Today in VFX, we took what we learned last week and built upon it. We didn’t stop with the sky but instead were introduced to Matte Painting. We were shown a few videos about what can be made in the industry by professionals and were given a simple task to do; create our own. We could create any scene we wanted to and it could involve video, pictures or a mixture of both. Since I’m not totally confident with video yet, I chose pictures.

I really had no idea what it was I was going to create or what style it would follow. I found myself on Google looking for inspiration and came across a picture of an alien world. This appealed to me and I’d decided there and then that’s what I was going to create. Straight off I had an image of a planet visible in the sky from where this picture would be set so I searched out an image of this.

Searching for skies I came across a sunset type of picture, one that already looks (at least to me) that its been created for something like this and then a nature scene followed. I decided that I wanted an image that’d look down onto the top of something so I chose a forest top picture.

Using the sky replacement techniques learned last week I combined these three images and made an alien world.

(Above pictures are the originals chosen with the blended below)

Next I applied a feather to both of the planets and a colour correction via the ‘Curves’ tool to alter the colour of the atmosphere.

I decided to have a building placed onto the land, kind of like an off world research station as my thoughts had made it be. Googling buildings gave me a tower which I insterted but I felt it needed something else so I searched for and added a side building to further enhance that effect I was feeling. Using the pen tool in After Effects I was able to mark the edges of the buildings and mask them into the scene. I had to duplicate the tree tops layer however, add a linear wipe and feather another edge over the top of those buildings to make it look like they were amongst the trees rather than just stuck on top of them. I also had a bit of an issue with blending these buildings in as the pictures chosen were taken on bright, sunny days and I couldn’t seem to find that magic mark that’d make them fit in with the scene properly. Anyway I tried and the result is below.

I played around with the layers; altering the colour curves, adding a slight blur and Calculations/darken effects to the buildings in an effort to blend them in better when I realised that the scene needed something else. I though of maybe adding a cave opening to it, as if you were looking out of it from a height over the landscape. I did find one that I thought would fit but once I’d cut it out (with the pen tool) and placed it, it didn’t look right so I had to find another.

I eventually chose another that I ended up feeling was more like what I was looking for and cut the opening of that out. It wasn’t until I had and had placed it into my scene that I noticed a figure in the bottom left. You can just see it in the image above, it turns out there’s an old lady there who’s photobombed the picture I wanted. By the time I noticed this it was the end of class (it got cut short today) so I saved up and I’d sort it out when I got home.

However, instead of going through the process to cut her out, I used her in the scene as a creature figure (sorry old lady). I darkened the cave mouth down and Googled again a alien creature type figure. Not sure what I was looking for and not really happy with the figures, creatures and aliens that Google was showing in its results, I stumbled across a human-ish figure that I imported and darkened down. I placed this into the scene on the bottom right to go with the alien old lady.

I feathered the edges of the cave a little and this ended up giving a slight shimmer to it. Initially I wasn’t happy with it but the more I look at it, the more it grows on me and I begin to think of it as a glow of the dying light.


And there is my scene. I’m quite happy with it too. Next time, I need to try video to see if I can do that. Until then though, here’s the process in all its giffy goodness.




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