Join Lee Lanier for an in-depth discussion in this video Reconstructing the castle walls, part of VFX Techniques: Creating Explosions with 3D Layers.
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We've started to recreate our shots in 3D space. We have the mountain, and these trees. Let's start working on the castle. I want to pull a stabilize down to this comp four times. I'll rename these after the parts they're going to eventually become. Castle left, castle right, castle turret and castle tower.
I'm going to hide the top three, just work on castle left. I'll select that, now I need to cut out the left side of the castle. So, once again, the pen tool. Let's start at the top. Now, you can leave out whatever you don't want. For example, I don't want the brown grass, so I'm going to cut that out. And down in the corner, across this bumpy stuff. Rocks, and bushes. Once again, you need to spend more time. I'm doing this very, very quickly now.
Make sure yours looks nice. Cross to the left, back up, and across these various trees, bushes, and across this ruin here in the back. Up this wall, cross top, we'll cut out this tree, I don't want that. And back to where I started. Now let's cut out. Now the colors are way off of coarse. What I can do though to save time is Copy the effects from Mountain, or go to Mountain.
Look at the effects or effect controls panel, I'm going to collapse all these effects so I can see them, and then shift select copy them. Command or Control C to copy, and go back to castle left, and Control or Command v to paste, it saves time, it's not perfect. It winds up too dark and too red. So I can start with my color balance, I can change these sliders, make it fit a bit better.
So go ahead and experiment with that. I'll give you some values though so it matches mine better. Circle the shadow area ten, seven, zero. For the mid tones, five, three, zero. And for the highlights, zero, zero, negative five. Essentially, I'm removing the red and adding back more green and blue.
That looks better. You can go to next effect then and change that for example I think I want more saturation so I'll change this to negative 50. In terms of the curves I can move those curves up if I move the points up to make it brighter. Maybe something like that. Now I did copy the blur. I think I don't want that for this foreground part. I'd rather have it sharper. So I can highlight that and press delete. Now I can convert this to a 3D layer.
I'll click the 3D button here and then move it. I'll also want to rotate in this case. I'd like to emulate that corner coming toward the camera. I'm going to go down to Transform, and use Orientation to rotate it 15 degrees in y. You can see how it changes perspective. I need to move it back to the foreground. I'll give you some values to get it back there. So 930 for position. 540 and negative 990. There it is back in the front.
Now one last thing I might do to the mask before I move on is feather it. Remember, you can always feather. I'll give this a slight feather of two. Now ready to move on to the right side. I'll turn that back on and repeat the process. This time I want to cut out the right so I'll grab my pen tool, go across the top, cut out the brown grass, maybe go up over this bush a bit, further across. Across the bush, cut out the grass, then here.
Now instead of keeping the turret this time I'm going to cut that off. We're going to break the turret off so it falls later on. So I'm going to come down here and down the wall and go across in a jaggy fashion as if that turret had broken. Something like that. And down the turret, be careful not to get that dark line. We don't want that. Down these rocks, I don't really want the bushes. because there's too much sky color in those. So I'll just go across the rocks, down to the bottom, across.
Back up a little further left so there's some overlap in this area. Then up the center line here on the corner and then close it, there we go. Now to save time I can just copy the effects from castle left. So, Color Balance>Hue Saturation>Curves. Control+ or Command+C and paste, Control+ or Command+V. That looks a bit dark, but we'll deal with that later on with some 3D lighting.
For now I want to get it in the right place. So, 3D Layer. And, I also want to rotate it, but in the opposite direction. So for orientation, I'm going to rotate by negative 15 degrees in Y. Now notice when I put in negative 15, it gives me 345. Orientation only works between positive zero and 360, so in order to make that work, I had to make that 345, and that's fine, it's still the offset angle. In fact we can go to the top view and take a look.
Here it is, it's way back here, I need it up here in the front where the other side is. So I'm going to move that interactively and also let it intersect a little bit. I do need to look at the camera view once again to see how that's matching up there, so back to camera, I'll take a look. Didn't move it far enough. Well, here, I can move it along the x until it intersects just slightly. I don't want any gaps opening up in there. Let me give you some more specific values, 930, 536.
And negative 960. And there we go, it's back together. Now, before I forget, I'm going to feather this mask also by two. And then what we could do is adjust the mountain in the far trees here, because. We have the castle here now. So now, we can figure out how to get those in better places. So, for example, the mountain will have a new position. Let's try 910, 620, and negative 125. That pulls it closer, and fills that area.
In terms of those far trees. Remove that, and also scale it. Let's try for position 2075, 1440, 370. Now allow this overhang, so I don't see it. So, I can scale it down. Now if these are links, I can simply change one scale, but turn the sync on right here. I'm going to make the x 175 and the other values change along with it.
So there we go. We've started to reconstruct the castle with some more 3D layers. We rotated those to give it a sense of depth and we've adjusted the background elements such as the mountain
- Stabilizing and relighting video footage
- Constructing a 3D environment in After Effects
- Incorporating stock footage effects, such as fireballs
- Fine-tuning CG particle renders
- Layering CG debris simulations
- Incorporating matte painted elements
- Animating a 3D camera in After Effects
- Color grading video, CG renders, and static artwork
- Adding flares, grain, and motion blur