… for Visual Effects

Tip #1404: How to Comp a Shot in 3 Different Tools

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

A closer look at the process of compositing.

Compositor Marijn Eken, who compared Nuke, Fusion and After Effects.

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This article, written by Ian Failes and Marijn Eken, first appeared in VFXVoice.com. This is a summary.

Visual effects artists already know there are often many ways you can pull off a particular shot via different filming methods and with different tools and techniques. That’s certainly the case with compositing, where several pieces of software and compositing workflows can be used.

Here, visual effects artist Marijn Eken – who has worked as a compositor at studios including DNEG, Scanline VFX and RISE | Visual Effects Studios, and currently teaches at the Netherlands Film Academy – explains how he might tackle compositing of the same shot in three separate packages. These are Foundry’s Nuke, Blackmagic Design’s Fusion (inside DaVinci Resolve) and Adobe After Effects, arguably the three most accessible compositing tools.

The elements supplied to Eken were stock footage of a woman pinch-zooming a greenscreen and the marker-covered tablet, and a photograph of the space shuttle Endeavour taken at California Science Center, with the idea being that she would be zooming into an area of the photograph on the device.

In coming up with a methodology for approaching this relatively simple composite in the three different packages, Eken generally followed these steps:

  1. Track the four corners.
  2. Use the corner pin method to composite the image over the screen.
  3. Track the two fingers on the screen and use that to position and zoom the image.
  4. Apply grading on the inserted image to match the black levels and white point.
  5. Use the greenscreen and some roto to separate the hand and composite it on top.

The article then illustrates in detail how he approached this task in each of the three software. (Link)


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