Join Lee Lanier for an in-depth discussion in this video Merging elements, part of Fusion 7: Getting Started.
- It's time to get to the meat of compositing which is combing elements. For example, placing the foreground over a background. Maybe placing a CG render over a live action plate. Let's give it a try. I have a scene story here. This is project 5-1. I have landscape photo which we've used before as a still image and also the spaceship render which we've also used before. Let's say we wanted to place the spaceship over the top of the landscape. Pretty easy to do.
I'm going to go to Tools, Composite and Merge. Here's the Merge tool. Once I have it, I'm going to zoom in, take a look at the imports. These are color coded. So the green arrow is the foreground pipe. The orange arrow is the background pipe. If this was a layer based program like After Effects, the background would be the lowest layer and the foreground would be the highest or upper layer. So I'm going to connect the landscape which is called Vista.png to the background then I'll connect the spaceship to the foreground.
Now sometimes when you make connections, the position of the connection pipes changes. Now suddenly my foreground is on the left. The background is on the bottom. That's okay. It tends to do that. The important thing is to be aware of what you're connecting to. You can always place your mouse over the connection to see what it is. For example, here's the background which is the orange arrow and here's the foreground. Let's take a look at the results. Hook this up to the view and there we go. The spaceship is over the landscape. Now this working because the spaceship has an Alpha channel.
You can look at that any time. You can go to the Color menu on the view and switch that from Color to Alpha. Now the merge is not very exciting. It's just solid white but let's take a look at the spaceship. Here it is. So with Alpha channel black is 100 percent transparent, white is 100 percent opaque and if you have any gray pixels, that's semi-transparency. For example, you might have gray pixels just at the very edge. So this transparency around the ship allows it to be on top but not include parts of the landscape.
The landscape itself is just a photo. If I look at that, I can see it's just 100 percent opaque. And that's okay because it's connected to the background. It's important that the foreground has some transparency to let the background show through but the background is the lowest layer essentially so it doesn't matter. If my result is also 100 percent opaque, the Merge tool because you have a partially opaque spaceship on top of a fully opaque background and then that result is simply opaqueness. That's okay for our purposes. I'm going to go back to the Color view.
And there we go. Now what happens if you want to have more than one foreground? If you're working with a layer based program, you can simply continue to add layers and get that result. With a node based program like Fusion's, it's a bit more complicated. You actually have to have more than one Merge tool and chain them together. Let's give it a try. I'm going to click off the tools so nothing's selected. Composite, Merge and then I need a new foreground.
I could bring in another image sequence or a still image but just for now I'm going to create something right in the program. I'll go up to Tools, Creator and this menu has procedural elements that Fusion creates on the fly. And here is FastNoise. Let's take a look at that. Fractal based noisy pattern that includes transparency. Wherever the fractal pattern is dark, it becomes transparent. So I can place this over the top of the spaceship and landscape at this point with a second merge.
To chain the merges together, I have to connect the output of Merge1 to the background of Merge2 and then the new foreground gets connected to the foreground. Let's take a look at the result. So here the fractal pattern overhangs both the spaceship and the landscape. Resolution of the fractal noise is larger than the resolution of my landscape therefore it overhangs. It doesn't really matter. If I click off the Merge2, I see the end result which is the smaller resolution and that works fine.
I can render that out if I want to. So there's the smoky looking fractal noise placed over the spaceship and over the landscape and this is working because I've been able to chain two merges together. The Merge1 output goes to the background of Merge2 and the fractal goes into the foreground of Merge2. I can have a Merge3 node, run the output of Merge2 into the Merge3 background and some other new foreground into the Merge3 foreground and continue to chain.
- Basics of the Fusion interface and general workflow
- Creating tool (aka node) networks
- Working with transforms
- Using expressions
- Masking and rotoscoping
- Altering outputs with color correction and effects
- Compositing in 3D
- Motion tracking
- Keying with Primatte
- Rendering to disc