University week 3 post Keying in After Effects

Today I started layering elements down for my After Effects project.
After a bit of research I came across Mocha which is a plugin for After Effects.

As you can see from the screen shot above I was in need of a simple way to key in a sky

After effects work in progress

Mocha provides a simple way to mask and key in your desired elements.

The process is relatively simple, it reminded me very much of the pen tool in Illustrator.

Simply right click on the file you wish to do this process on within the finder and select open with Mocha.

Then click on the “create spline layer tool” and start tracing out the outline of the area you wish to replace.

After you have fully traced out the area you wish to replace , then you export the meta data to your clip board.

Go back into After Effects create a new null layer, then paste your clipboard contents into your null layer.

You should then be able to mask your sky into place.

This method isn’t perfect as there are some hairline problems around the edges.

To improve upon the initial composite I will endeavour to do multiple color keys , with the eye dropper tool. This will enable me whilst zoomed in to get better edges. Also I contemplate that applying a blur to the edges of the composite will help greatly.

The next job will be to start adding texture to the foreground. As this is a still , the sky does not look believable yet because there is no foreground movement to add some element of realism to the reality I am attempting to build.  I will start working in my green screened flowers which will begin to add the texture that is desired.

Whilst I am discussing compositing I wanted to touch upon a particularly bad composite job I viewed recently. It was on a drama called the Ringer. As you can see the subject is supposed to be on a bridge in Paris. But intact it is obvious she is in front of a green screen the only thing they have done to sell the illusion is provide a small piece of this supposed bridge behind her shoulder.


So how would of I approached this differently , firstly having something in the foreground to join up with the background and secondly having everything out of focus makes it look even more bogus. I also thing the lighting doesn’t look correct on the actor I would probably have her more in shadow. For a pitch black scene she looks to uniformly lit. These are all things I will keep in mind as I develop my skills. It just goes to show even the most experienced can produce flawed work.

University Post Grad Week 1

I have always been a technical and creative person but professionally getting the right set of skills to push my career forward has sometimes been difficult. In a creative industry such as television when I was starting out I had to take whatever position I could get. I ended up editing news and current affairs. I had always dreamed of a far more creative endeavor such as drama ,but news was where I ended up. It then became apparent a couple of years ago that the standalone news editors role was starting to die. The broadcasters were employing systems to enable Journalists to edit there own stories .

As this was becoming more obvious to me, I started to look at ways of moving beyond my news room experience . What I found was that I had some very specific skill shortages , that would hamper my career growth. One such deficit was in motion graphics namely After Effects and design skills utilising Photoshop.

The role of the video editor has changed dramatically in broadcasting , now you are expected to be the editor have the ability to design and implement moving graphics and to have a multi disciplined approach to your media production duties. The editor is no longer just the editor.

So fast forward to the last week, I have started university doing my post grad in multimedia. It has been a very enlightening week. Why?¬† for one After Effects isn’t nearly as intimidating as I first thought. It is all built upon key framing , this is something I have done across many different software packages. It feels somewhat familiar to me ,in the way it works. When I worked in London at Bloomberg we edited all our material in Premiere which is the sister application of After Effects . I frequently had to keyframe effects in Premiere which is most likely why After Effects feels less intimidating. Here is an example of an early effects exercise I did.

What I am most looking forward to is bringing my video, photography and love of design together to start bridging over into this exciting new media world. My ultimate aim is to take this further and go onto study 3d animation. My ultimate aim is to design video, effects and edit for film television and online. To be as diverse as possible and to exit the sausage factory I have been involved with these past few years.