Join Jeff Foster for an in-depth discussion in this video Multiple moving elements and layers, part of Advanced Compositing, Tracking, and Roto Techniques with After Effects.
But sometimes when I'm doing my Matte painting, I'll use some of the video elements from the original layers to create part of my scene. And keep things moving. As you can see here in this exploding view here of all the different layers down in, I actually shot a video for about oh, five minutes or so. Waiting for cars to come though. And made a little more traffic on the road, by masking out individual cars and putting them back into the scene. And since it was a locked off shot, that was pretty easy to do. I also used some of the tree elements in various parts of the scene. So that the paint layers aren't real static, I've got wind blowing and the trees and wanted to keep that movement, and that depth going there. So let's take a lot at this in After Effects, now you'll be able to follow along With this file.
I've got this available for you to reverse engineer and take a look at, and see how it was done. There's one plug in that it's going to ask for, and that is the Tsunami Plugin from Red Giant. You can go and download the demo version of it for free, it'll just be watermarked, or it may have an x through it or something. But you'll be able to try it out and see how that works. That's a pretty incredible plugin. We'll take a look at that in minute. Now, I've got my original layer down here. That is my original movie layer. And it is a locked off shot, up on the hill here, and if we scrub through and just see, there's not a whole lot of traffic in this part of it here. I've got one car coming over the bridge here, and a car moving there. Well how did I add all the other cars in? I used different times of the movie and then masked them out.
If we, and so will that, there we go. I've got this one here, this truck, and what I've done is I've actually created a paint mask for it. And it's just a blue mask, so that I can see where it is in time as I move it along there. And I just did that because it was just an easy way to make a matte. And a Track Matte from that. I could've just done the same thing with just moving the mask around, this way I could do it quickly. I could scale it over time and this is just an easy way to make a matte. So no matter how you want a matte or mask in an element like that, I just use the different point in time.
When this car happened to be coming over the bridge. And I could add that in and just mask around it. So, that was a real easy way to handle that, because I don't have to worry about a really sharp matte around the car because it's the same shot. It's just a different part of time. It doesn't matter if there's trees in the way or shadows or whatever. The only thing that would be an issue is there is one point where this car from the foreground that starts here, does cross over in front of these other cars. And I have to make sure that I matte them out accordingly, as well. As it crosses the bridge here, I believe, there's a little collision and I have to matte and match that.
So that the car, does show up as it goes through there. So that's something, that's an area you have to be careful about. So, that was just a real simple way of adding the cars back in. Every other layer here, is these paint layers. If we look at those in Photoshop, got em here. I've got some elements, I'm not even sure if I ended up using this tree, I think it took it back out. The back railing here was just a Paint layer, and that was just painted in, it's all done in Photoshop.
So I kind of faked in some of the rust colors and some of the textures, a little bit of the 3-D effect of the railing. And some of the shadows, I just kind of faked that in. As I used my original clip here as my template. And I've got my front rail, same type of thing there, created a railing. The cliff is a photographic element that seemed like it was matching the lighting pretty close. The lawn was fake and created in there along with the curving for the road to follow along there.
Sidewalks are pretty much just a texture that were, was put on there to simulate kind of like a bike path or a nice walking boulevard here. And then the hills again, more photographic elements that just kind of cover up our ugly background here. Our background, our original, this was basically an industrial park. You know with so, some hills added in there that weren't there in the original. So those are our paint elements that I added in. And then we've got some of the trees, and this is the area that I really wanted to show you.
I took some trees here, which were bushes that were moving in the wind over time. And I was able to matte them or mask them back in cover up some of these other elements. Like there's a big communications box I covered up there. And over here, I've got one of the trees down here in the lawn area, and its moving pretty briskly because there's a little bit of a breeze or wind that day. And then there's some shrubbery back along there that I also put in to kind of blend in this hillside and make everything seem real.
And that really helps bring in your static elements, to tie them in and make them feel a little more real without doing a whole lot of work. And I didn't have to do any CG work or anything there. The only CG that's in this whole thing, is the actual water and that's using the plug in from Red Giant, the Tsunami Plugin. So, if we look at that plug in here, I'm not going to make any changes to this because any little changes are going to change it drastically, and take awhile to render.
But you can take a look at this, and you can look at some of the tutorials from Red Giant's site, on how to deal with the water. But the light, the waves, are handled by height, and by the grid of it. The details, the scale, the amount of flow that's going on, that's handled by wind speed. So, in the final, it's just looks like the water's running down this canal or this channel.
And you can see the actual mask that I used for that. That's a Track matte there. And that controls where the water is visible. Now another thing, if I turn this off, you can see that I have a little bit of transparency on this layer. And I just applied it to a solid color layer, and I left a little bit of transparency in there so you could see some of the texture underneath. You know it's just a canal full of you know weeds and junk and it's just a little trickle of water at this time.
But if I want to show it with this raging water going through here, I turn on my plug in. And you can see here there is a little bit of transparency to show some depth, that it's not really deep. It's not a really deep canal. It's fairly shallow, but it, it has some water moving in there. And that kind of completes this scene. So if we'll look at the final rendering here, we'll see that the water is moving. It looks like it's moving in a direction here. The sun light's coming from a specific angle, and that's actually programmed into the plugin. That allows you to pick the angle of the light and everything. The amount water movement here.
I've got a little semi-transparency there, so you see a little bit of the texture underneath. So it has more of a believable look. Now we can see these trees are moving over here off to the right. So we've got tree movement throughout the whole scene. It doesn't look too static. We've got a little bit of cloud movement. The clouds aren't sped up they're natural speed. So it doesn't look too corny or too cheesy with that, you know, rapid cloud movement. You see a little hint of the city back here, just peeking up over the, edge of the hills there. This all ties it in with perspective, with motion, and believability, with all of the little details that we put in there in trying to keep everything in motion here.
So, when you are creating your mattes, when you're creating a complex composite like this where you have a lot of elements. Don't forget to make sure you're adding motion back in where you're painting things over. If you have everything that's too static it just won't have that sense of believability.
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- Matte painting and moving background/foreground plates
- Lighting techniques in post