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Video Training Review: Video2Brain: Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects By Jeff Foster

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Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects is a video workshop presented by Jeff Foster – award winning video producer, compositor, visual effects artist, and author of The Green Screen Handbook in which he guides you through some more advanced aspects of green screen compositing and working with a Roto workflow with After Effects. If you are new to compositing, you may want to check out his earlier title Fundamentals Of Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

The goal of this training is to provide you with real-world techniques for getting the best mattes and keys from your green screen shots using more advanced techniques and working with more complex compositing. You will learn how to be more effective with your use of the Roto Brush, see how to do match moving, work with matte painting, as well as other techniques to create much more believable composites. There are also some third party add-ons that are used that are available as free trials.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects is presented in high definition video and breaks out into 5 chapters and 16 videos that runs 2 hrs. and 10 minutes in length. Included as well is all of the footage and assets that are used in the training for you to work with on your own.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

Chapter 1, “Roto-Painting Techniques with a Wacom Tablet,” begins by looking at the Roto Brush and how it can be used to mask out areas in a film segment with the use of a Wacom Intous 4 tablet. This technique is handy when you don’t have green screen available or the green screen footage that you had was poorly created. Although the Roto Brush does a good job of masking, you still may need to perform some additional cleanup. You will see how this can be done through the use of the eraser tool.

From there you will now look at refining the details. Here you will get several tips and tricks that will give your scene a greater sense of realism. You will see how you can add motion blur to make your scene more convincing. Finally you will see what you can do when you overwork a scene and you need to go back in time and change something that you did earlier in the sequence.

Chapter 2, “Complex Composites: Multiple Keys,” now looks at the use of both green and blue screen sandwich compositing. It starts off with a video that is a bit off kilter with the background and you will see how to realign it make it all match to the scene. Then you will see how to fix some detail problems with bleed through by using a second pass in the problem areas. Finally you will learn how you can work a bad green screen clip – where the screen was not lit properly and moving hair makes it more difficult to work with. Here you will see how to work with multiple layers, masks, and Roto painting to fix it.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

Chapter 3, “Motion Tracking and Match-Moving,” starts off by showing you how to track a camera’s motion so that when you can replace the green screen the movements to a static background will seem natural. The footage here has some problems with the tracker points and you will see how to work with this kind of situation. The footage used here is of a Christmas tree near an outside window and the outside has been green screened.

Then you will use a static background for the outside scene and see how to adjust the movement of the background to correspond with the camera movement with both depth and scale. Then you will see how to add an additional layer with motion tracking to introduce snow outside the window in the scene while making it look realistic.

Next you will see how to adjust the depth of field as well as the focus from the foreground plate to the background layer which allows the viewer to change their focus in the scene. Finally you will see how to use mocha for AE to track and insert objects by replacing a license plate on the front of a moving car.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

Chapter 4, “Matte Painting and Moving Background/Foreground Plates,” begins with an interview with CafeFX VFX Supervisor of compositing for the HBO miniseries “John Adams” in which he discusses the challenges of working with poorly done green screen and how the pro’s do it for a huge undertaking. Then you will see how to use Photoshop and After Effects to add buildings to a scene and make the blending look natural.

Next you will see how to use a noise loop in Photoshop to add a film grain look and then apply it to your video to make everything blend in with the rest of the background and look more natural. Finally there is a very complex composite that uses static Photoshop layers and many masked elements from the original video to make everything look realistic.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

Chapter 5, “Lighting Techniques in Post,” will now look at the Christmas project from Chapter 3 and changing it to a different background that uses a different kind of lighting. Here you will see how to change from a warmer scene to a cooler scene through the use of masking.

Then you will see how to use layer styles to simulate shadows and light wrapping. You will use the Inner Shadow layer style to soften some edges of the video with light wrapping. Then you will see how to create a drop shadow make your composite more believable. Finally, you will look at some plug-ins that can make a better blend between studio shots and static backgrounds.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects once again really provides a lot of very targeted, practical, and most importantly, useful techniques for using After Effects to process green screen and Roto. The instructor is very clear in his explanations and constantly offers sound reasons for using his techniques.

Even though the topics are advanced in nature, the instructor provides a lot of direction and examples that make it easy to follow along so even if you are relatively new to After Effects you will be able to understand the concepts and with practice, use the techniques. With the availability of all of the assets, it is easy to recreate and understand his processes.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

The quality of the interface and video is very good, extremely clear, and it is all laid out in an easy to use format. You can either download the video (the version that I reviewed) or watch it online and since you get all of the files that were used so that you can follow along with the videos at your own pace. Keep in mind that for both the video and assets the file size is a little over 2.5 GB, you will probably want a good internet connection for the download.

Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects is available from video2brain for $34.99. It can be viewed online, from a download, and it is HTML5 player-ready which means it can also be viewed online with your iPad and iPhone 4. If you want to learn more advanced techniques of getting a good green screen composites and building a more streamlined Roto workflow, then I can very highly recommend Advanced Compositing Tracking And Roto Techniques With After Effects

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.