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VISUAL EFFECTS + COMPOSITING

Based on the fundamentals of digital image manipulation through high end visual effects software used throughout the film industry, learn how compositing can be used in a conventional studio setting or adapted to create powerful art for any outlet.

 

STUDENT WORK

Students have explored projects enabling them to pursue Junior Compositor positions in the visual effects industry, freelance portfolio opportunities, special techniques for independent filmmaking needs, advanced technical foundations for still and moving image making, and unorthodox applications for artistic expression.

 
 

WEEK 1

Overview, Image Components, Layering

A brief history of visual effects, the phases of the visual effects process, creative outlets beyond the VFX industry, the fundamentals of digital images, assembling digital images.

 

SCREENINGS

Intro to Visual Effects + Compositing

THE VISUAL EFFECTS PIPELINE

The steps of the VFX process include modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, lighting and rendering, dynamics simulations, and compositing. A VFX artist may specialize in one area or become a "generalist."

THE COMPOSITING PIPELINE

The Compositing specialization is the fastest, most flexible, most wide ranging and perhaps the most powerful in VFX. Although it is 2D-driven, it can create the illusion of 3D or accommodate some 3D assets.

A HISTORY OF VFX

Even the oldest techniques and their evolution continue to inspire modern and emerging practices.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT THAT BRINGS PIXAR MOVIES TO LIFE

The world of VFX can bring inspiration to life from any range of backgrounds and interests. Danielle Feinberg, Pixar's director of photography, creates stories with soul and wonder using math, science and code. Go behind the scenes of Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Brave, WALL-E and more, and discover how Pixar interweaves art and science to create fantastic worlds where the things you imagine can become real.

 

SCREENINGS

Inspiration: The Industry and Beyond

Conventional VFX

CINESITE AVENGERS INFINITY WAR BREAKDOWN

Niche VFX

ILP WESTWORLD BREAKDOWN

Creative independent short film

THINGS FALL APART

Creative commercial

ELSE MOBILE | THE TIME HAS COME

Creative commercial

LEXUS - LFFC PURE ECSTASY (DIRECTOR'S CUT)

Creative preproduction, found materials, performance art

LEXUS - LFFC PURE ECSTASY (PROCESS REEL)

Art commercial

HUGO KINO - INTERACTIVE FILM (MARCO BRAMBILLA)

Stereoscopic video art

EVOLUTION (MARCO BRAMBILLA)

Video art

CIVILIZATION (MARCO BRAMBILLA)

Fashion model art

GHOST (MARCO BRAMBILLA)

Art film panel installation

CELLULOID (MARCO BRAMBILLA)

Stop motion painting

KHODA

Stop motion, motion graphics, VFX

MARVEL LOGO COMPOSITES

Abstract 3D

IN MY DREAMS I'M DYING ALL THE TIME

Conceptual 2D composite

PLEASESUEMEKANYEWEST

2D glitch

#THANKYOUFOREVERYTHING

 

DEMO 1

Image Components, Nuke Interface

Demo Notes

Channels Reading

Interface Help

Assignment: Practice the demo until you can do it from memory from scratch within a couple of minutes.

 

DEMO 2

Layering, Nuke Interface

Compositing Reading

Assignment: Practice the demo until you can do it from memory from scratch within a couple of minutes.

 

WEEK 2

Color and Light

 

SCREENINGS

Creative Inspiration

RYOJI IKEDA

Cinematic Perspectives

LIGHT & SHADOW

Color Theory

COLOR IN STORYTELLING

 

READINGS

HSV

LEARNING TO SEE

USING COLOR IN FILM

 

DEMO 1

Color Match by Eye

 

DEMO 2

Color Match by Channel

 

WEEK 3

Integration

 

SCREENING

Art in the Age of Machine Intelligence

What does it look like inside the mind of a machine? Inspired by the architectural vision of a futuristic Los Angeles in "Blade Runner," media artist Refik Anadol melds art with artificial intelligence in his studio's collaborations with architects, data scientists, neuroscientists, musicians and more. Witness otherworldly installations that might make you rethink the future of tech and creativity.

 

READINGS

FILTERS

LAYERING MODES

 

DEMO 1

Integration

Assignment: Practice the demo until you can do it from scratch without looking at the reference. Try with different backgrounds.

Demo Notes

 

DEMO 2

Layers + Passes

 

WEEK 4

Color + Cinematography

 

DEMO 1

FAQ: Managing Image Size

 

DEMO 2

File Management: Folder Structure + Naming Conventions

 

SCREENINGS

Cinematography

SHOOTING BASICS

ZOOM & PUSH

EXPOSURE

LIGHTING

 

DEMO 3

Shooting and compositing day for night

 

DEMO 4

Color flexibility

Applying compositing knowledge and techniques across software platforms and practices.

 

WEEK 5

Masking & Rotoscoping

 

CASE STUDY

Robert Rodriguez talks about his work on "Sin City"

As you watch, think about ways in which you may want or need to isolate and control specific parts of your image.

 

DEMO 1

Masks

 

DEMO 2

Rotoscoping

Challenge: Make your own "Sin City" style shot.

 

WEEK 6

2D Tracking + Displacement

 

2D TRACKING EXPLAINED

A tracker identifies a unique pixel pattern, follows the pattern, and records its transform data. The transform data can then be applied to other images.

*A rotoshape can be tracked to objects to animate the general movement before manipulating its individual points.

 

2D TRACKING DEMOS

2D tracking is used in three common ways.

STABILIZE

Make handheld footage less shaky based on tracked points.

Watch the demo.

Practice the demo file.

MATCHMOVE

Attach an image to a tracked pixel pattern of another image.

Watch the demo.

Practice the demo file.

CORNERPIN

Attach an image's vertices to tracked pixel patterns of another image.

Watch demo 1 and demo 2.

Practice the demo file.

 

DISPLACEMENT

IDISTORT

Use an image as a mask to displace another image.

WARP

Use a grid to deform an image.

 

CASE STUDY

Tracking + Warping Captain America

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier, transformed into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum." This presented the visual effects challenge of portraying one character having two completely different body types.

 

FEATURE

Using paint strokes, roto, and tracking to remove live action wire rigs.

 

WEEK 7

Keying

 

DEMO 1

Color Key and Luma Key

 

WEEK 8

Custom Glow

 

DEMO 1

Custom Glow Effect

Common softwares provide quick and handy filters to automatically generate "glow." But their parameters are often arbitrary and difficult to control. This is the foundation of how you can customize and control every aspect of your desired glow and its complexity, and essentially, build your own tool.

 

DEMO 2

Innovating with Color + Filters: Custom Lightning

 

FEATURE

Controlling Look Development

 

WEEK 9

 

Essentials 1

Working with image sequences, exporting from Nuke, and utilizing the "Precomp" technique to simplify composites.

 

Essentials 2

Using the "Precomp"node in Nuke.

 

Essentials 3

Optimize video for output to different platforms.

 

DEMO 1

Noise

A fractal or noise is a mathematically generated pattern that continues forever. It can be flexible in creating a variety of effects.

 

CASE STUDY

"Forever Ends"

An artwork for gallery showcase, created in compositing with animated fractals and animated displacement.

 

WEEK 10

 

NUKE 3D

Working with Cards

In Nuke, you can place images onto 3D planes and create CG camera moves to give a shot more depth, or to create a full on matte painting. Access the demo provided, and explore the Nuke User Guide on working with cards to get accustomed to how VFX artists continue to independently adapt to new practices.

 

WRAP UP

The Industry

 

SCHOOLS

Find VFX programs

VFS | Vancouver Film School
VanArts | Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
Lost Boys School of VFX (Vancouver)

Academy of Art University (SF)
Art Institutes (Vancouver / multi-city)
Sheridan College (Ontario)
SCAD | Savannah College of Art + Design (Georgia USA / International)
Bournemouth University (UK)  
SVA | School of Visual Arts (NY)
GNOMON (LA)
NYFA | New York Film Academy (NY / LA / FL / Europe / South America / Qatar) 
NYIT | New York Institute of Technology

 
 
 

STUDIOS

Find opportunities (locations subject to change)

Digital Domain (Vancouver / other)
Sony Pictures Imageworks (Vancouver / CA)
MPC (Vancouver / Montreal / London UK / other)
ILM (Vancouver / SF / London UK / Singapore)
Double Negative (Vancouver / London UK / other) 
Scanline VFX (Vancouver / LA / Germany)
Zoic Studios (Vancouver)
Method Studios (Vancouver / other)
Image Engine (Vancouver)
Cinesite Studios (Vancouver / Montreal / London UK)
Atmosphere (Vancouver / Toronto)
Artifex (Vancouver)
Animal Logic (Vancouver / LA / Sydney)
Pixomondo (Vancouver / Toronto / Germany / China)
Goldtooth Creative (Vancouver)
LUX (Vancouver)
ICON (Vancouver)
CoSA (Vancouver / LA)
FuseFX (Vancouver / LA / NY)
Entity (Vancouver / CA)
The Embassy (Vancouver)
Hydraulx (Vancouver / LA / other)
Bardel Entertainment (Vancouver)
Rainmaker (Vancouver)
Gloo (Vancouver)
Encore (Vancouver / Toronto / London UK / NY)
Mr. X (Toronto / Montreal)

 

©2019 by ISM Arts & Culture

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