Join Lee Lanier for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing plates, part of VFX Techniques: Compositing an Explosion with Fusion 7.
- Okay, here we have our brand new Fusion project. It's empty, though, so let's start making it more interesting by bringing in some footage. You can import footage into the program by using the Loader tool. Now, there are several ways to make tools inside this program. However, I'm going to go down to the flow editor, right mouse button click, and go to Add Tool in the context menu. And here are all the tools. The loader is inside IO, for input/output. There it is. It goes straight to the browser.
Now, everything you need for the explosion is in the Exercise Files folder. Within that is that Footage folder with the video footage. You'll see that they all use the word plate as part of the name. That refers to a visual effects plate, which is a shot designed for visual effects. Let's start with CleanPlate. That's an image sequence, I'll select that, and click Open. There's out first loader. To look at that, I'll simply drag it into the view. Click on the viewer, and then I can zoom out.
And there it is. It's the car, next to the warehouse, no actors, nothing's moving. I do want to bring in two more iterations of footage, here, and then we'll work with them individually. I'm gonna go back and create a new loader. This time I'll go and get LightPlate and then look at that. Let's play it back. So, this is an empty set, but there's a light that turns on.
This will emulate the light from the explosion. I would like a third copy of this, so I can open up a new loader or actually copy this tool. I'll select the tool, control or command C to copy, click off, and then control or command V to paste. Same tool, same footage. Now, what I want to do with this footage, is actually turn each one into a freeze frame. I want to cut apart these plates at a later step, so I can make the explosion much more interactive with the footage.
I'm gonna go back to the first one. I'll select that. Now, there are several ways to make a freeze frame. But basically, you can use the Properties here, in the Control Panel, for that tool, to tell the program what part of the footage to use. So, for example, for this first shot, the clean plate, I just want one frame at the beginning. So, for example, I can enter one and one into Trim In and Trim Out. That will make the duration one frame. Now it disappears, but what I can do is repeat that frame by using one of these hold options.
For example, I can enter 100 into Hold Last Frame and that one frame is repeated, basically. Now, 100 is longer than our 35 frame duration, but usually I like to enter a large number just in case I decide to change the duration later on. Let's go to the second one. Now for the second iteration, I want to just take one frame from the dark park of the set before the explosion goes off. What I can do here is simply enter 100 into Hold First Frame And there the first frame, which is considered zero, is held.
Now I have a dark set. Let's go to the third one. Here I want to actually capture a freeze frame of the bright set for when the explosion goes off. That's frame 23. So I'll enter 23 into Trim In and leave Trim Out set to 23. It's only 24 frames long in total. Now, I do have to make sure that I have the correct tool selected. You see how the second one is selected here? I accidentally changed that. You have to make sure to always click on the tool to see the options and properties.
So, now I'm on the correct one I can go and enter 23 on that, and then I can also hold the first frame here, 100. So now I have a freeze frame of the car, a freeze frame of the dark set, and a freeze frame of the bright set. Now, so I can keep track of these tools, I'll rename them. You can select a tool, right mouse button click on it, go to Rename, and enter your own custom name.
I'm going to call this GROUND_SHADOW. Eventually, I'll cut this shadow out of this plate. The second one I'll rename DARK_PLATE, the dark version of the set, before the explosion goes off. And the third one, LIGHT_PLATE, the bright version. And there we go. So there we have three iterations of footage.
Each one's been turned into a custom freeze frame through the loader. We're now ready to cut them apart with some additional tools.
- Setting up a Fusion project
- Importing plates, static art, and 3D renders
- Merging nodes
- Assigning materials
- Color grading the explosion
- Working with fluid dynamics in Maya
- Combining the renders and 3D with live-action footage
- Creating post camera movement
- Rendering out the final effect