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Thread: Have you tried VFX Node-Based Compositing?

  1. #1
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    Default Have you tried VFX Node-Based Compositing?

    I have used Sony Vegas Pro as my primary editing software for almost a decade. More recently, I have been dabbling with Hitfilm 3 to accomplish some special effects that are difficult or near impossible to composite in Vegas without the Hitfilm 3 plugins. Very recently, while trying to replicate a composite video scene using practice green screen footage from the Hollywood Camera Work website, I found I was not able to accomplish it using either Sony Vegas or Hitfilm 3. When I went back and reviewed the HCW VFX compositing course workflow, I saw that the instructor used a node-based compositing software called Fusion. I decided that I needed to investigate the possibility of learning node-based compositing, so I went searching for the Fusion software. To my pleasant surprise, it turns out that the company that now owns the software is offering a FREE version of Fusion version 7. Although the free version is for stand-alone use on a single workstation (no networking or 3D capabiliies), it is still a very powerful and complex node-based compositing system that has the tools and functions to make professional grade VFX. I should also mention that Fusion has been used by the movie industry for over two decades to put together effects for many a great motion picture. I'm writing this news blurb here on Digital Director to let everyone know about the free availability of this very powerful VFX software. You can download it from this website: Black Magic Design Fusion 7.

    I've been playing with the software for less than a week and I'm fairly excited about the power of node-based VFX editing. I'm not pimping their product,just sharing my good fortune with my friends here. In the help section of the software there is a 331 page .pdf user's manual. There are also so very fundamental Training Videos.
    Best
    Digger


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    I'd be interested to know how you get on. As you're aware I'm reasonably familar with Vegas (and just getting to grips with a few aspects of HitFilm). I've installed and looked briefly at Fusion, but haven't really had the inclination to learn the new workflow. Your experiences might well tempt me again.

    Incidentally I'm up for a challenge - if you let me know what specific scene you were trying to accomplish i might have a go (although I'm in the middle of a complex (for me) project at the moment.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Wow a very powerful tool and it's free ! I don't do this kind of stuff very often but I'm sure there will be some useful tools. Cheers Digger.

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    Tim, I'm making a go at the "F15 Fly Over" scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by worddigger View Post
    Tim, I'm making a go at the "F15 Fly Over" scene.
    Don't expect anything for a few weeks but i'll give it a go.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Don't expect anything for a few weeks but i'll give it a go.
    Same here, Tim. I'm having to learn this software as I go. Yesterday, I finally succeeded to figure out the correct node sequence for garbage matting the pilot over the merged composite of the ocean background and the matte of the fighter jets. Now I have to go back and re-frame a few of the key frames of the garbage matte because I missed some of the "garbage" around her. But this is good training, because it is making me dig for a correct result through trial and error.

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    OK, here is my first shot at node-compositing the green screen plates of the F15 Flyover scene using the FREE version of Fusion:



    First, the woman had to be garbage matte rotoscoped out of the green screen plate to conceal the light stands, monitor and tracking markers. That was part of the exercise and expected. But then when I attempted to matte her into the cockpit, I had a technical problem applying the side mattes of the fuselage over the matte of the woman in the cockpit (most certainly due to my lack of familiarity with one of the node settings). Consequently, I ended up doing the entire shot by hand rotoscoping her into the plane. The result is fair, but I can see my rotoscoping edges in the playback under the edge of the canopy class. Hopefully the next one I try will come out a little better.

    The attachment (below) shows the actual nodes and flow sequence in Fusion:

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Second Fusion Compositing Exercise - T-Rex Chase

    Again, here is another Fusion Node-Based compositing exercise using Hollywood Camera Work's provided green screen plates. This one took about three weeks to work out. It required using two polygon garbage mattes to position the boy in front of the dinosaur and the logs, then a third polygon to matte the dinosaur to run behind the tree. The last matte job required hand-painting a copy of the main plate to paint out the images of the boy, frame by frame (key green) after he runs past the tree and off the screen. I used a FREE but powerful graphics software called Gimp to paint the plates. Then, using a chroma keyed matte of the paint work, I used it to drive a bitmap node to obtain a garbage matte. This enabled me to position the boy in front of the dinosaur and the wood debris in the last part of the scene. Frankly, figuring out how to combine the two different types of mattes was time consuming, as the flow analysis given in the course used an older version of Fusion and the layout would not work quite right in Fusion 7. I engineered a work-around, stacking all of the mattes into a single node chain and matte controller.




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    Finally, after completing the T-Rex chase compositing, I decided it would be appropriate to demonstrate the importance of the sound design for such a sample movie scene. The Foley was collected from various free sources out on the Internet. The music clip is from a royalty-free library service. Final editing done in Sony Vegas Pro. 13.




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