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Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter

Preparing the file for After Effects


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Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter

with David Mattingly

Video: Preparing the file for After Effects

With our digital matte painting finished, we're ready to take the finish into After Effects and create an animation. However, you don't want to bring this multilayered work file into After Effects. All these layers will make the project larger that needs to be and harder to deal with. First, make sure you've saved this work file with all of the layers before you start this process. We will reduce the number of layers for After Effects, but you may want to return to the many-layered version to make corrections. So go up to the top menu and save your project. Then save it again under a new name.

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Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter
1h 48m Intermediate Jul 03, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, well-known author, teacher, and illustrator David Mattingly demonstrates his production-proven matte painting techniques and shows how to turn a summer daytime scene into a wintry nightscape using Photoshop and After Effects. David shows how to take a plate, or a still shot from a film, and alter key elements to change the season and time of day. Using advance digital matte painting methods, David removes all of the greenery from the mountains, fields, and trees, and covers them with snow. Then he replaces the sky, and adds realistic touches such as chimney smoke, icicles, and night-lit windows. In the final chapters, you'll discover how to create an animated scene that cross-dissolves between the two versions.

Topics include:
  • Making precise selections using the Color Range command
  • Controlling reference material through layer masks
  • Creating custom brushes
  • Painting snow, icicles, and trees
  • Painting through a high-contrast matte
  • Replacing the sky in an image
  • Animating smoke and falling snow
  • Reformatting and rendering a scene in After Effects
Subjects:
3D + Animation Illustration Video Digital Painting Compositing Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects Photoshop
Author:
David Mattingly

Preparing the file for After Effects

With our digital matte painting finished, we're ready to take the finish into After Effects and create an animation. However, you don't want to bring this multilayered work file into After Effects. All these layers will make the project larger that needs to be and harder to deal with. First, make sure you've saved this work file with all of the layers before you start this process. We will reduce the number of layers for After Effects, but you may want to return to the many-layered version to make corrections. So go up to the top menu and save your project. Then save it again under a new name.

I'm going to name it the same as the original plate ~MountainChalet_671035, and add "ForAE," or For After Effects, at the end. Then save it as a layered Photoshop file. Now you need to reduce the number of layers in this new file. What I need for After Effects is the landscape separate, the sky separate, and the Multiply and Overlay layer is separate so I can fade them on.

Also, I'll want the smoke and the illuminated windows on separate layers. First off, I want to get rid of the mask. I'm not going to bring that into After Effects. Using the new version of the Crop tool in Photoshop 6, Command+Click or Ctrl+Click into the layer mask icon preview to load the selection. Then go to Select > Inverse and choose the Crop tool, or press C on the keyboard. Since this is Photoshop CS6, the crop appears exactly the same size as the selection.

I want to double-check that I don't have DeleteCroppedPixels checked at the top of the interface. If you have that checked, it will also crop the clouds layer, which you don't want. In older versions of Photoshop, there will be two checkboxes: one for Delete and the other for Hide. Make sure you choose Hide. Hit Return to confirm the crop and Photoshop crops the file to the exact dimension of the inner mask. Next, I want to isolate the summer version, so I'm going to solo this layer 0.

And you can see that's the summer version, but I need to get rid of the sky. I'm going to Command+Click or Ctrl+Click into the icon Preview for the Sky layer mask to load it in and then hit Delete to delete the sky from that layer. And now I'm going to name this layer Summer. I'm going to rename this Sky layer SummerSky. I'm going to move that and the foreground and background clouds below the summer version of the landscape so it will act as a mask for the clouds.

With that done, I no longer need the mask layer on the SummerSky, so I'm going to delete it. Now I need to prepare the winter version of the landscape. I am going to turn that on and I'm going to Command+Click or Ctrl+Click into the layer thumbnail preview for the summer version to load the selection. Select > Inverse and then delete this sky out of the winter version. I've still got all of these other layers that make up the winter version, so I am going to select them all and move them right on top of the base of the winter version.

Then I am going to select them all and press Command+E or Ctrl+E to merge all layers together. And I'll rename this layer Winter. Then I'll move that DuskSky below the winter landscape. And I no longer need the layer mask, so I am going to delete that also. I still want my BlueMultiply layer, I still want my Orange Overlay layer, but masks don't transfer over to After Effects, so Command+Click or Ctrl+Click into the layer mask preview to load the selection. Then select the Inverse and then delete the layer mask. Then press Delete to remove the Orange Overlay from everywhere that wasn't masked.

Then I can turn on the DuskSky to confirm that everything has come again as expected, then turn on the Windows layer, and delete the remains of the Mask layer. Save this again with a new layer structure. If you've been following along and want to compare your work with mine and you are a lynda.com Premium member, you can find my file in the 3_AfterEffects folder in the exercise files. This is the file we will use in the next lesson to create an animation.

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