After Effects = Brain Freeze

Yes, so after effects…we have a love hate relationship going on.

I can’t say I am fond of any time spent on after effects, but for this brief it has to be done. I guess in the long run it will be worth it to have at least some knowledge of how to use it/how it works, so battle through I must. Luckily I had a fairly smooth drop into the software, where I took the footage from the film shoot on weds and was tasked with creating a mock up of the first effects sequence.

WE begin by making the film footage look pretty! Certain things will most likely need tweaking and tidying up when using film, in today’s case it was a few raindrops that were on the lens of the camera. These were easily rectified, either the clone stamp tool or the use of masking and replacing areas works fine.

To achieve a workable shot I needed to mask out the object in the foreground i.e. the building. This allows the spaceship to move from behind the building to in front of it; now I am still rather mind boggled by how this all works but I’m just going to think about it as layers in Photoshop!

To make sure that the mask had worked I placed a solid colour layer in, this also helped me to see where I had accidentally left in parts of the sky. Luckily my mask had been pretty accurate. To finish this part off all I needed to do was add a little feather to the mask, this I remember is more commonly used when you are trying to make two different things looks like they fit. In this case it will make the ship appear a lot less harshly over the building.

After rendering an image sequence out of after effects I imported a still into Maya so I could animate the spaceship. This process started off really confusing as I got confused as to whether you could add a sense of depth into the composition. I wanted the spaceship to get steadily closer in the top right corner of the composition, so I began by doing that, then got really confused as within Maya the ship isn’t in front of the image until it breaks through it.  This got my mind totally confused, so instead I opted for a simply option, to have the ship appear in the top left corner at a fairly close range. After thinking a little about this and how it actually works in after effects, I now realise it would have worked fine!!! I need to think things through more before I go off and assume that it won’t work. Anyways it works, all I need to do now is sort out the layers in after effects so that it works as a VFX shot.

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