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Old November 12th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #1
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Special effects shot coming up. Need suggestions please!

Can someone give me some suggestions on how to go about using After Effects to change the colors of the leaves on a tree from green (real color) to brown, dying?

The shot I have to do in December is of a magical boy can make trees or anything else turn old and die by his thoughts. He looks up at the tree and it starts to wither and die before his eyes.

Magicboy looks up into the tree, the camera booms and pans up following his head movement. The tree at first looks normal, but as he's doing his "magic" on it, within 3-4 seconds the tree changes from lush green, to yellow/brown and leaves start to blow off with the wind.

Any suggestions for setting up the actual shot, and then After Effecting workflow the color transitions?
Lloyd Ubshura is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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Hi Lloyd. A couple of suggestions. AE has 2 effects that should work - Change Color or Change To Color (Change Color can be a bit more subtle). With the shoot I would suggest the obvious - tilt up into the tree so that there is only sky visible through the leaves, or certainly nothing else green. My other suggestion would be to find a way to place real dead leaves in the tree and make them fall (fishing line, fans?) as trying to fake that believably in AE would need some expert skill. Certainly a reverse of magicboy with some falling/flying around him could help sell it. Were I directing it I think I would certainly want a wide shot of the tree with the leaves falling and the boy underneath - the falling leaves could be faked more easily in that but it would need some careful rotoscoping of the tree. If you go down that path I would keep the shot extremely wide and make sure that the tree/background/foreground are moving as little as possible - it would initialy help by finding a tree without a lot of background detail behind it or overlapping it in front, keeping in mind all the time that you'll be drawing a mask/masks around it. Them's my 2 cents worth. Good luck with it. Anyone else?
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Old December 14th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #3
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What Gregory said, plus this would be relatively easy using color grading software like Color, depending on the color surrounding the leaves. If everything is static (and a locked off cam) then roto is an option, pref using a planar tracker (i.e. Mocha).
Greg Quinn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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To really make it convincing, you will want to have actual footage of a dead tree, and manage to morph from the live tree to the dead one.

1. Pan up live tree
2. Color change live tree from green to brown while slowly fading in the shot of a dead tree
3. Complete fade in of the dead tree

At step 2 you can distract the viewer's eye by superimposing some leaves blowing. The leaves are a separate effects shot.
Dufu Syte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21st, 2009, 08:38 AM   #5
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Selective color like both mentioned with some masking will get you there on the simple route. Use multiple masks to make the leaves turn in groups to give it a little more "reality". You can add a few leaves being blown off by compositing, that doesn't need to happen in the shot. You can do this yourself using dried leaves and shooting blue screen. I've done that before but also look at Digital Juice and Video Copilot and both have some compositing elements that I think include leaves.

If you want to get more complex and show the leaves fall completely though, I think you need to introduce a 3D element to really sell it. In that case, you could go a couple different routes... You could make the entire tree 3D using something like Vue and animate it falling apart which you could really get creative with. The other option would be shoot the tree (if possible) without leaves and then pull that plate into a 3D package and use particles or instancing to place leaves on the tree. As you pan up, the leaves can change color and use dynamics to make them fall.
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