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Compositing Visual Effects in After Effects

Book Description

Create vibrant visual effects with Adobe After Effects. Gain the tips, tricks, and applied knowledge you need to carry out essential visual effects tasks and bring your digital compositing to the next level.

In Compositing Visual Effects in After Effects, industry veteran Lee Lanier covers all the common After Effects techniques any serious visual effects artist needs to know, combining the latest, professionally-vetted studio practices and workflows with multi-chapter projects and hands-on lessons.

Engaging, full-color tutorials cover:

    • Altering resolutions and frame rates
    • Channel and color space manipulation
    • Rotoscoping and masking
    • Matchmoving and motion tracking
    • Keying green screen
    • Working in the 3D environment and integrating 3D render passes
    • Particle simulation
    • Color grading and distressing
    • Expressions and project management

The companion website ( features video image sequences, 3D renders, matte paintings, and other tutorial materials, allowing you to immediately apply the techniques taught in the book.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Chapter 1: Selecting Color Spaces, Resolutions, and Frame Rates
    1. Choosing Bit-Depths and Color Spaces
      1. An Overview of Common Bit-Depths
      2. Integer versus Floating-Point
      3. Working with Color Management
      4. Calibrating Monitors
      5. Using a Working Space in After Effects
      6. Working in Linearized Color Space
      7. Previewing and Converting Different Color Spaces
      8. Linear versus Logarithmic
    2. Importing Raw Files
    3. Selecting Resolutions and Frame Rates
      1. Overview of Resolutions
      2. A Note on Nonsquare Pixels
      3. Choosing a Frame Rate
      4. Interlaced versus Progressive
    4. Speeding Up and Slowing Down Footage
      1. Mismatching Frame Rates
      2. Frame Blending
      3. Time Warping with Timewarp
      4. Time Warping with RE:Vision Effects Twixtor
      5. Time Stretching
      6. Time Remapping
      7. Altering the Frame Rate with Time Effects
  8. Chapter 2: Generating Alpha with Keyers and Mattes
    1. Generating Alpha with Chroma Key Techniques
    2. Using Keylight
    3. Working with Imperfect Green Screen
    4. Applying Additional Keylight Properties
      1. Screen Pre-Blur
      2. Screen Gain and Screen Balance
      3. Clip Rollback, Screen Shrink/Grow, and Screen Softness
      4. Screen Despot Black and Screen Despot White
    5. Using the Primatte Plug-In
    6. Using Difference Keyers
      1. Difference Matte
      2. Color Difference Key
    7. Using Range Keyers
      1. Color Range
      2. Linear Color Key
    8. Suppressing Spill
      1. Working with Spill in Keylight
      2. Applying Spill Effects
    9. Altering Alpha with Mattes
      1. Activating Track Matte
      2. Creating a Custom Luma Matte
      3. Improving Matte Edges
    10. Chapter Tutorial: Keying a Difficult Green Screen, Part 1
  9. Chapter 3: Masking, Rotoscoping, and Basic Keyframing
    1. Creating Masks
      1. Using the Pen Tool
      2. Altering Existing Masks
      3. Combining Masks to Make Complex Shapes
      4. Adjusting a Mask with Pen Variants
      5. Switching to RotoBezier
    2. Rotoscoping
      1. Keyframing a Mask
      2. Rotoscoping Approaches
      3. Rotoscoping with Roto Brush
    3. Importing Masks
      1. Importing Bitmap and Vector Masks
      2. Working with Mocha AE Masks
    4. Basic Keyframing
      1. Editing Keyframes on the Timeline
      2. Separating Dimensions
      3. Working in the Graph Editor
      4. Altering Curves
      5. Changing Tangent Types
    5. Chapter Tutorial: Keying a Difficult Green Screen, Part 2
  10. Chapter 4: Transforming and Motion Tracking
    1. Transforming Layers
      1. Working with the Anchor Point
      2. Working with Additional Transform Properties
      3. Parenting
      4. Nesting and Transform Collapsing
      5. Precomposing and Pre-Rendering
      6. Motion Blur
    2. Motion Tracking
      1. Transform Tracking
      2. Selecting Features and Fine-Tuning Motion Paths
      3. Transform Tracking with Rotation and Scale
      4. Adjusting Applied Tracking Transforms
      5. Tracking Multiple Features
      6. Stabilizing Footage
      7. Corner-Pin Tracking
    3. 3D Camera Tracking
      1. Introduction to The Foundry’s CameraTracker
    4. A Note on Hand Tracking
    5. Motion Tracking Masks and Facial Tracking
    6. Planar Tracking with Mocha AE
    7. Chapter Tutorial: Planar Motion Tracking
  11. Chapter 5: Working with the 3D Environment
    1. Creating and Transforming 3D Layers
      1. Using Multiple Viewports
    2. Creating and Transforming a 3D Camera
      1. Transforming a 3D Camera
      2. Altering 3D Camera Properties
      3. Working with Depth of Field
    3. Setting Up Lights
    4. Working with Materials
      1. Ambient
      2. Diffuse
      3. Specular Shininess, Specular Intensity, and Metal
      4. Light Transmission
      5. Casts Shadows, Accepts Shadows, and Accepts Lights
    5. Masking 3D Layers
      1. Arranging 2D Layers as Visual Effects Cards
    6. Importing Cameras, Lights, and Geometry
      1. Importing Maya Cameras
      2. Using the RLA and RPF Formats
      3. Working with Cinema 4D Lite
      4. Working with Cinema 4D Multi-Passes
      5. Extracting Cinema 4D Scene Elements
      6. Motion Blurring Cinema 4D Scenes
    7. Switching to Ray-Traced 3D
    8. Chapter Tutorial: Rendering Reflections with Ray-Traced 3D
  12. Chapter 6: Creating Particle Simulations
    1. General Particle Workflow
    2. Using Built-In Particle Effects
      1. Creating Dust Puffs with Particle Playground
      2. Creating Sparks with CC Particle Systems II
    3. Creating Smoke with CC Particle World
    4. Using Particle Plug-Ins
      1. Red Giant Trapcode Particular
      2. Video Copilot Element 3D
      3. Wondertouch particleIllusion
      4. Rowbyte Plexus 2
      5. Digieffects Phenomena
      6. Motion Boutique Newton 2
    5. An Introduction to Trapcode Particular
      1. 3D Camera Awareness
      2. Volumetric Emitters
      3. Soft Particles
      4. Self-Shadowing
      5. Light Awareness
      6. Life Color
      7. Textured Particles
      8. Sub-Particles
    6. Chapter Tutorial: Creating Particle Rain
  13. Chapter 7: Integrating Render Passes
    1. Identifying Render Passes and Blending Modes
      1. Using Object Render Passes
      2. Review of Blending Modes
      3. Overview of Common Shading Passes
      4. Applying Advanced Shading Passes
      5. Supplying Alpha to Nonalpha Passes
    2. Working with Multichannel Image Formats
      1. Creating Motion Blur in the Composite
    3. Chapter Tutorial: Using OpenEXR Depth Channels for Depth of Field
  14. Chapter 8: Color Grading, Color Effects, and HDRI
    1. Color Grading
      1. Working with Blacks, Whites, and Color Cast
    2. Choosing Color Effects
      1. Color Theory Terminology
      2. Working with Hue, Saturation, Tint, and Color Balance
      3. Working with Brightness and Contrast
      4. Working with Pedestal, Gain, Gamma, and Photo Filters
      5. Working with Stylistic Color Effects
    3. An Introduction to Color Finesse 3
    4. Overview of HDRI Workflow
      1. HDR Compander (Effect > Utility)
      2. HDR Highlight Compression (Effect > Utility)
      3. Exposure (Effect > Color Correction)
    5. Chapter Tutorial: Color Grading Effects
  15. Chapter 9: Damage Repair and Distressing
    1. Working with Noise, Grain, and Compression Blocks
      1. Noise and Grain Removal
      2. Adding Grain and Noise
      3. Using Perlin Noise
    2. Adding Other Film and Video Artifacts
      1. Scratches, Dirt, Debris, and Dropout
      2. Film Weave
      3. Halation, Glow, Glint, and Glare
      4. Lens Flares
      5. Color Fading and Shifting
      6. Deprecated Technology
      7. A Note on Median Filters
    3. Using Paint Tools
      1. Creating a Basic Paint Stroke
      2. Editing a Stroke’s Color, Opacity, and Softness
      3. Transforming and Erasing a Stroke
      4. Using the Clone Stamp Tool
    4. Overview of Distortion Effects
      1. Turbulent Displace
      2. Optics Compensation
      3. CC Lens
      4. Mesh Warp and Liquify
      5. Detail Preserving Upscale
      6. Rolling Shutter Repair
    5. Chapter Tutorial: Emulating Low-Quality Video Footage
  16. Chapter 10: Expressions, Scripting, and Project Management
    1. Automating with Expressions
      1. Creating an Expression
      2. Expression Channel Syntax
      3. Writing Expressions
      4. Additional Expression Options
      5. Automating Animation with Expressions
    2. Running JavaScript Scripts
    3. Project Management
      1. Renaming Layers
      2. Managing Memory
      3. Customizing the Program Environment and Keyboard Shortcuts
      4. Using Built-In Render Farm Support
    4. Book Wrap-Up
  17. Index