Visual Concept For

This was a job completed at Wordsearch (fullscreen video for full image quality)

Work required
The animation was created entirely in after effects.  I did make use of some 3rd party plugin’s that I own to help with some of the effects, and speed up my workflow.
I was given a concept image from a different shot to work from and a brief of what was to happen.  The live action of the gentleman walking into shot with a green screen behind him was also supplied.  All the artwork was created in photoshop or inside of after effects.  This was a quick turn around of about three days including tweaking and client feedback.

Elton John & Leon Russel – If It Wasn’t For Bad

This was a job completed at One Hand Clapping

Work required
Originally the footage was shot with the intention of being rotoscoped for drawn animation ( AHA – Take On Me style) but due to time constraints a different direction was taken.  The edit was created, and I was tasked with rotoscoping the footage that was not shot to be cut out.  I trained an employee who uses FCP to assist in the rotoscoping.  We used Mocha for all the shots.  This was my choice for my assistant as it is very easy to teach him how to use the program and then allowed me to spend more time on keeping his technique to a high standard, he had never rotoscoped till this day.  For someone who is very comfortable with the program it really speeds up your roto work and did allow me to get through the shots very quickly.  There was a few retakes later and some shots were shot on green screen but due to compression and lack of light a good key wasnt always available.
At the start of the project I worked on a scene with the moon in the sky, this was our template for how the rest was to look and be created.  Myself and Paul Chesire worked on the compositing and Chris Holmes created the cgi backgrounds.

Currys / PC World Advert

This was a job completed at Tandem Films

Work required
I did some rotoscoping on this job, the 3d glasses, and the shots after 21 seconds (LCD TV, and remote control).  The on screen interface was also created by myself and animated to look like it was being controlled.  The depth of field effect in this shot was added in post.  There was a fix on the live action where the TV is mounted on the wall.  Originally the wall it was mounted onto wobbled slightly so I stabilized the TV and mount to make it look like it was mounted onto a solid brick wall.
Tandem did 8 adverts in total, each requiring rotoscoping, I helped out on the last two.  The other advert I worked on had a laptop, which required me to create a PC desktop that looked generic and animated.

Comet – Sponsers Christmas Entertainment “Laptop”

This was a job completed at Airside

Work required
I worked on this Advert with Charles Beglan who was involved in creating the 3d sets.  We knew we would need a 3d track of the live action, therefore during the filming we were on set to supervise the vfx preparation.  This involved taking measurements and layouts of important parts of the set, recording camera and lens data, and making sure we had trackers in view and enough parallax to assist the 3d tracking.
I prepared the footage, and did the matchmove using syntheyes 2011.  For these I supplied Charles a 3d camera, and stand in objects of the sofa and foot stool in a Maya scene.  With regards to rotoscoping I had two assistants that I was able to delegate work to.  I used the matchmove to assist with the rotoscoping by importing the data into After Effects and placing solids in 3d space near the areas I needed to cut out.  Most of the rotoscoping was broken down and roughly keyed before being handed out to the assistants.
I worked the treatment of the man sat down to match the clients vision.  This was all comped together to produce the final piece.  The post production company Nice Biscuits were involved in making the different versions and created the Laptop content.

Westfields Christmas 2011 TV Advert – Breakdown

The video is a presentation of how two shots were cleaned up and some of the processes I used to speed up my work.

Each toy was brought to life by three puppeteers that required removing in post production. This did involve selectively keeping parts of the background in place or patching in areas that were always covered by the puppeteers as the set was being moved about slightly during each take. Most objects were tracked very roughly to give me the basic motion, this motion was then attached to my mask. this workflow meant I only had to concentrate on how the objects changed shape whilst in motion and not be concerned with the movement.
The shot of the teddy bear that runs towards camera was stabilized first. I tracked the teddy’s movement using Mocha by drawing a shape around his larger areas that had the bulk of the main movement (his head & body). This was imported into after effects and was used to stabilize the plate. I then created my roto’s on a layer above, as the teddy was stabilized I did not need to concern myself with scaling and movement of the mask as much as if it was the original shot. The masked layer then had the inverse stabilization applied (via some scripts) and used as a mask to cut the original footage out. If there had been stronger motion blur on the footage I might not of done it this way, because the footage is stabilized the masks are not moving as much as they really would have so the built in after effects motion blur will not be as strong. I did however apply a gentle reelsmart motion blur to the final matte to help compensate for this.

Raid – The Way Bugs See It

This was a job completed at Uli Meyer

Work required
I worked on the first seven shots compositing the characters into the background plate.  A shallow depth of field was created on the 2d drawings by painting our own depth mattes, this involved some amount of rotoscoping and specific paint and trace instructions, the same was done with the background so we could shift the focus through out the shot.
The product shots had the spray on barrier produced in 3d using Maya, we worked closely with the 3d artist to produce matte runs and passes required to create the look the client was after.
The explosions were added after by Dave Walker who also completed the last shots and over saw the project.

Mocha Pro – Arm removal

This was a job completed at Be Animation

Work required
This is just one example of the removals that were required in this advert.  I used the imagineer products to speed up rotoscoping and the process of removing any rigging.  We were not exactly sure how much of the drawn Nesquik bunny would cover the rigs so I was removing as much as possible in each shot to give more flexibilty later.  Any matte runs required per shot were rotoscoped and rendered as individual passes. 

Honey Cheerio’s – Never Give Up

This was a job completed at Uli Meyer

Work required

I was working on the post production of this advert along side David Walker.  We were compositing multi pass renders and integrating the character into the live action backgrounds, most of my completed shots are after 8 seconds.
Extra 2d displacements were added to show the feeling of displaced air.  The product pieces were 3d and had a lot of attention to get them just how the client wanted.  We worked along side the client for two days making final color tweaks and adjusting details.


Channel ID selection/ Color ID Passes in After Effects

I have been working more and more with compositing full on 3D adverts, and was quite happy extracting matte runs from so called ID passes with the usual methods that most people have seen online before, for example Channels – Shift Channels effect to move the green channel into the alpha.  When you have been given also Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow in the color channel things can get a little more tricky.  Some might be tempted to use the keying tools found in AE to extract the colors, other might extract the channels once, and then precomp to extract again to reach one of these other passes.  What I have proposed is using the Channel Mixer effect and some simple expressions to allow a slider that lets you flip between the 6 Channels.  This workflow also allows Masks to be drawn so you can further adjust the mattes that have been extracted.  I spent the time to set this up as an animation preset as it is much faster than building each time the effects needed to extract the channel you want, plus if you decide later to change the channel you want to use you have to adjust your work.  With the slider this is a breeze.  I found also if you stack various layers above each other you ought to set the transfer modes to Alpha Add this will tighten the alpha channel where there are joins.  This is normally due to anti aliasing on the edges

You can download the animation preset from here and also watch a demonstration of how you might deal with color ID passes, starting with ones that just contain red, green, and blue moving onto all 6 colors (the extras being Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) I finish with the animation preset being used.

I hope this preset is useful to speeding up your work, and becomes something you use frequently I know myself I do.

Download the ColorID pass slider animation preset – click here
Follow this link to see the video tutorial and how to use the preset


Windows 64bit and Quicktime problems

I recently got a new system for my work, and for the first time I am running a 64bit operating system.  Now I have been using 64bit on many machines at various studios that I have worked at, one thing always annoyed me was QT being broken in firefox.  You may have seen videos playing and no seek bar, or play/pause buttons, only a black strip along the bottom.  You can click in that area still but you will be working blind and could be hitting any button.  I was told from friends that it is just because there is not a version for 64bit Windows, and it is broken.  Well for me running 64bit, it being broken is not good enough :-P.  I had read of alternatives to quicktime, and I do use of players VLC, Mediaplayer classic for example, but when you are watching videos in the browser you really want it working correctly.

I got thinking why not run my browser in compatibility mode, then maybe the QT plugin will think it is in a 32Bit OS and work as I expect.  This work around does indeed work 😀 SUCCESS!!

For those out there who have not seen or adjusted the settings I have spoke about above I recommend that you check out the screencast I have made.  I am thinking that this method would work for any other instances where QT is not playing nicely in 64bit.

Click here to watch the screencast