Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Abduction Shot

I didn't create a video breakdown for the shot where my actor is consumed by the insect swarm, as the composition was fairly simple. I keyed out my actor using 'Keylight 1.2' in after effects. I adjusted the settings, previewing the alpha channel created and adjusting the black and white balance to fully isolate my actor. I then added a simple matte chocker for crisp clean edges. For continuity, I used a plate shot where the two actors who had who began sprinting toward the actor in the previous shot pass by behind the pop out green screen area. As both the back plate and actor were shot outside on location, the lighting was very natural and seamless between both shots, meaning I didn't make to many adjustments.

I followed this tutorial to create my insect swarm using the 'Trapcode Particular' After Effects plugin:

For the amended shot, I wanted the insect swarm to be more intense, so I upped the particles generated to around 50,000. I also removed the sharp fade to zero opacity, leaving the insect swarm lingering after the actor has vanished. I applied a similar fade out to the one I used for my concept art motion graphic. This involved adding a black solid layer the size of the composition, and adjusting its opacity from 0 to 100%. I gave the swarm a purple glow like the pattern on the ominous looming UFO. The actor vanishes using the 'CC Scatter' plugin. I wanted quite an explosive and dramatic scatter, so I upped the values quite high. On top of this I added a brief flash. This was created giving a bright solid layer a mask with a high feather value. I used the 'add' blend mode a nice subtle dodge effect. The flash is very instantaneous, but adds to full dramatic effect of the insect swarm impacting and breaking him down into tiny molecules. Here is finished shot:

Unfortunately, the new scale of the scattering particles meant that some of the edges of the moving bounding box were visible inside the composition. I tried upping the size of the layer in the layer properties menu but this completely threw the whole layer to the very top corner of the composition. I had to manually scale up the layer ever so slightly, which in doing so slightly scaled up the particles, loosing a little bit of resolution. This isn't too noticeable, but it is worth mentioning that I understand I have lost some image quality through doing so.

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