Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating the final composite, part of Mograph Techniques: Creating a Product Endpage.
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The key to creating a good composite is just taking your time and paying attention to exactly how you're building everything. I like to take a rather methodical approach. So, why don't you come along with me as I go ahead and build this using all the different render passes that we created out of our Cinema 4D project. First thing you'll notice with our project. I already have a Bottle_EndPage composition that has a precomp in it. I've gone ahead and scaled down by 1080 footage, down to 720, and it fits perfectly.
So let's start by importing our different render passes. I'm going to double-click in the Project Panel, and you should navigate in your Exercise Files to the Footage panel. And in 3D Pre-Renders, I'm just going to search for .aec files. So let's choose the BottleH.aec file. When I click Open, it's going to go ahead and take a second, but it'll import all the different render passes into separate folders. So here notice I have my BottleH folder.
If we open that, it has a composition with two of the render passes and then I have special passes. These hold my object buffers and other things like the depth pass which we'll get to in a little bit and my RGB render which is just my basic bottle render. Just so we can keep track of what special passes these are, I'm going to drag them up into the BottleH folder. Lets double click our BottleH comp, so that we can see the layers that have been brought across. You can see the camera data as well as all the lights and two of the render passes have been brought in automatically built in the comp.
So click on Layer one, Shift+click on Layer seven. And we'll just copy these, and go to our Bottle_EndPage, and Paste. You want to make sure when you paste that the camera ends up on top, and everything stays in order. Now the specular highlight has no blend mode. If you're not seeing your blends modes, you want to go here to the left, and make sure this second button is enabled So if you click on the Normal pull down for Layer seven's blend mode, we can change that to Add. Now we can't see anything, because we haven't added our actual RBG layers.
So let's click on BottleH, and drag it down just above our bottom layer. Now, of course, this is all one object. And I want to isolate the floor from the bottle itself. And if we look at object one, when I double-click. This has luminance based on the transparency of the bottle itself. I don't want this just yet. I want a solid version of this. So we'll have to get that from the other project which I'll import in a quick second. Object two, if I double click this is giving me the floor for my 3D element, which I'm going to then turn around and composite over our background footage.
So let's take object two, and drag it down just above our selected Layer eight. Now just so we have another version of our HRGB stuff, I'm going to go ahead and rename Layer nine RGB Background. And I'll duplicate that layer, pressing Cmd+D or Ctrl+D on Windows, and move it up above my object buffer, and just turn its visibility off. So the two layers we're dealing with right now is my Background Layer, and my Object Buffer.
So with my Background Layer, I want to go to the Track Matte and tell it to use the luminance from the layer above, to determine, what's transparent and what isn't. Now, I've isolated the gray area. So let's go ahead and, select the Layers ten and nine, and right-click, and pre-compose these. I'll call this the Floor Precomp. And now, since this is all one element, I can just go ahead and change the Blend mode from this, to Overlay. So when we get a Overlay, you can see it's knocked out all the gray, because the gray was 50%, and I'm seeing all the color in the shadows.
Now I do have a little bit of a bleed over with this black line. So I'll fix that with a garbage mask. So go up to your Shade tool and click and hold and make sure you've chosen the Rectangle tool. I'm going to click and draw a rectangle around the entire bottom part of my image, making sure that I cut off that black bar. That's exactly what I was looking for. You can see I've got a little bit of a bleed here on the edge of the bottles, but when I turn the bottle back on, you'll never notice that. So let's go ahead and add the bottle back on.
Take layer eight and turn its visibility on. And sure enough, we have to isolate the bottle. So let's collapse BottleH for right now and double-click in the Project Panel. So then again, navigating your footage folder to your 3D pre-renders and we'll search for the .aec file. So it's import BottleO.aec and we'll click Open, and again it will take a second. Now we'll drag our special passes up into BottleO. And we can open up BottleO, and we have our ambient occlusion pass, which if we double click, you can see its giving me.
Some nice data there, which I'll show you what we can do that in a moment. And then if we open our special passes, we have object buffer one. Well, let's double click on that. And sure enough, that's going to give me a nice amount of transparency from a bottle. So, let's go ahead and click on that, and drag it just above our RGB Background two layer. And, of course, we need to select Layer nine and change the Track Matte to use the luminance from the layer above. Now, that's knocked out the background and we've isolated the bottle by itself.
Now, just so we have the bottle completely by itself, let's go ahead and take Layers eight and nine and Pre-compose. And I'll call this Bottle Precomp One. Now we're calling it Precomp One, because we go back to our BottleH folder. We had that object buffer that has the gray luminance values. I'm going to use this to actually make the bottle semi-transparent again. So lets go ahead and take this pass, and place it right above our Bottle Precomp One layer.
And you guess that I'll select Layer nine and change the Track Matte to Luma Matte. Now you can actually kind of see through the bottle. Now I'm seeing through a little too much in this ground area here, so, I'm going to just repeat BottleH, just below that precomp. But I'll do it with the precomp, because it's just been isolated off the background. So let me go ahead and select this, and press Cmd+D to duplicate the precomp. And I'll turn the Luma Matte off that and just move it below our other precomp.
Now If I press T to turn on the Opacity, I can bring the brightness of the opacity for that down. And then I'm just controlling how opaque this is over the background. So, this is pretty good for my bottle. Now, I could take all three of these layers and precompose it again, but we'll just stop for right now. Let's go ahead and take our ambient occlusion pass in the BottleO folder, and place it just above my object buffer for my bottle, okay? So now that it's placed above let's change it's blend mode, to multiply.
That's going to knock out the white, and it's going to add a nice little shadow here, and some shadows in here to accentuate the dimensionality of our model. If I turn that off and on, you can see the huge difference that's making just with that one layer. Now I think this is a little harsh, so I'll press T and just bring the Opacity of that layer down. So you can see how methodically I've been working. I've been literally working from the ground up, isolating the different elements, and then focusing on one element and another before I move on to the next.
So, since we've got this kind of sitting in the background and our shadow looks pretty good, and we have our ambient occlusion. I'm going to go head and add a blur into the scene. So to add a blur, I'm going to go up under Layer and choose New Adjustment Layer. Now with my Adjustment Layer, I'll go up under Effect > Blur and choose Camera Lens Blur. Now it's going to make everything blurry, but I can isolate specific areas by using a depth pass. So let's go back to our Project Panel, and for my BottleO folder, I've got a depth pass.
See, there is it is, depth. So if we double-click to look at it, anything that's white is going to be blurry. Anything that's black is going to be sharp, and any varying level in between will be a variable level of blur. Let's go ahead and drag this all the way down to the bottom of our layer hierarchy. We don't need to see it. It just needs to be in a composition. So now when we select our Adjustment Layer, we can go ahead and rename that blur. And in our Effect Controls for that blur, we can go to the Blur Map and choose the Depth Layer, Layer 15.
Now, we have a blur that is applied just to the areas that we need. So here, I'll decrease the Blur Radius, just a little bit, chose a Blur Radius of about three. There we go, and if we increase the Roundness here a little bit it's just going to make a subtle adjustment to our Blur. So let's go ahead and set that to a value of around 75%. Now as I'm looking at this, we need to stylize the background layer.
Because, the green is just in way too much contrast with the bottle. So let's go down to our stabilized layer, which is the layer that just contains our, our backplate. And we can go up under Effect > Color Correction, and choose Tint. With the Tint Color Correction, I want to map white to the teal color that we've been using for the majority of the project. Now, this is way harsh. So let's go ahead and decrease the amount of tint. We'll choose a number around 30%, like 32.
This is definitely starting to blend everything into the background. To give things a little bit more pop, we could make an overall adjustment to the Exposure. So let's go up under Layer, choose New Adjustment Layer, and for this one, we'll rename this Exposure. And go up under Effect > Color Correction > Exposure. I want to bring this darkness down, so we'll set the Gamma Correction to 0.8.
Now, we've got a really cool kind of composite that's built. And we've blended in the background. We have a nice soft blur going out here with our ambient occlusion. We've given definition to our bottle and with our very first track, we've actually nailed this down and everything is all set. The last thing I'd like to do with this scene is just to add, kind of a gorilla style Vignette. So I'm going to open our Layer and choose New > Solid.
Make sure the comp size and choose black. There are many ways to add a vignette, I'd just like using the black solid sometimes. It's quick and dirty. So let's go to our Ellipse Tool. And I'll hover over the middle and click and start to drag. And if you hold down Cmd or Ctrl on Windows you can drag out until you just have the corners that aren't selected. Let's change our Mask to Subtract and then open up our Mask settings so we can increase the feather amount.
So I'll set it up around 330, 340, and then we should just change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. And this is a pretty severe Vignette, so let's go ahead and press T, and we can decrease how strong this is. So we'll set it at about 46%. Now it's a little more subtle, but if you turn it off and you turn it on you can see it's just added that little level of intimacy to the scene. So when it comes to creating Composites with multipass layers, the most important thing to remember is method.
Being mythodical and work from the bottom up. I've found any time you do that, you'll never be lost, and you'll have fun creating your own composites.
- Importing and replacing footage
- Tracking the camera
- Sending tracking data to CINEMA 4D
- Modeling a 3D version of your product
- Lighting the model
- Determining the render passes
- Retiming and styling to match the edit