03 The Compositing Fundamentals

03 The Compositing Fundamentals

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00:00
hello there now before we go jumping into nuke i wanted to go over a little bit of theory because ultimately at the end of the day nuke is a tool for compositors to use knowing the buttons doesn't really mean anything if you don't know why you're using them it's like a photographer who knows cameras really well but can't take a good picture so that's why i've come up with these eight compositing fundamentals that are going to inform us how to approach our shots and what to look for as we're compositing and these fundamentals
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are universal they can be applied in any program you can be using nuke flame fusion after effects even microsoft paint these eight fundamentals are the bedrock of any good composite so let's hop in and do a brief overview we're going to go more into detail later in the class but i just wanted to broad strokes explain what the eight compositing fundamentals are so our first one is tracking now tracking is pretty straightforward basically if your camera has any movement in it
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the elements you're adding into your shot must match that motion tracking is one of those things where if it's off there's no way it's ever going to look real it's incredibly important and there's a lot of different types of tracking you can do as well and we're going to hop into those later this week now levels is really just a catch-all term for color correction color matching color balancing whatever you really want to call it it's matching color tonality between different elements it's matching the darks and the lights their shadows their
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highlights it's matching their warmth or their coolness it's matching how green or magenta something is ultimately it just comes down to taking your elements and making them feel like they live in the same environment through color next up we have grain now grain affects all footage to varying degrees you get it in film cameras you get it in digital cameras in digital cameras it's called noise but it's really the same thing it's kind of an unwanted breaking up of the image and all cameras will react to noise differently
02:05
digital cameras will react differently than film digital cameras will react differently from other digital cameras it doesn't even matter if you have the exact same digital camera the green is going to be different and it's very important to match these unique grain characteristics within the elements of your shot you might be thinking well grain is pretty subtle while in some cases that may be true it won't be very subtle when it's up on a 50-foot movie screen and i'll leave it at that moving on the next fundamental we're going to go over
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is edge detail edge detail is so important to compositing and it's one of the main skills you can have as a compositor edge detail is exactly what it sounds like and it's maintaining characteristics of your edge as you're merging elements over each other if you have a defocused piece of footage when you merge that you need its edges to be soft and blurry if you have tack sharp footage of an actress's hair fluttering in the wind you're going to need to maintain those tiny details for it to look realistic this is where the art of keen and
03:06
rotoscoping comes in and this isn't just about getting the right sharpness of your edge because often times that's the easy part the hard part is getting the color of your edge to match what's behind it your background has such a huge influence on how you approach your edges and it's very important to tailor what you're doing to your background next up is focus focus can be very simply explained by saying what is in focus in your shot also needs to be in focus
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in your comp and on the opposite end what is blurry and defocused in your shot needs to be blurry and defocused in your comp and what is defocused must not only be the right size of defocus but also the style of blur because based on the lens that you choose there are so many different shapes that defocused elements can take and there's also a lot of different characteristics they can exhibit as well and this leads us to our next category lens effects now lens effects and focus
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they overlap a little bit but they are two distinct categories defocus is more is this sharp enough is the falloff of my focus correct and lens effects are the characteristics that imperfections in the lens cause in our image for example chromatic aberration vignetting lens distortion glows halation there's lots of little imperfections in the lens that creates these characteristics in our image that we're gonna have to copy
04:39
in order for our elements to blend if there's a giant jj abrams esque lens flare in your shot doesn't matter if you think they're cool or not that's a lens effect and you have to put your footage under it now we're on to perspective admittedly when you're first starting out perspective is pretty difficult to get a grasp on a very quick and obvious example would be say you're in a skyscraper and you take a picture looking down at the city beneath you and you want to add more buildings to it but the only other pictures that you
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have to use are taken from the ground level you can't combine those the angle is wrong and it's just not gonna work matching the angle is just one facet of understanding perspective there's also matching the compression of the lens there's the field of view there's so much to kind of figure out perspective is one of those things that may be hard to identify when you're looking at a shot because you can be looking at it and think something is wrong but not really know what and odds are pretty good that it's one of two things the
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perspective or the next one we're talking about the lighting so lighting seems like something that should be pretty straightforward and in principle it really is if you're combining elements into a shot make sure that the lighting is the same between them and that's it well that's what it seems like but a lot of the times we're being asked to combine things with wildly different lighting conditions and manipulating different lighting environments to match is very difficult and sometimes it's
06:12
even impossible this is a major factor when you're compositing cg elements and getting everything to blend because it's another one of those things where if it's a little off it may not immediately jump out to you as what's incorrect with your comp but if your lighting is off the unconscious part of the viewer's brain will know that something is wrong so it is very important to match and those are the eight compositing fundamentals if you go through these eight looking at your comp and they're all
06:42
correct odds are you have something that looks pretty good and i'm not saying that these are the only things required for your comp to be good because as you continue to get more complex shots there's things like the weight and feeling of scale there's animation there's cg shaders there's a lot of other different things you can focus on to make a shot look real but they're all built on these compositing foundations some of them may be more or less important depending on your shot if you're looking at a shot that has very deep focus meaning that
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everything is sharp and there's no defocus or blur anywhere well our focus fundamental probably won't be as important as it is in a shot with very shallow depth of field it's all contextual and depends on what the shot needs but the further off that any one of these are the more unrealistic your shop will look if this was a little overwhelming it was a lot of information at once don't worry we're going to be looking at each of these in depth in later weeks i just wanted to briefly go over them so we can keep them in mind well that's all
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i have for right now let's hop in a nuke and start applying these principles thank you for listening and i'll catch you in the next one

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