Another packed one this week. Lots done with very little time to spare at the end and even managed to squeeze in some logo work around lesson time too!
We began the last lesson with Peter today giving a quick tutorial on how to do a reveal in After Effects. Sounds easy enough but is it? Well, lets see.
We’ve chosen our picture from college’s x-drive and started the process. Create new solid at the comp size and as a black colour.
Select the brush tool and on the right side of the screen choose Brushes > under Dynamics turn off Pen Pressure from the drop sown box. Double click the black solid, make the brush size large and then paint the black solid covering the screen.
Open the solid > Effects > Paint > Brush 1 > stroke Options and highlight end. Click on the stopwatch to turn it blue and move the timeline marker to the end of the timeline (or however long you want your reveal to be) then keyframe the end. On the picture layer (in this case the Castrol layer) in the TrkMat drop down box change to ‘Luma Matte Black Solid 1′.
If everything went well, you’ll end up with this!
Next we began working with greenscreen clips. We imported four files off the x-drive; a video clip of a woman against a greenscreen (called Chroma) holding a gun, some footage of a marbled room, a duplicate video of the marbled room in what resembles fog for depth of field and a flash sequence for the moment the gun fires. I’d screen cap that for you too but its just a black box with the occasional white flash, I’m sure you can imagine it.
Firstly we’ve dragged the background clip from the left control panel to the bottom panel twice and then added the depth of field layer on top of that. From here I selected the middle background layer and in TrkMat dropdown box I selected the “Luma Matte Layer“, applied a blur effect (power factor of 10) then added a colour correction via a Curve and made the scene slightly darker than it is. All three layers were then selected and made as a pre-comp (combing them all plus changes as one) while renaming it as Backplate.
Next we brought in the Chroma and the new Backplate layers with the Chroma on top and the Backplate opacity being reduced to 50%.Both of these were pre-composed and renames Quickplate. Next Backplate and Chroma were again brought to the editing area and on the Chroma layer, we opened the in program app, Keylight. This is a fantastic bit of kit within After Effects as it allows the complete removal of the green from the Chroma layer in one fell swoop.
All we had to do was to click the dropper icon on the Screen Colour layer and click into an area on the Chroma layer which had a lot of green, such as the brightest shade just under the actresses’ arm. As soon as the colour had been selected via the dabber, the green colour in its entirety had been deleted from the scene in an instant – most impressively Keylight also removed the green that was rejecting in the actresses black coat.
An alteration of the black and whites of the scene came next by opening the dropdown menu in the left picture and changing ‘Fianl Result’ to ‘Screen Matte’. This turned the scene into sort of a negative like black and white view. In this menu we clipped the blacks back to 25% and the whites to 68%. Clipping these meant the colours had a more sharper edging to them which would help the footage blend into the final scene better.
We could also see how the actresses shadow was behaving on the white layer and adjust that layer as necessary. (Just found out I don’t have a screen grab of this so I’ve nicked an image from Google to show you what I’ve just very badly described!)
We switched back to the Final Result view and altered the ‘Screen Shrink/Glow’ to 0.5 and ‘Screen Softness’ to 1.0. ‘Edge Colour Correction’ further down the menu was clicked to open the dropdown menu options and we checked the box marked ‘Enable Edge Colour’. We added a Curve to the scene and altered the contrasts while raising blacks slightly to further blend her into the scene.
Next we pre-composed everything again and named this ‘pre-garbage’ as this would be our working layer. By this point our individual layers of footage were looking like this;
Now we had to remove the camera tracks, the 3D markers (those pink sheets) and all of the other environmental things that shouldn’t be in the scene. We began this process by starting a new composition which would be the same size as the footage we’re working with. We imported the pre-garbage and backplate layers and making sure the pre-garbage layer was on the top and selected we reduced its opacity to 50% so we could see the backplate layer through it. We then selected the pen tool and checked the ‘Rotobezier’ box. This opened a series of options marked as’ Mask’ in the Pre-Garbage layer and in here we checked the clock icon as the next step would set multiple keyframes which we’d need to use.
Starting at the beginning of the clip we drew a rough outline down one side of the clip of what would needed to be cut out, at this first point the first keyframe was marked. By dragging the timeline marker throughout the scene we were able to see where the environmental objects were moving as the scene progressed. To make sure they were cut out, whenever they moved outside of the drawn line (like the one above) we grabbed the main points and moved the line to put them back on the inside of it. Each movement like this made a new keyframe.
Once the timeline had reached the end we repeated the same steps on the other side of the clip to remove the objects completely. After this final step, we had our finished clip. What began as several different layers culminated into one short clip in quite a believable way.
I do enjoy this VFX work and I am very impressed with the end results – this is a great example. What I’m not sure of is if I’ll still be able to do things like this months down the line, or more likely if I’ll remember it all to do again and what ‘this’ means and what ‘that’ means. Sometimes I feel like I struggle to keep up as it is. There’s so many different options, steps and things to do that its very easy to get lost and even easier to get confused.
Obviously it helps immensely to have a great teacher to teach you all this stuff and I’d just like to thank Peter for all he’s done for me and the class. I wish I had your skills and knowledge!
Speaking of Peter’s skills, he’s been helping me this week in his final week with us *sob*(before new guy takes over) trying to get my logo off the ground. He’s shown me a procedure that’s started making my game company logo 3D. So far it now looks like this;
He’s briefed me on what I can do, pretty much the same process, on how I can get the rest done myself to complete it. I’m hoping beyond hope I can pull something out of the air here to complete it myself. We’ll have a try (read multiple) and see what I can do.