TUTORIAL: Advanced Sky Replacement

In this tutorial, learn how to replace a blown out sky with a nice sky image. You will also learn to create a procedural matte and perform position and rotation motion tracking.

UPDATE: Here is the footage

NOTE: This technique can also be used on blue skies as well. Instead of creating a matte, just use the Keylight plug-in instead.

July 16th, 2007 @ 7:46 am
first post! thx man!
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:47 am
very useful tutorial Thank you!
Scott bishop
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:51 am
Awesome mate!
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:53 am
I'll try to get the footage up later today. Nobody had to get hurt needlessly in this one. But don't think I didn't want to...
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:54 am
I always look forward to the beginning of the week: Tutorial day!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:57 am
Great work!
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:58 am
wooohooohooohooooo!!!!!! im so happy
oh and there's a new tutorial too... woooohooooooooooohoooooohooo!!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:58 am
Thx AK. I always try to be the first to post :(
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:58 am
Big thanks form Germay!!!
I love your work =D
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:02 am
You never know when I'll post it. I'm sneaky like that...
Who knows, we may even see a middle of the week tutorial... But when?
Some Guy
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:02 am
Thank you!
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:11 am
When is day to night tutorial coming out?
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:12 am
Simply Amazing..... I'm speechless
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:14 am
"Day to Night..."
Be patient. It will come out when it is good and ready ; )

I'm going to have start keeping my mouth shut. But it's so dang difficult.
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:23 am
nice one, definatly gonna use it
Some Guy
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:25 am
“Day to Night…”
Be patient. It will come out when it is good and ready ; )
-Andrew Kramer

Who knows, we may even see a middle of the week tutorial…
-Andrew Kramer

I’m going to have start keeping my mouth shut. But it’s so dang difficult.
-Andrew Kramer

July 16th, 2007 @ 8:27 am
If I knew this a month ago...It would had save me 3 days of work !!!
Just to tell you how your work (tutorials) is usefull !
Thanks !

July 16th, 2007 @ 8:29 am
clever. thanks again!
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:31 am
Thanks, looks great, and very useful :).

Btw, what was in the 'girl' composition? New hidden tutorial ;)?
Orc Master
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:34 am
I say it'll come out on Wednesday! :P

Wow, great stuff Andrew! That last thing in the command center will be real dang useful for creating artificial color light sources like those you simulated on the Blue Planet tut. Definately gonna increase the coolness of our films, thanks ;)

Now, I just ended up wondering something... WHERE ARE THE JOKES? :( Oh well, great tut anyways ;)

Maybe not Wednesday... Thursday?
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:39 am
thanks Andrew, that was nice tut :)
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:45 am
Wow Andrew!!!!

thnx 4da gr8 stuff, it helps a lot.
thnakyou once again

Warm Regards
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:46 am
Do you post your films anywhere for us to see?
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:55 am
no funny jokes in this ones :(
But still a great work! thx
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:58 am
Really sweet tutorial!
Really insighfull!

You are a true After Effects master!
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:59 am
You are such a tease. Thanks for the new tutorial :)
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:59 am
great stuff.
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:04 am
Awesome. Great job. This is something that down in Florida we don't see much, we usually got lots of clouds and such, but during the Winter, we get white white skies, so this will come in handy when we start filiming our short film in December.
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:05 am
Thank you Andrew! You made my day! I was so bored, but now I can watch something fun and productive at the same time. For everyone else,

July 16th, 2007 @ 9:16 am
Andrew is there a chance to see more of your own work? I've seen your reel many times and would like to see some new work ;)
Andrew Brinkhaus
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:16 am
Awesome new tutorial Andrew, I love this site, it keeps my AE knowledge keen. Thanks again!
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:22 am
Great superduper!! ;-) Not that hard, but great results!! Thanks thanks!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:25 am
Great Tutorial Andrew, Thanks for the sharing :)

What's the film you was working on ? Not the first time we see cops in your footage :p
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:30 am
Hi Andrew ;)

I always asking myself a question i hope you can answer it.
when and how Andrew handell all these stuff.... shooting... recordering .... family .... Baby ;)
i think it's too much organise.

thanx a lot Andrew for your great site.
i beleive in you never know when Andrew will post his new tutorial.

M@rco H@rtmann
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:37 am
Hi Andrew ,
THanks man for this one , could really use it!!! :-))
MMM wednesday .... ??? wednesday .......new one
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:41 am
Great tutorial.....Question for you. This is off the topic but you have said before your true passion is film making. What have you made, and is there anywhere we can go to look at your work? I am sure it would be a great help to all of us seeing the master at work.
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:42 am
Great use of the colorama tool!
Dustin James
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:44 am
Great stuff..

I like the color correction dilly at the end.. will be a huge help... specially when my Professor hoards the XL2....

Kyle Shields
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:57 am
Nice. Very usefull stuff there. I like at the end how you showed the neat trick to hide the grain on dark shots.
S. Gilbert
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:03 am
Thanx Andrew... you kick ass!
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:18 am
I can't belive you're still alive??? I thought ALL science nerds were taken by aliens???

loving ya work Drew...

from Australia... ; )
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:21 am
No jokes or stories!!!! One of the best aspects about your tutorials are there entertaining, maybe you felt serious the day you made it or something :P o and what was that girl comp i dont think your wife would like that ;)
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:28 am
Thanks men, great tutorial, just one question, what format (codec) is the footage for this tutorial ?

and last, do you know about the SheerVideo Codec? It's useful?

thanks Again
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:31 am
New tutorial- YAHTZEE!

and just in time for my massive CC work that involves sky replacement. Thanks!

Also, random workflow question for anyone running a Mac: I'm trying to get my FCP sequences into AE wihout buying automatic duck. There's a workflow hack that allows you to export an XML file, change it to a javascript and run it in AE, much like how auto duck works. However, my sequences never import right.

Does anyone have any suggestions/alternate methods of importing sequences? I'm on FCP 5.1.4/AE7. Thanks!
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:31 am
This is hands down the most useful tutorial you have done. I have been really struggling with advanced color correction in AE & this has opened a lot of mental doors for me. THANKS!

Any future color correction and compositing tips are always anticipated.
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:31 am
very nice!
Joris Strickx
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:38 am
Nice one again. And about the jokes. You guys aren't taking origami too serious i hope :D But they looked proud idd.
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:44 am
Thank you again, Andrew!
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:51 am
[quote] Pat Norman Says:

July 16th, 2007 at 10:31 am
New tutorial- YAHTZEE!

and just in time for my massive CC work that involves sky replacement. Thanks!

Also, random workflow question for anyone running a Mac: I’m trying to get my FCP sequences into AE wihout buying automatic duck. There’s a workflow hack that allows you to export an XML file, change it to a javascript and run it in AE, much like how auto duck works. However, my sequences never import right.

Does anyone have any suggestions/alternate methods of importing sequences? I’m on FCP 5.1.4/AE7. Thanks! [/quote]

yes, FFS, get off the crappy MAC...
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:51 am
So, I take it the guy at the end for color correction is the one shot that "mall security" busted you for?
July 16th, 2007 @ 11:17 am
Awesome job! Thanks.
July 16th, 2007 @ 11:20 am
I liked it a lot, but I think the trees would not hold up if this were on the big screen - they might be too transparent.

Also the last colour/crushing shadows was my favourite .30 seconds of the entire tutorial!
July 16th, 2007 @ 11:28 am
Great tutorial. Between VFX and Motion Graphics, the ones I really prefer are those that teach how to take an average shot and make it look awesome. Once again, stellar teaching Andrew.
July 16th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm
dude nice stuff. I dont know how you know all of this. LOL, maybe your the only guy here who read the manual. LOL, but dude seriously. Your so amazing. Hey if I sell any work having to do with after effects can I advertize your site by telling people who buy my stuff?
July 16th, 2007 @ 12:04 pm
hey andrew are you going to do a 50th annivesary tut. Like your 50th tut right. Make it something crazy, all your stuff is crazy but make it like ... super crazy.
July 16th, 2007 @ 12:12 pm
i agree with Clinton .... the 50th must be super crazy ;)
July 16th, 2007 @ 12:36 pm
Once again it's amazing!

Thanks Andrew, and the actors too!
July 16th, 2007 @ 12:45 pm
or he could just get Riot Gear in download session:D
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:21 pm
Thanks a lot.
you are the master

Gracias Amigo
Dustin James
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:23 pm
I got your Joke's..

and isn't the other guy the driver in your cruise control tutorial?
are they in advanced origami 301 cause I just joined 101.
Alexander Jansen
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:24 pm
Have you done anything to the clip before you used in the tut? Never seen such a white sky before!

Other than that, kudos on yet another sweet tutorial!
Christian Milembamane
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:34 pm
Félicitations !!!! (From Ottawa, Ontarion, CANADA)
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:41 pm
ChaRLeS x
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:42 pm
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:42 pm
oh.. just got it. :D
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:50 pm
geesh, will be using this knowledge very soon to enhance a upcoming project, thanks!
John Paite
July 16th, 2007 @ 1:52 pm
cery cery helpful..i think i will use it more on the last tip, color correction..and btw track matte arent boring at all Andrew, they are seriously useful to so much!! thx once again ...alott!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:21 pm
wow. you keep me on my toes. It blows my mind, how easily you blow my mind. I can't get enough of your tutorials. thanks a lot!
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:22 pm
Ok Andrew here's the deal. What happens if you dont have 2 good points within your shot to set your tracker? Check this out. This is a single shot from a trailer I just did and I'd love to add a new sky but where do I place my tracker points? As you can see from the screen grabs, there is never a good spot to do it. He eventually closes the trunk of the car. not sure how this will effect the overall sky replacement either. Thoughts?

July 16th, 2007 @ 2:27 pm
Is the camera moving that much? Mostly a shot from a trunk is nog the most shakiest thing.. If so, you could do it by hand..

But, maybe our AE guru can think of an other possibility, you never know ;).
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:27 pm
Excellent work, and thanks for not going at a snail's pace...some people who record tutorials are so slow...makes me feel like a retard (mentally challenged individual)!

p.s. I am very curious about the answer to the question above...
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:32 pm
it does not shake very much but it is handheld. i played around with it for a while before the Guru himself posted his tutorial. The first thing I noticed though, were those 2 tracking points that I did not have in my shot. pissed....:)
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

But what was in the girl comp in this tutorial? :-)
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:42 pm
Wow, thank so much Andrew ;) thats just toooooo dope! :)
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:48 pm
this tutorial is great and also very usefull. and it is exactly what i was looking for. thnx andrew.
July 16th, 2007 @ 2:55 pm
nice!!, thanks a lot AK!

Saludos desde Mexico!!
Some Guy
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:00 pm
A sky replacement shot needs to be planed before you shoot it. I've seen the video on your website. I thought when somebody (like Quentin Tarantino) makes a trunk shot, the camera is static, so that there are no movement. Your shot has a slight movement, but even if it didn't. It's hard (maybe even impossible) to key out the sky, when the guy has a t-shirt, that has almost the same color as the sky. With my (limited) knowledge I would say you have to do it by hand: draw a mask around the guy and animate it frame by frame. I hope there is an easier way to do this.
I also noticed that your camera automatically adjust the brightness of your image (I believe it's called "gain" in English but I'm not sure). Make sure that you switch it off (set it manually to 0), when you do a sky replacement shot. (I think when you do a movie it's better to take full control of your camera and adjust everything manually. This way you can achieve the best result. Of course there are some exceptions though.)
If it's only about this shot I would shoot it again with no camera movement and another t-shirt or with a greenscreen behind the actor.
Good luck!
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:12 pm
Holy Lord! AWESOME! ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! The thing you did with the color correction at the end with the cops... THAT'S AWESOME! Thanks so much!

Paul Del Vecchio - Director
Morten Enoksen
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm
The 50th tutorial could be like 20-30 minutes:D Involing every step in a big tutorial. Ex. How to create those super cool superhero effects(lol:P)
Or whatever comes to your mind! Cus every tutorial you have made, is a special one! Thanks From Norway Film-Makers :D
Dustin James
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:24 pm
@Some Guy

I think you're talking about the exposure.. that is what it's called in english...
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:49 pm
Andrew, thanks for the post. I've been struggling with this very topic. I WAS HAND KEYFRMAING A MASK!!!!!!

Tell me, do you ever trip over your superhero cape?
Rodrigo Rodrigues
July 16th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm
Thanks Kramer \o
From Brazil
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:09 pm
I have a question what if my sky is not white .can i still replace it.and forgive me if that sounds dum.
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:11 pm
hey andrew did you see your gift for your hard work .let me know man i need your openion it sucks or not ,i maen the portrait.
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm
I want to respond to a few of these, but by the time I'm done readding I forget...

Bones, you can possibly track the clouds in the BG. You don't always have to track a sharp point. You can also add some heavy contrast to the shot then precompose it. Then double click the comp and track the precomp...

THe shot is raw footage shot around 6pm, the exposure is high because the foreground people get very dark.

As for feature film compositing, certainly you would want to clean it up. I had a lightwrap tip that I cut for time...

I'm the sure teh 50th can be a good one.

As for the jokes, you can't try to funny it never works. I had a pretty killer headache when I recorded and my jokes would have been bad words...

"Dang freaking no good mother ... ... ... CHEESE!"

The first person to tell me what this line is from and who says it gets something cool...
No google!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:18 pm
Bullseye andrew! Another useful tutorial ;) Go on mate!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:20 pm
rookie of the year?
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:41 pm
James Woods!! Simpsons.
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm
Conor send me an email to info(at)videocopilot.net
Good work!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:44 pm
I hate it when you say you cut stuff out for time because everything you say is usefull!

Great tut. Looking forward to "THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK"

Is that the part of the movie from the 300 tut. It looks cool, i hope we get to see more.
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:44 pm
raging bull.
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:47 pm
never mind i dont watch the simpsons .they drive me crazy .
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:49 pm
Excellent Andrew... Thanks man!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:50 pm
Andrew can you tell me how do you think about my showreel? you can find it on the site i got in the profile :) Thx!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:55 pm
I haven't watch the simpsons since season 10 but there are just certain things that don't leave you.

Lorenzo, nice site! I love the riot gear with the little blue particles. Looks like the whole shot is 3D.

Clancy, just looked at the indiana jones. WOW!
July 16th, 2007 @ 4:58 pm
Thx for your appreciation Andrew, and thx a lot for the cool stuff you make for us!

...I'm looking for a job anyway...ahahah forget it ;)
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:04 pm
Love the reel Lorenzo!! Very well done!!

Awesome tutorial Andrew. I have to go shoot some footage now to mess around with!
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:07 pm
andrew when you shoot with the xl2 what setting you shoot with .and soon you will get the portrait on your wall iam still working on the color blending and shades.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:09 pm
Thx a lot Mind Drop Studios, i've wathced your youtube video's too and it's a cool expample of good using of Adrew tutorials....

...it's nice to chat live on a blog...too much off topic Andrew or we can go on? ;)
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:16 pm
here is the problem my sky is not white its blue so the pallet is making every thing black no white sky to work with.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:17 pm
clancy try to invert the matte or to use to invert the color in the ramp cycle....it should work
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:20 pm
Good reel lorenzo. That thing for ied is awesome, everything 3d animated.

Wouldnt it be awesome to be andrew's neighbour, he'd give you all his products for free and you could steal his dr.pepper and his tutorials. Not to mention you could borrow his JVC HD200 and his Sam loya and just beat the crap out of him.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:21 pm
but the problem iam not good as you guys i dont know how to do that.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:22 pm
Creative chat is always welcome here. I just don't want to get off in negative way like comparing lawnmowers to weedwackers.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:22 pm
Clancy, i guess all you can do is key it,
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:23 pm
when you use the "matted" shot to replace the sky try to play with the luma matte setting...try to use "inverted matte". Or use the arrow in the cycle of the colorama settings, rotate them until the black part change to white...

(sorry for my bad english..)
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:25 pm
what i like about this blog is it has good people and i hope it stays like that
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:26 pm
Excellent job once again Andrew. However, I noticed in your project window you have a girl.mov file in there. It's probably the dancing girls you mentioned in another tutorial. I'll tell you what, if you send me the Designer Sound Effects dvd, I will not let your wife know about this!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:30 pm
Waou ! this tutorial is great !
Thx to have made a tutorial more ... advanced !
Could that works with the contrast and the levels ?
May be it's more complicated...
>> http://www.saprod.fr
I need an opinion for the logo at the top. please.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:31 pm
thank you lorenzo for your help very kind of you .
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:33 pm
You're welcome clancy ;)
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:42 pm
I like your logo Mael, a little big maybe but this are just tastes :)
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:47 pm
The stuff about alpha mattes and tracking is NOT boring! that's exacty the kind of thing I need every day. Thanks!
Justin Productions
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:52 pm
Awesome tutorial there Andrew. Nothing else to say; that matte technique blew me away.

Blew me away.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:54 pm
@Lorenzo Di Rienzo
Your work is amazing. Very unique.
July 16th, 2007 @ 5:57 pm
Thank you roller....are you interested for a motiongrapher into your studio? :p
July 16th, 2007 @ 6:09 pm
Hey Andrew,

I'm seriously looking into purchasing a camera (like you used to use "Canon XL2). I want o start shooting my own footage and was wondering if you might consider a tutorial on actually shooting DV and tips to capture decent footage - especially for someone who has never done it - like me.
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:03 pm
Well I think that a weedwacker is- oh wait.....almost forgot.

Thanks Lorenzo. Do you have a youtube page? In the part where the designs get "painted" on the wall, did you matchmove it, or just eyeball it?
Jack McKinney
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

I don't want to post it here because I think it's bad etiquette to plug someone else's product on a tutorial site, but I can point you in the direction of a very basic but quite good how-to-shoot video if you're interested. You can email me at grayhammond@yahoo.com.

Andrew, if you would rather we not discuss this sort of thing here, let me know and I'll shut up forthwith. And let me chime in with the other to say 'Great tutorial'. That's a really clever way to generate a sky matte very quickly. Kudos as usual.

July 16th, 2007 @ 7:25 pm
I don't mind you sharing good info. Especially when it is relevant to the discussion.
Dustin James
July 16th, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

I want to know how to do some of those messed up tv looks and some of those motion gfx..

I would love it if you could email me some kind of tips.. or something...

July 16th, 2007 @ 8:01 pm
great tutor as usual very insight full and direct thanks again for taking the time out to help us and our path as a multimedia artist.
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:13 pm
AWESOME ANDREW! Your the best.
You know... I sometimes use your tutorials as rewards in my break times to keep me working hard and fast in my work times. Believe it or not! =)
Thanks heaps!
John Paite
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:21 pm
@ Mind Drop - I just saw ur match move in 3d max good job..Im starting to pick up 3dmax now i have 8 and am upgrading to 9 and my boujou is version 3 does that matched?? anyways is it hard to use..im such a noob at this lolz...thx tho!!
July 16th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm
Nice Tut as always , but man, Lorenzo. Impressive and very unique work. I can't believe you have a hard time getting jobs or hired. I've seen alot lamer reels getting people jobs here in LA.
Paul DeLap
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:00 pm
You are a god!
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:03 pm
Hey Andy Candy.

(That's copyrighted, so don't even think of stealing it.)

I was wondering if you were interested in opening up a 'forums' section of Video CoPilot. I think it would be totally radical having an open where all your fans and other visual effects artists can chat and post away. I know you will probably just say 'Well, Kenji, why not just click your little fingers over to the Creative Cow forums?' and I will respond that I feel there is a special and concentrated breed of people that leave comments on this blog, that are interesting in more specific niches than creative cow's forums. Also, those forums seem all boring and such. I just cant handle plain text with every reply dangling out after it in line. :(

Anyhow, I digress.

Just wondering if you were planning on forums, and also, what was the price on the new JVC camera that you got? And have you sold your XL2 or are you planning on selling it? :P
Jeff (NoodleMaps)
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:40 pm
Love this practical tut sir. Also love the other one, but I can see myself using this one on a more day to day basis. Please don't stop doing the gfx tuts, not that I would expect you to, but more of the vfx tuts are definitely welcome in my book. Using colorama was a real eye opener here. Thanks for that. I will be referencing this one many times in the future.

What is on the Girl timeline?
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:40 pm
well you know i agree with Kenjamin.. i have been talking about forums since i got here..

BTW: nice tut.. this is very handy for lost of things..
July 16th, 2007 @ 9:45 pm
@ John Paite:

Thanks! I am using Boujou 4, and 3ds max-9, although I would rather be importing my camera solves into aftereffects because I don't know 3ds max well at all. the camera tracking and solving is actually fairly easy, it's just using that data is more difficult. I am much more used to compositing, and I don't know how to do a lot of the 3d modeling. I can matchmove the cg no problem, but I need a good 3d modeler to create a good shaded model that is reflectively mapped to the environment. Anyone want to help?

@ Andrew: Speaking of matchmoving, if you want to make me one of the happiest people in the world you could do a matchmoving tut.
July 16th, 2007 @ 10:46 pm
Great work Andrew!

Thanks for taking it into great consideration!
July 16th, 2007 @ 11:11 pm
Большое спасибо! У тебя суперские уроки!
July 16th, 2007 @ 11:19 pm
John Paite
July 17th, 2007 @ 12:09 am
Thanks alot Mind Drop, which one would u guys recommend? syntheyes or boujou for camera tracking?? Andrew any idea and opinion??
Alexander Gao
July 17th, 2007 @ 12:12 am
Hi Andrew,
I have always just used a luma key with perhaps a simple choker to replace blown-out skies. This is one more method of getting to similar results, but I like this because it provides a little more control. Thanks for the tutorial.

July 17th, 2007 @ 12:22 am
I have Boujou, Realviz Matchmover, and syntheyes. Boujou is the best and most intuitive in my opinion. It also has the most online resources of the three. But it is expensive. ($9500) I think that you can download a trial though.
July 17th, 2007 @ 12:39 am
Cool blog Andrew! Wish i would've found it sooner. Also cool to see your in the Temecula area. I'm just south of you, in Escondido.

John Paite. I guess it would depend on your budget. As Boujou costs in the thousands and Syntheyes is a few hundred dollars. Boujou has a deeper tool set from what i've read, but Syntheyes can get the job done.

John Paite
July 17th, 2007 @ 1:15 am
ohh i dont want to sound like a snob but money is not really an issue( it wont come out from my pocket :) ) .. so I went and downloaded the trial, i played around with it, and everything went well until i did the camera smooth tracker, its seriously taking such a long time like for 200 frames it was abt to take like 5 hrs, tracking 8 points ...did i do something wrong? is it normal? whats the system requirement that is required..I have opengl video card, RAM 1.5 Gb etc??
@Mind Drop - online resources like online tutorial? any video tuts??
John Paite
July 17th, 2007 @ 1:29 am
sorry to repost this but i went to their site and downloaded the tutorial 1 with the project file and everything and when i track motion with the provided img sequence, the tracking finish in like no time ...previously i was tracking an avi file...i dont know what is going on?? and also how do i use the tutorial when i load the second one it says no source image founded and then when i load the first one just the img sequences appeared once again im lost..lolz
@ Andrew - Sorry I have to discuss it here somethng not related to ur tutorial..dont know anywhere else to ask...my apologies!!
July 17th, 2007 @ 2:12 am
cool thanks
July 17th, 2007 @ 2:38 am
Andrew, great tuto.....
1-you use 1 point with the motion travker on your first tuto and 2 points in this tutorial, why?
2-where can i find the "MATTE choker" plugin ?

Thank you so much man!
July 17th, 2007 @ 2:59 am
He uses 2 tracking points because he also want to track rotation ;).
For the matte choker plugin, have you already try to search in in the little effects in presets box on the right by typing in 'matte' or something?
July 17th, 2007 @ 3:00 am
woops, post above is full of typos, what I meant to say:
He uses 2 tracking points because he also want to track rotation ;) .
For the matte choker plugin, have you already tried to search in in the little effects and presets box on the right by typing in ‘matte’ or something like that?
John Paite
July 17th, 2007 @ 3:29 am
@newlc - matte choker, isnt it a standard effect for ae? came with the standard effect for me as always from 6.5-7.0 to cs3!
July 17th, 2007 @ 3:50 am
Thx Andrew !!! :)
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:00 am
hi. wen i invert the second layer its ment to go opayic but on my one it gos black! do u no how to solve this ? im working on 6.5 it wud be gr8 if u cud get back to me thanks theo. :)
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:09 am
Thanks again. Please keep up the great work. As usual I learnt extra things from the tuts, in this cae how to create an infra red look with colorama!
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:51 am
@John Paite, may be this standart effect doesn't exist in French version
whatever, boris propose this effect in "BCC MATTE choker" is it the same effect???

thx all
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:05 am
@ Dustin James :

I'll write down an email to you as soon as possible :)

@ wally :

I've just graduated and here in italy motiongraphics is not so followes as abroad is...so i'm lookin for a nice job around the world :)

Anyway, thx a lot all of you for the appreciations :)
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:06 am
@John Paite, yeeeeeeeeeeeah i find the effect, in french version!!! thx ya man!!
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:24 am
Hey andrew, i loved this tutorial, it was alot better and gave me some great ideas and theory of better ways to matte certain things, great tutorial man!

also this is a bit offtopic but i decided to try keying with keylight so i did the cruise control tutorial on your DVD and also threw in sam loya dancing in the middle of the street at the end, using only the videos included in the tutorial ofcourse, if you want to see it ill email you a link, personally i think it looks funny but its a subtle dancing effect cuz i couldnt track the background properly, so i just hand animated him in
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:28 am
I had a look at your site, and I like your work :) Congrats :D
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:33 am
@ Marc.B

Thx a lot mate
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:39 am
Great things in this tutorial (I thought it was boring ^^) !
Very .. very good idea to crush black shadows; it looks to be a good deal to darken the light of a scene like that. Colorama is definitely a great effect ! This can't be ....

Will - France
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:39 am
Thx Lorenzo for my logo. It used to be bigger but the 56k protested.
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:42 am
@ Mael

I intended that your logo is a little too big for my tastes, not viceversa :)

Go for adsl Mael :)
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:42 am
wow, what a huge videocopilot community.
andrew, you really need a videocopilot t-shirt section in your shop. :-D
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:47 am
@ Lorenzo:

You should message me through my youtube account so we don't cramp Andrew's style with off-topic stuff. :)

Although if he were to make a matchmoving tutorial it wouldn't be unrelated.... Hint....Hint.....
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:54 am
Sorry that last comment was supposed to be to John paite. i was watching Lorenzos video while I was typing. Very good work!
July 17th, 2007 @ 6:08 am
Excellent tutorial Andrew Kramer!!!!

For, Andrew Krame:
coming soon Tutorial realistic Rain????
July 17th, 2007 @ 7:05 am
Thanks. I've learned a lot from the site. Thank you Andrew. Hoping to see a lot more great tutorial from you.
July 17th, 2007 @ 7:36 am
Andrew, what a great tutorial, as always. Your tuts is most useful IMHO, i prefer it to Lynda's and some others, because its all real world projects and techniques. I learning AE right now (Sela Youniversity, Israel) and i recommend your site to co-learners as the best AE resource over a whoole web, with plenty of great free tutorials and good priced stock footage (again, best stock i seen).
Thanks a million and keep up a good work!
July 17th, 2007 @ 7:46 am
That t-shirt idea peter is not so bad. If you had a gift shop i would so buy t-shirts and all that crap!

Ever since you got out DSFX the site is just going crazy!

PS: next time you get out a new product, have a countdown so i can stare at my screen all day without working
July 17th, 2007 @ 7:57 am
Sorry, Lorenzo ^^
I'm french, i don't read english as well as french :p
July 17th, 2007 @ 8:55 am
Hi there, I have been following your tutorials on many websites, including this one and I have found them a great resource. What’s great about them, is that you explain your thinking, kind of showing how you have to program your self to think. This has allowed me to take your tutorials and really improve on them. Take for example this sky replacement. I remember you first version of this with a bike jumping over a hill. This way is much better and has a much better way of keying things.

I found a really great way to add even more control the sky….
not all of us have stock footage of they sky, especially if you editing in winter, and you cant go out an shoot any.
So I have often found my self resorting to finding still pictures to replace the sky, this was at first a bit of a pitfall but then I realized this actually gave me greater control….let me explain…..

I found that some times, in some scenes were I had problems were they were very windy and yet sunny. I found the still sky just didn’t work…why…the clouds weren’t moving. using a still I could animate it to suite the scene.

This is how….
Fist take your still of the clouds, and place them in there own comp (make sure this comp is as long as you final scene!! (Call it clouds if you like)

I find the pictures are often shot at the wrong perspective to the scene you want to place them in, I find that if you squish them vertically this solves the perspective problem.

The picture ideally needs to be bigger than your comp, but you can get away with a slightly smaller picture and enlarging.

Next apply effect- Distort- Transform

Set the anchor point to just below the comp, you may need to re position the sky to get it back in the centre

Change the Skew axis to 90 and hit the stop watch on ‘Skew’ while at the beginning of the time line.

Then move the skew to a value of -10 at the begging and + 10 at the end (you can change these fingers depending on how fast you want the sky to move)

Ok… so if you look at the sky the closest clouds will be moving faster and the clouds far away will be moving slower. were nearly there.

Now they still look like a still, so add color correction and change them to better suit your scene. (effect – color correction - color balance)

Pictures of clouds, are often sharp as the person taking them probably was focused on them. To get round this we add a blur, imitating the depth of focus of the scene.
(effect – blur - lens blur) tweak to your needs (remember you can lock the effects and control them in the main comp later for fine tuning.

One last step

Still look a little clean? that’s because there isn’t that inherent video noise. So you just need to add some noise to match it up with the source.

Your done, you have some animated clouds that you have full control over. Now you can use the comp just as the clouds layer in Andrews tutorial

Thanks again!!!

p.s i wrote this in a rush, sorry sorry for any errors
July 17th, 2007 @ 8:56 am
Nice. Very useful way to get some alpha channels
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

you can of as make the cloud layer a 3D layers and use real perspective, i'm still playing with this, i;m already thinking of lots of ways of doing this....for example you can make the clouds out of fractal noise, and duplicate the layer to act as the shadow of the clouds on the ground......i think I'm going to go home a play with this more... thats what i love about after effects so many ways of doing things.... thanks for inspiring me.....
ChaRLeS x
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:03 am
the tut is very useful, but, can anyone tell me, how can i make the clouds move ?? like in this video, http://youtube.com/watch?v=zc4PEyRCkmw, tnx.

Lorenzo... i like very much your work, thats the kind of things i want to know to do, impresive. can u put a tut section in your page?
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:15 am
@ Charles

I'd like to open a tutorial section but nowaday i got not so much time to spend with it, but if you write me a mail i could answer, where possibile, to your questions. I got also some useful links to inspire yourself.

Let me know :)
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:18 am
Adrew, te felicito por tu trabajo, es excelente, te has vuelto uno de mis gurús, saludos desde México.
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:27 am
ChaRLeS x:

Use a video instead of a still image as your cloud layer.
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:30 am

If you're still reading this after 160+ comments, can I persuade you to have a 42.5 tutorial where you finish your thought on the light wrap? I think it would be super valuable to go along with the matte technique. Beggars can't be choosers of course... but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. :)


p.s. ChaRLeS x, I once did that by applying the corner pin effect to the clouds, stretching the top pins out greatly from the center (giving perspective) and animating the top points right to left (to get the sensation that the clouds were moving right to left, again in perspective).
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:33 am
Thanks for the tutorial dude, it looks great.
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:53 am
@ChaRLeS x

The rjf technique could work but the best to archieve that effects sould be using a stock video footage of a sky (i've discovered the America ehehe) :P
Travis McRae
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:57 am
I love this site so many helpful hints andkeep it up andrew i would be no where in ae without you. im only in high school and hopefully gonna open up a studio like alot of the guys in here. do you guys have any tips for me, cameras i should buy that kind of stuff. im working on a promo trailer now. if you guys have any tips let me know(includingyou andrew) lol
thx guys
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:23 am
Nice clips Lorenzo ... really impressive ! Could you write down those "inspire links" that you´ve mentioned ;)
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:38 am
@ Port

Write me down an email, i think it's not correct to post' em here
Moca MX
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:52 am
Great tut Andrew!
Now next tut is BULLET!!
i know i am boring
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:56 am
Lorenzo Di Rienzo - i impressed by your work. Tell me please if i also can email you.
July 17th, 2007 @ 11:05 am
Thats a rather ingenious way of creating your matte for the clip. I was wondering, when you are shooting the footage are you intentionally blowing out the sky to try and get it as even toned as possible? It seems like this wouldn't work at well for matting the scene otherwise.
July 17th, 2007 @ 11:21 am
2 Lorenzo:
thats probably right
mail : PorT_99@centrum.cz - thx
Derrick van Niekerk
July 17th, 2007 @ 11:49 am
Man this is an awesome tutorial.

It has usefull methods for pulling off many things!


July 17th, 2007 @ 12:13 pm
Very useful for enhancing footage!

July 17th, 2007 @ 12:15 pm
It is getting nicer, better en also bigger the tuts of Andrew. Awesome Job. Its now the sfx time, thats great, can't wait to see that! but next, maybe you can show us some tuts about dynamic/advanced animations? I know AE has some nice feature build in as velocity's, decay's etc..
July 17th, 2007 @ 12:22 pm
Great work on your tutorials!! Easy to follow along and clearly spoken. I look forward to many more. Thanks
July 17th, 2007 @ 12:45 pm
Is it me or does the main pic for the Advance Sky Replacement on the Tutorial page make you think of "Stand By Me"? And if so, is Sam playing the role of Corey Feldman?
Zach B.
July 17th, 2007 @ 1:22 pm
Great tutorial, Andrew, like always. Love te different ways to make different skies, and the color correction was just great.

July 17th, 2007 @ 2:10 pm
(Singing) "Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man A knight without armor in a savage land."
July 17th, 2007 @ 2:19 pm
Hey, a quick question to Andy Candy (©2007 Kenjamin Industries).

About a job in the VFX field, as far as you know about the hiring practices in the field, would a company hire strictly based on education most of the time over a great portfolio, or would they rather see an awesome portfolio and just not worry about the degree?
Some Guy
July 17th, 2007 @ 2:33 pm
@Andrew Kramer: "I had a lightwrap tip that I cut for time…"
Can you describe it here in the comments?
Why are you cutting stuff? For time? Do you say "Well, this one is gonna be 17 minutes, 24 seconds and 3 frames"? I can watch hours of your tutorials, because they really help me and other people in the world. I heard they even cure cancer. So, why cutting something that help people? Please don't cut anymore. Or at least don't say us that you did it... This knowledge cause headache.
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

Richard Boone played the man called "Paladin"
Have gun Will travel!
CBS 1957.
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:15 pm
Yeah, I'm quite curious about said lightwrap tip as well
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:35 pm
Could you please upload the project files, ive been checking every 2 minutes to see if ther up would be a big help :P

p.s thanks for giving us these great tutorials and taking time out of your daily routine for us :D
July 17th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

Loove your tuts, Andrew! Every tutorial is just super! Higlight of the week!

btw, what do you guys think of this?


(ye, i know i forgot to make a fake shadow..)
July 17th, 2007 @ 5:46 pm
@ some guy

we could all watch hours of andrews tutorials, even if he kept saying irrelevent things, but the thing is it takes him so much more longer, to render out the final results, to export the tutorial(it takes almost as long as it actually is), to upload the tutorial etc.

keeping tutorials short and to the point is the way to go, that way less time is wasted when it comes to getting it up on the site
July 17th, 2007 @ 8:07 pm
THANK YOU SO MUCH Andrew!!!! great tutorial and reli helped me alot.

really needed the track motion thing! thankz
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:13 pm
hahahaha surely they are very proud to know origami.

you rule men, wish i have time to do this stuff.
July 17th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm
Question: can you obtain a "tighter" faked dof using the lense blur within an adjustment layer + colorama/luma matte trick as your depth matte instead of your handy-dandy ramp(I still use that lovely trick to fake people out)...haven't tried it yet but was wondering if this is possible. BTW, would love more dvd tutorials on anything, especially some advanced 3d! Keep up the killer work!
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:11 pm
it is awsome work. keep it up.
please show the tutorial how to clone one person to many
July 17th, 2007 @ 10:11 pm
Nice Tut ! I was expecting something like this for ages :) i was dreaming about it, Andrew did it !
July 17th, 2007 @ 11:32 pm
hey what 's up everybody!
where can i find thd "keying plugin" for realise the tuto number 10

Thx guys!

i prepare a videoclip ....
July 17th, 2007 @ 11:33 pm
oops a mmean "keylight" exactly!!!
John Paite
July 18th, 2007 @ 12:28 am
@ Sassy if u shoot ur actors infrnt of greenscreen, maybe around 10 actors, u can easily increase their number to how many u want 200-2000 u call it..using particular..I can sent u a brief tutorial write me and email johnpaite@gmail[dot]com
July 18th, 2007 @ 12:52 am
Andrew, please solve the mystery of the "GIRL" compostion in your tutorial :)
July 18th, 2007 @ 3:53 am
Check out the Deleted Scenes for that answer...
July 18th, 2007 @ 9:52 am
Hi,Andrew.I have a little question that,If I add a wiggle expression for a camera,how could I take control the value? Seems camera can't get a Experession control.
July 18th, 2007 @ 10:43 am
You know just do like the slider control or somthing similar.
July 18th, 2007 @ 11:32 am
Sky Replacement is not that big of a deal, but nice use of colorama!
especially for advanced color correction!
July 18th, 2007 @ 12:03 pm
Excuse me,but I already work that out.The dang Null object.Thanks what ever..............
July 18th, 2007 @ 1:25 pm
cool men, many thanks
John Hannan
July 18th, 2007 @ 1:54 pm
Wow!! I loved your first sky replacement tutorial but always had trouble fixing the edges. This tutorial was awesome and now i am able to use your cool "real cloud" footage and have it look great.

I also enjoyed the extra tutorials on color correction, very useful!!

Thank you!
July 18th, 2007 @ 5:54 pm
andrew no matter what i do even am doing exactly what you doing i cant get to make the sky white and the rest black and on the 2 footage i cant find the luma matte thing to change it .whats going on ami a butthead or what.
July 18th, 2007 @ 6:10 pm
any one here
Paulo Mateus
July 19th, 2007 @ 3:18 am
Another great tutorial, thanks from Portugal.
Joao Paulo Monari
July 19th, 2007 @ 7:34 am
VEry Very Great Man...I am a big Fan from Brazil.....=)

July 19th, 2007 @ 7:35 am
Okay! definitly great tutorial and perfect result

But own me delete the sky on the original video? we do that frame by frame? :s :D

Okay i'm a noob.
July 19th, 2007 @ 9:04 am
Great's job again ;)
Thanks from the belgium ;)
July 19th, 2007 @ 4:54 pm
thank you Andrew... good stuff ;)

nice color effects wow

keep it up more turtorials

cool CS3 ;)
July 19th, 2007 @ 4:57 pm
hey Andrew can you show us the basics of the green screen effects ...i want to get a green screen :) but not sure how to use it
July 20th, 2007 @ 4:07 am
Да, классная работа. Жаль что скачать нельзя, приходится каждый раз смотреть заново, а это дополнительные затраты интернет трафика :-)
July 20th, 2007 @ 9:27 am
hey andrew, great tutorial, thanks from Italy ;)
I was wondering how it could works on footage with a movement of the camera from left to right, and to add a reflection of the new sky on the windows of a building in the background of the footage.

Thanks again ;)
July 20th, 2007 @ 5:49 pm
Hello all
i just have a little question, do anyone of you guys know if this camera is totally useless for playing around with AE n' suff? http://www.pixmania.com/dk/dk/544201/art/jvc/videokamera-minidv-gr-d76.html?itag=5891#

Cuz i dont have alot of money, but i really wanna get started with creating something.

And the reason im asking here, is that i dont know anything a abou camera specs :P

Cheers guys
July 20th, 2007 @ 7:10 pm
I would reccomend the Canon HV20... $1000
July 24th, 2007 @ 12:23 pm
No Camera is totally useless, Andrews right in saying a 3ccd camera is better. (3ccd pick up better colors, less blocky edges) but if that's all you can afford then thats fine.

My suggestion is find some prosumer cameras and do some research on some older models. DVX 100A is a good example of an older one with some problems but is fairly cheap on Ebay. Try researching a few and checking ebay. Make sure you pick from a great buyer when buying camera.

good luck!
July 27th, 2007 @ 2:04 am
Great tut man, thanx from Mexico. However I've got a problem, for some reason AE won't let me apply the track info to the null object :( it's there in the drop down list but won't let me select it (its grey). Help... anybody?
Some Other Guy
July 31st, 2007 @ 11:16 am
When is the footage coming ???
July 31st, 2007 @ 11:17 am
It's in the blog entry.
Some Other Guy
July 31st, 2007 @ 11:23 am
there it is, dident notice it :-)
August 1st, 2007 @ 9:18 pm
me parece un tutorial fantastico, como siempre asombrando a la gente, gracias por enseñar tus conocimientos andrew... really awesome, thanks
August 2nd, 2007 @ 5:10 am
Awesome. Been trying to work out how to do this (mostly with keying) with no great luck.

Thanks man! Keep up the good work.
August 7th, 2007 @ 7:02 am
andrew's tuts don't cure cancer... only chuck norris can do that. but, AK's tutorials do clear chuck norris' sinuses. that's how badass they are.
August 9th, 2007 @ 4:10 pm
hey andrew....i used your sky prelacement tutorial for these halloween prop videos that i was doing for this costume shop...

and a problem that i ran into when creating the matte from using the colorama plugin was bringing back in some of the highlights in the subject. essentially, there will be some bright spots on the actual subject, and when the subjects are stationary, it's not a problem i just use masks to bring back the highlights, but when the subjects are moving, I don't want to have to rotoscope highlights back in if i don't have to.

i'm not sure how clear or unclear i'm being, so if you need more clarification, let me know.

all the best,

August 15th, 2007 @ 8:01 am
What sould I do if the sky isn't completely white in my shot?
August 24th, 2007 @ 4:05 pm
Pretty cool trick to do sky replacement. Do you have a project file, because I can't get lucky enough to have a day with a nice solid color sky.
August 30th, 2007 @ 6:43 pm
I love Andrew Kramer
September 12th, 2007 @ 1:15 am
hey andrew, is it possible to save your tutorial to my computer? just wondering cuz i use my laptop for editing sometimes and its not hooked to the internet. wanted to download some of them and put them on it.
September 13th, 2007 @ 2:28 pm
Nice work. I am amazed time and again at the weird uses of Colorama and how it is used in such unexpected ways. I would have used levels to create the matte, but your method is so much more elegant.
November 22nd, 2010 @ 2:34 pm
I have used this technique so many times. This was the first exposure I had to track mattes.
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