VFX for Guerrilla Filmmakers: New 4-week course!



  • edited February 2016

    I just tried it out (I missed it because I was looking in the wrong place for it earlier). It took very little tweaking to get it to look pretty nice, so I'm impressed.

    Now if I could either import an XML/EDL/AAF or export to HQX or DNxHR, I'd be able to use it for lots of things... including some that I'm going to be shooting pretty soon... (hint hint)

  • Woohoo week 2 is now available :D

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited February 2016

    Week Three is up.

    @SimonKJones I figured out where I got "8 weeks" from. Because one can register for the course up to 8 weeks from it's start date.

    Either way, I blew through the articles for this week, did my first round of comments (Me? Comment? Never!). I'll come back to the videos later, but tonight I animate! Off to Photoshop to slice up image layers.

    BTW--I HAD to get the "I'll Add a Design in Post shirt," and share that around to my VFX buddies.

  • edited February 2016

    @Triem23 yep looks good this week, some tricks that I had not really played with, so better get started. Now where did I put my Tardis to claw back a few hours. Been racking the old brian for a test shot, but the ideas just seem to be too complex. I like the idea of a scene in a kitchen where the actor is sitting reading a paper with the headline "Cloning really takes off around the home!" and we see a 2nd copy at the sink washing up, then a third making a cup of tea. It would be great to make the tea cup the link between the third and first clone. Maybe this could be done by masking out the final cup in the 1st clone and then having the 3rd tea making clone remove this very mug and place it on his own worktop, then in post I play this backward to make it look like the final move I need. Hmmm...

  • @Andy001z. Don't overthink the digital. We guerrillas also want to minimize digital. 

    First. Don't forget your clean plate. In fact, clean plate every two or three takes. 

    Second. Can you get multiple identical mugs? Now you have another great tool. 

    Three. Markers. Not for tracking, but for objects. In case you need multiple takes. 

    Four. This is the time to get good with the roto tools. No matter what you'll be cutting overlays from the clean plate, or adding the cup where it isn't. 

    Five. If shooting at home, remember, you're allowed to move stuff around for a better shot. 

    Six. Practical gags. Ways of holding or placing a cup. 

    Seven. Who said it all has to be one shot? 

    Nineteen.  (Five+Six+Seven, and the next step) Staging. You're right. Clone gags are complex... So. What can we simplify, how can we cheat, and how can get a cool shot? 

    Twenty through I'm not counting. 

    Ok, if soda/pop/cola is something you drink let's do this instead of a mug. Anything with standardized packaging. Now you can have multiple cans in one shot. This actually allows you to have things go back and forth from 1 to 3 back to 1. 

    Ok, let's put a couch in extreme Forground. Lying on the couch the newspaper guy. Drinking a can of beverage. 

    Two asks for a drink, one hands off the can. 

    How? I put a stool or something behind the couch at appropriate level. One puts the can on the stool... Leaves it there. Lying on the couch makes One easy. Just mask the couch! Two now is waist up. You're welcome, you don't have to roto legs, ever! 

    Three can be in the background, opposite corner from two (no overlap) doing dishes (you can move furniture to get the shot). 

    Three would also like a draught of refreshing beverage. Two brings it, but seeing Three washing a plate puts it on the counter. It stays here for the rest of Two's take. Two dries hands drinks, puts back on counter. Same spot (markers). Two takes it back to One (we have the same stool) who sadly shakes the empty can, looks at the headline, then, to camera, "Personally, I'm against it!" 

    Now, use your marker to place the can for Three's take. Now most of your roto is patching in empty space for cans. 

    After you shoot your main shot, reset camera and shoot closeups--cutaways. Like One reading, Three more from his side, Two, wherever he is. That lets you tighten the timing on the wides by using the cutaways. 

    Just an idea. 


  • Here's a properly ancient video I did about 9 years ago (!):


    Super old, but still demonstrates a useful technique. The main thing here is that the movement of the ball is converted to being entirely digital, once it leaves the actor's hands. That kind of 'massaging' of the shot is going to be quite common with clone shots where you have clones interacting.

  • @SimonKJones wow that is way back bet the render time was big. An interesting idea, take a real world object and make it not real to do impossible things with it - Nice.

  • @SimonKJones whatever your favorite Internet meme is with a dumbfounded or incredulous or facepalm like theme is probably how I looked when, in your week 3 tutorial the words, "...double-clicking the property's name opens the corresponding control..." floated from the speaker of my Galaxy S5. 

    Three years and I never figured this out. Oh, the time I've wasted...

    I was absolutely "gobsmacked," but I'm not certain if my inner voices were speaking as Michael Palin or Graham Chapman. 

    Oh, the gaffe tape on monitor was a great tip. Obviously, masking would be better, but that's more inventory. Sets ALWAYS have gaffe tape. ;-) 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited February 2016

    @SimonKJones yeah... A Riker and TWO Picards? HARSH! But, about right. Where's the Like button? 

    That ball composite still holds up pretty well. :-) 

  • "...double-clicking the property's name opens the corresponding control..."

    It would be even more useful if the double click also auto scrolled that item into view on the timeline. I put that in the wishlist some time ago.

    It saves scrolling up/down to find the property in the list of items. If you double click to open an item then presumably you want to do something with that item and therefore you probably want that item on screen in the timeline.

  • I've found lots of useful tips and discussions in the course so far. The bit about digital actors at the end of this week's course was interesting because I'm working on that myself.

    I've been working with a lot of fully CG sets simply because I don't have the space or the budget to create live sets. So using a CG character instead of a live actor helps sell the scene and create a sense of depth. Like in this example, it was far simpler for me to use a CG character than try to set up a large turntable to do the rotating platform as live action.


  • @ESPictures ; Nicely done!   Very convincing.

    BTW, a little movement on your digital character (self) as you swing around would really sell it as being realistic.  Almost want some sort of control panel to reach out to during the spin.

  • Thanks! There is movement, but it's very subtle. The arms shift a bit and fingers move a little. I didn't want to start milking the giant cow and make any big movements.

    No control panels. But it's a work in progress. I still have to fix the reflection on the liquid. And there will be a hologram next to me that I'm conversing with. But I'll have to wait until I have the ADR done to animate/lip sync that part.

  • edited March 2016

    Moved my Demult question to new thread, as felt more relevant.

  • Week 4 is now up - it's the final week!

    If you haven't signed up for the course make sure you do so before this weekend, as that's when it'll be closing for new students. As long as you sign up before Sunday you'll have access to the course whenever you want it.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    If you haven't signed up, well, it's a solid foundational course on 2D tracking, keying, roto and 2D/3D compositing. Add in the discussion videos from artists ranging from micro-budget indy guys to blockbuster effects guys and the course is worth your time, indeed. 

    Look, I started with CGI and VFX nearly 30 years ago--it's not an exaggeration to say I could have taught this course, yet, every week I picked up at least one concept I hadn't encounrered or a new way to look at an old technique. This really is a fantastic course. Take advantage of it! 

  • Yea, I was initially skeptical but despite already having a clue I still picked up new stuff every week.  I especially enjoyed listening to HaZ as he seems to make the kind of films I'd make if I was working in live action.  And as always, watching @SimonKJones work is incredibly informative.

    Well worth it!

  • @ESPictures   Nicely done!  However, I agree with Stargazer that possibly turning the head or raising the arm of the CG you as it moves would help sell the effect.  Possibly an additional CU of the real you  with the CG background moving behind you.....

  • Thanks guys, really glad the course has been such a hit, and that even seasoned old-timers have got something from it. :)

  • edited March 2016

    @ESPictures - The digital actor vid looks great! I could see a little more movement in the CG-you (for you that would be CG-me) perhaps a little sway or balance adjustment when the platform starts/stops moving. I find the pose uncomfortable- a little rigid looking although I know you're trying to match the CG-me with the CG-you so neither the CG-you or the CG-me are out of 'sync'............what now? How much control of the CG-me do you have?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @EsPictures Agree with everything said above, convincing match but we need a little reaction to the start/stop. That's going to be insane fun when you fill that video orb. 

  • I've been enjoying the course and picking up some new ideas, but I have to admit that it gets a bit tiresome to be listening to one lecture after another. The practical exercises are the best part. Hearing people talk about what they did is informative, but the videos showing the how to go with the why are the best.

  • The course was really great! I enjoyed working on the project files in Hitfilm and discussing problems, ideas, etc with other learners. 

  • edited March 2016

    The course was interesting and fun to do. On this last week I have enjoyed looking at others versions of the example project. Lots of interesting ideas.

    In fact in my new updated second version I ripped off @Andy001z and copied the alien weapon disintegration idea. I added the car guy just to kill him off. I used the lightsaber effect for the alien beam. You can probably use that for other things like tractor beams, transport beams, Star Trek phasers and who knows what else. It has a lot of control to make the beam lively and not static.



  • @StormyKnight It's a fully rigged for animation and morphable model. I used reference photos of myself in a program called facegen to mold the model to look exactly like me. I can morph it into anything from a vampire to a werewolf to the Hulk. It's basically a slightly less sophisticated version of the process that movies like the Avengers used to turn Ruffalo into the Hulk or do young Arnold in Terminator Genisys. Although I didn't laser scan my face to get every pore in there the way ILM or MPC would. Eventually, when I order a Perception Neuron motion capture suit in December, I'll be able to do full body motion capture, since the rig I use is compatible with it.

    For this week's exercise, rather than go with the zombie/post-apocalyptic theme, I decided to change it up a bit and go a little more sci-fi with an homage to Asimov & "I, Robot".



  • @NormanPCN nice work, why didn't I think of the light sword effect, I used the classic lightening effect, yours looks better, I like the little erase effect on the end of the guy disappearing what was that?

  • @Andy001z I used Atomic Particles, using the disperse property to disintegrate the layer/dude.

    The Lightsword effect could be used for a lot of beam like things and it it so "alive" and easy to use. It pays to think of some of Hitfilm effects as more generic even though they are obviously targeted towards something specific. I recently used the Hyperdrive effect in a way it certainly was never intended for. 

    I first tried using shatter to do that but in my first attempts I was not getting a look I liked. I was trying for a slow explosion/disintegration and have the parts lay on the ground briefly. The slow look was not what I wanted and I could not get the ground plane close enough. I should go back to shatter and see if I can get an interesting look.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @NormanPCN Particle sim might be your friend here. Take a look at this simple text dissolve. (project file in description.)


     Same basic technique, with a lot more particles... 



  • > I have to admit that it gets a bit tiresome to be listening to one lecture after another. 

    Yea, I think this was my only criticism as well.  The theory to practice ratio could have been slightly more skewed towards practice, especially in weeks three and four.  Week two had the best balance of doing stuff to hearing stuff, IMHO.

Sign In or Register to comment.