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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
I would like to talk about the Blender plug-in architecture. It's a way of extending the functionality of Blender through the use of what's called a plug-in. A plug-in is late compiled and it's just loaded in whenever it's needed so it doesn't take up a lot of memory space. So the official Blender plug-in repository is hosted at the University of Minnesota at the address that's shown here. There are just a bunch of plug-ins that add a whole bunch of different effects to video strips. There is a Glow kind of effect.
There is an Old Movie plug-in that adds speckles and streaks to make it your movie into looking like it was an old black-and-white movie. There's of course blurring and taking two video strips and making them into your own 3-D movie. Then we have some speckling that adds some dirt, different wiping that you can use to transition between different strips. We have ways to spin different strips together. We have a Split plug-in that takes two video strips and splits the screen and places them side-by-side. I'm sure you've seen that, when like Mom calls Dad or whatever, they're placed side-by-side on the screen.
We have some flipping and flopping. Some of these effects have been obviated by add-ins to the actual strips. Like this flipflop you could automatically do with settings in the strip. But some of the other ones are still unique. And add pretty unique features and special effects to your video strip. Let's go ahead and take the greenscreen plug-in. I'll show you how to download them. All you need to do to get a plug-in is simply click on the link there and you'll come to a page where it shows you the different versions for each of the different operating systems that are supported by that particular plug-in.
I'm running on a Windows box, so I just need to go ahead and click on the Windows DLL and then depending on the browser that you are using, either Safari, Internet Explorer, I'm using Firefox, you'll get your download window. All you need to do is click Download and then just remember wherever it has downloaded. Firefox tells you down here in the bottom that its downloads are complete, and it's already been put in my Downloads folder. I like to keep all of my plug-ins that I've downloaded in a library under a plug-ins sub-folder.
That helps me keep all of my plug-ins organized. That's what I've done back here in Blender. So let's go ahead and right click on this video strip, make sure the video strip is selected. Let's go ahead and apply that plug-in to this video strip. To apply any plug-in all you need to do is go Add > Effect > Plugin and you'll switch to a file browser where you navigate to the folder where you saved that plug-in. So I saved my plug-ins here on my Desktop under my exercise_files, down in my library folder under plugins.
I just scroll down and I pick my greenscreen.dll plug-in. Go ahead and Select Plugin and it's brought right into the VSE and it's rubberbanded to my mouse cursor right. Now, if move my mouse up-and- down I can change the channels the effects strip is placed in, and for this particular plug-in it's not actually active. It's showing you the unprocessed video. So in order to activate this plug-in, I need to come over here to the Effects panel and every time you add a plug- in or add any kind of effect strip it's going to have an Effects panel over here.
So you just click Enable greenscreen and it goes right ahead and holds a pretty good matte from that greenscreen video. So this plug-in is pretty awesome at processing green screen. It has two modes one is a disabled mode, where it's like not working, then the other one is when it kicks in when you enable it first time and then another mode is when it shows you the mask of what it has taken out, in other words computed the greenscreen to be. Most of the time we want to do this.
It automatically substitutes in for the green, wherever it has detected the green, whatever color you want to choose here. So we can choose like a nice teal kind of a happy color. There we go. 0 is the composited output that we're seeing here. Number 1 shows us a little inside into how it detected where the green was and where the matte is. Here's the matte output called the Alpha Mask. Then finally it works in the YUV color space to detect what is green and like that.
So this shows us the luminance, which effectively converts it to a black-and-white image. The U channel and the V channel. We cover the YUV in the nodes training when we talked about separating out and combining the different color channels. So normally I work with Display Mode 0. If we're using dv4.1.1 footage then this an extra compression-decompression filter that kicks in, that gives you better quality results with that dv footage format. If we're getting any color spill, let's say if we were getting some right here, this color green outline, we can invoke the Spiller and let's say the factor, we can crank up the factor for the spilling.
We're getting some aliasing right here, so what we can do is we can blur the edge of the matte where it comes in. See now we're a nice smooth outline around her hair and around her shoulder. We can increase the edge of the blur if we need to, by increasing the Radius value here. We can automatically adjust the YUV values where we want to do some color correction and color adjustment. So that's the greenScreen plug-in and how to use it, as well as how to get, download, and use all the rest of the plug-ins.
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