two very different programs.

For one thing, Motion is no longer sold as a seperate app. It's bundled as part of FinalCut Studio. Motion is designed to let you build up complex backgrounds and title sequences very quickly and easily ... while previewing in realtime by using the power of the GPU in your display board (only some boards work ... Motion will not work with most low-end video boards).
Motion is ideal for creating MTV/Nickelodeon/Target-ad style jump backs, Animated DVD Menus, title sequences and motion graphics animations. There is a basic greenscreen keying tool, but it's not very powerful.

Shake is designed as a pipeline compositing machine. It will run on low end and high end systems, but does not tap directly into the video board GPU, it's CPU based. Shake is ideal for build cinematic composits involving greenscreen/bluescreen and CGI renders.
Shake is not well suited for motion graphics work ... especially if you have Motion already. Shake DOES accept Motion projects as source plates via a Quicktime interface.
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Last edited by Nick Jushchyshyn; June 26th, 2006 at 10:07 AM.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 09:56 AM   #55
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If we do it, "Digital Compositing and Effects" will be the forum title or description. "Digital Post-Production" is a bit too broad; that could be the title of the entire post production category (and we just might use it for that). I'll poll the moderators and let you know. Been gone for awhile; feels good to be back in the 'ol home office again...
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Old June 26th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #56
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Where you been? Hobnobbing with the rich and famous again?
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Old June 26th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #57
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Well, actually I was at CineGear in L.A., so you might say that I suppose.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #58
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Old June 26th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #59
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hey nick, thanks for that synopsis of the differences between shake and motion. apple oughta hire you to write copy for them. i was wondering about some of the distinctions between these two programs, and you've summed it up nicely. apple does a lousy job of distinguishing what their various programs do, imho.....

if we had a compositing forum, i would be able to get stuff like this figured out a lot quicker. heh.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 09:59 PM   #60
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Nick,

Thanks for explaining how to do the special effects I was wondering about and the comparison of Motion and Shake.

I vote we should let Nick be a moderator for the new forum, when it comes up.

That is, if Nick is willing?
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