Set Extensions Footage Online!

After all the exciting announcement for our new Plug-in Element, I forgot to let everyone know, that the stock footage from our recent Set Extensions Tutorials is now online at no charge! Should be perfect to follow along with the tutorial and practice these techniques. The footage is half-hd at 960 x 540 with no watermark thanks to Artbeats.com so if you are looking for a new shot for a project you may working on, check out some of the clips they have, some are even in Stereo 3D.

In the download, I’ve also included, the matte painting PSD file, the smoke/cloud element, the BG sky image and the roto-matte for the front mountains, just in case you don’t want to practice rotoscopting and work on the look.

Watch tutorial and download project files here

Anouncing New Plug-in: Element

Hey what’s up! It may be Wednesday but I’m excited to share some details about a new Video Copilot plug-in called Element. Formally Code-named Atom, like a secret agent, the new plug-in Element is a 3D geometry-based particle style plug-in for After Effects with many powerful features. I’m working on a demonstration soon that should answer a lot of questions and explain how the plug-in works in detail. Be sure to check out the mini-poster for a list of features that will be available.

All four images were created with Element inside of After Effects.

Mini-Poster with Features


NEW TUTORIAL: 3D Set Extensions

In this exciting and detailed tutorial we will transform ordinary stock footage into an evil landscape with 3D fog and mountains. We will cover 3D match moving inside of After Effects using the new Camera Tracker plug-in as well as Particular to create the soft clouds. I know it has been a while since I’ve done a tutorial so I tried to make this one as detailed as possible including many gritty details.

I do my best not to use 3rd party tools as much as possible as you probably know from watching the last 100 tutorials but for this tutorial we needed to generate a 3D camera for the clouds so I used the most inexpensive full featured 3D tracking software around called Camera Tracker. As we get into some more advanced tutorials over the next couple of months we may have to use one or two third party tools but I’ll do my best to keep it to a minimum and only when absolutely necessary! Until then.

Watch Sample Video

Watch Tutorial

More Set Extensions

This is going to be a fun week! I started playing around with an Aerial shot from Artbeats.com and decided it needed a castle on the coast along with a sky replacement and a moon.

If you watch the video, you can see that parts of the castle show up behind the cliffs and on the left side, there is a small part of the castle on the far mountain that parallaxes with the main castle to make it feel more three dimensional. This comp plays-off the same ideas of the 3D set extensions tutorial coming out this week. Stay tuned for shot breakdowns and more fun tips!

Watch Sample Video

Core Skills of VFX

Well, if ever there was a companion to the hands-on approach of Video Copilot, it could be this Hand Book designed to improve the skills of upcoming artists.

At Video Copilot, our philosophy is teach with hands-on experience of doing real-world projects. We start with a specific objective like a sky-replacement or car-hit effect and work through the various challenges as they come up, in real-time. We think it is a great way to learn software and understand the concepts of compositing by applying them to real-world scenarios. It is one thing to talk about a ‘track-matte’ but it’s another thing to see how it is used to solve a real problem.

In fact, our upcoming Crystal Ball promo represents a new level of training for Video Copilot because we focused on making a “real” production and intentionally pushed the limits of what might normally go into a standard video tutorial. Not to say that we made lousy rubbish in the past but for this project we are using an actual commercial to drive our visual effects needs. In other words, we didn’t just throw together a single shot for the sake of making a tutorial, but instead we made a real promo with real challenges that required comprehensive solutions. And these solutions should be quite informative as tutorials and tips. BTW, I’m not saying the new video will be good, only that we tried to make it less crummy than usual!

Now where was I? Oh yeah, the VFX handbook!! What I like about this handbook is that it covers subjects and concepts that are important to growing your knowledge and aptitude of the VFX industry beyond the focus of a single tutorial to give you a larger scope for the future. It is also organized nicely into modules that focus on different areas of post production to make it easy to follow. I encourage everyone to read it and let’s all improve our skills together.

PS, Disclaimer, it was sponsored by the UK government, but luckily this version is in English! … Kidding of course… I just have to be careful with my sarcasm, I still have people remind me that the movie with Will Smith, where he tries to find a cure for a zombie infection is not called Independence Day.

Apparently it is called Men in black. Tutorial Reference

Click Here to Checkout The VFX Handbook

New Plug-in and LA Presentation

If you are going to be in LA on Tuesday June 21st, I’ll be doing a presentation at the DMALA user group and you should come check it out! We are going to be taking a look a couple of upcoming plug-ins including Optical Flares for Nuke and our all new tool for After Effects that you may have heard by it’s codename : Atom.

It’s a new plug-in, and it does some cool stuff.

Of course, I’ll follow it up on the website with some feature demos and a release date.

Sign up now to get a ticket for the presentation! And follow us on Twitter for info and updates. @videocopilot