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Old January 18th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #1
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Scanner Darkly effect?

I'd like to use an effect that resembles the "trace bitmap" in Flash, or "Cut Out" in Photoshop -onto a video. Any after effects or Motion stuff like that? If not, does anyone know the trick where you can apply a photo shop effect to video? I think it has something to do with that rec button.
Anyway, anything resembling this would be greatly appreciated!
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Old January 18th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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Export image sequence, batch apply cutout in Photoshop.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Sorry for resurrecting this old thread, but now there is a plugin that is able to do a decent job. Samples and exact settings for the plugin here: http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2007/1...r-darkly-look/
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Old November 30th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #4
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The movie was rotoscoped by hand with a purpose-built piece of custom software named Rotoshop. You can come close to the "look" with a plugin, but you can't get the same floaty motion. There's just a ton of manual labor involved in having all those individual brushstrokes float around independently...

But if all you're looking for is a kind of hi-con comic book look, then a filter-based solution should look okay.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #5
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Yes, I mention this on my blog post. I know how it was made. But thing is, DV rebels who would like to imitate the look quickly, this plugin does the job pretty well. It needs tweaking scene by scene, but it's much faster to do than by hand.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #6
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You might also be interested in ToonIt! from Digital Anarchy. Not as cheap as other solutions mentioned here ($299) but at first glance it looks pretty damn good.

Check it out here: http://www.digitalanarchy.com/toon/toon_main.html

My belief is that if you're going to use a plug-in for this effect you need to pay extra special attention with how you shoot and light. Lots of tests!

I am planning a short for Spring 2008 using this very technique and as soon as Christmas is out the way I'll be doing just that - test, test, test.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #7
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these are a couple of screen grabs of final result, the only thing I did different is that I added a lot of blue tint before I did the steps in tutorial.
Attached Thumbnails
Scanner Darkly effect?-gunrunners-lowres.jpg   Scanner Darkly effect?-gunrunners-2-lowres.jpg  

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Old December 6th, 2007, 03:55 AM   #8
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Looks great Willis.

The one thing that I am keen to eliminate is the 'speckled' backgrounds you tend to get with these filters and techniques. They tend to shimmer and are distracting. I suspect it's a combination of how you shoot, the settings you use in the AE filter(s) and probably a bit of manual effort too.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Stark View Post
I suspect it's a combination of how you shoot, the settings you use in the AE filter(s) and probably a bit of manual effort too.
And if you're shooting DV, it helps to apply a blur to the blue channel.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #10
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This is a horrible workflow, and I wouldn't recommend it, but what I've done in the past is used Flash to create this look. It was more an experiment than anything else. It looked good, and I was happy with the results, but I really HATE Flash and the way it does things. Anyway... I exported out of Final Cut Pro as a TIFF Sequence, and imported all the files in Flash on a PC. Beware! Flash hates working with lots of big TIFF files... I then just used the "Trace Bitmap" function on each frame to achieve the look and exported all the frames out again as a image sequence... You can automate most of the process using "Commands". As I said, a horrible work-flow, but it does work.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 05:14 PM   #11
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Hi Chris - any chance of a screenshot sample? Cheers. Ian . . .
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 05:58 PM   #12
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Sure!

Setting Used:

Colour Threshold: 50
Minimum Area: 10/20/30
Curve Fit: Very Smooth
Corner Threshold: Few Corners
Attached Thumbnails
Scanner Darkly effect?-flash_test_0.jpg   Scanner Darkly effect?-flash_test_1.jpg  

Scanner Darkly effect?-flash_test_2.jpg   Scanner Darkly effect?-flash_test_3.jpg  

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Old December 23rd, 2007, 08:02 AM   #13
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Excellent, cheers Chris.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 05:46 PM   #14
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No problems! In answering Aric's original question, yes you could achieve this in Photoshop. The work-flow is a bit annoying, but is a piece of cake compared to using Flash! Photoshop is designed to work with massive files, unlike Flash so it runs heaps better when doing this kind of thing. Personally, if I had to achieve this look I'd probably use Photoshop unless I could find a filter in Final Cut, After Effects or Shake that achieved the same thing.

I've attached an example of what the Cut Out filter in Photoshop looks like using the following settings:

Number of Levels: 8
Edge Simplicity: 2
Edge Fidelity: 2

This method works for both Mac and PC. To "rotoscopearise" a Quicktime movie, open it up in Quicktime Pro and export as a TIFF Sequence. Open up the first frame in Photoshop. Record an "Action" that applies the Cut Out filter using the settings you prefer, saves the file and closes it. Close the first frame without saving. Then go to File > Automate > Batch. Select the action you just recorded, and the folder containing your TIFF sequence. Click OK, go to bed and when you wake up in the morning close Photoshop and open up Quicktime. Open all those newly modified TIFF files as an "Image Sequence". Then export out as a Quicktime movie (matching your original Quicktime movie settings). That's it! You now have a movie that looks like it's been rotoscoped.

I hope this is of some help...
Attached Thumbnails
Scanner Darkly effect?-photoshop.jpg  
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