What Is VFX ?
VFX is a word used to describe a imagery/video created, altered or enhanced for a film or another moving media. VFX basically allows you to create imagery of certain environments or objects that would be otherwise impossible or dangerous.
Stranger Things Intro Task
To create my replica of the Stranger Things Intro I started by choosing the right colour (red) and the right font which was called Avant Garde. Avant Garde is a serif font which creates a curious and mythic atmosphere. I also added the glow on the red to make it look more accurate to the real life intro. To make this title sequence I mainly used Keyframes, which are frames that hold information for example the position or scale of an object during a certain frame. Software’s like After Effects can then use these to fill in the rest of the frames in between. I used keyframes by working backwards from the complete intro final image, I moved the letters of the screen at different frames in different directions so they wouldn’t all come in and once. I also used keyframes for the bars that appear above and next to the title.
Brooklyn 99 Intro Task
To make this Brooklyn 99 intro I first had to record some footage using my phone which I then emailed to myself so that I could import it into After Effects. Once I put it in After Effects I began rotoscoping out the character from the background by using the pen tool to draw a mask around the parts I wanted to keep and cut out. After I masked it I added a colour filter to the background layer to help the character stand out and also to make it look more like a real Brooklyn 99 intro sequence. Finally I animated in the bar and text using keyframes and used a playhead on the frame where the character turns around and faces the camera to freeze that frame while the bar and text come up.
Green Screen Task
For the green screen task I found some online footage of a actor standing in front of a greenscreen and I imported it into After Effects. Once I had the footage in After Effects I clicked on add effect, keying and keylight and used it to pipette the green. I then found a random image on the internet and mixed it in with the greenscreen video. I then added adjustment layers which I added weather fx’s to so that I could have the rain and lightning effects in the image below. Finally I added some colour correction to the video so that the actor looked like he was actually in the background behind him.
VFX Invasion Project
The first thing I did was create a production schedule so that I would know what I was doing as well as in what order and how long I had to do it so that I could get everything completed in time.
For my short narrative I just wrote down some ideas so that I knew what the story of my VFX video would be.
I then created a story board in which I drew what each important frame/scene would look like as well as the effects, sound and camera placement that would be used during the frame.
After my story board I created a quick equipment list so that I was aware of what I would need for the rest of the project.
I then had to create a risk assessment for health and safety reasons in which I labelled the risks and how to combat them.
I recorded two different 12 seconds videos using my phone with one being the front of the college and the other in a random place. While getting my footage I realised I would have to record while it was quite bright otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to see anything in the final video. To get the two videos on my computer I emailed them to myself so that I could put them into after effects at a later time.
Finding & Animating My 3D Model
To find my UFO 3D model I used a website called The Models Resource. After I had chosen the UFO I wanted and downloaded the zip file and extracted it all so that I could import the model into Unreal. The first thing I did was add a green screen background using a planar rotated with a green material on it. With this complete I started to animated the UFO using keyframes to save its position, scale and rotation at certain points in time. I also added squash and stretch to the UFO when it flies in and out by using the scale and movement tool, I did this as it makes the model feel more life like and look more appealing to the eye. After I had finished animating it I set up a area light and a camera and rendered a video that I could then put into After Effects at a later time.
Putting Everything Together In After Effects
I imported my model and my green screen background into After Effects where I then keylight pipetted the green screen and then tracked the 3d animations onto my footage. Using key points I was able to put my model at the certain time I wanted and also make it look slightly realistic while also looking out of place. Using weather fx I added some rain throughout the whole video that got a lot more violent as the UFO appeared and calmed back down suddenly after it left. I also created a white light effect when the UFO comes down into the centre using effects so that it looked more mysterious, weird and out of place. I then used a green screen news template from the internet that I put over my video to create the effect that it was on the news, I also added the text “Alien Invasion?” as I believe that is a eye catching title that a news show would actually use. Next I downloaded some sound effects from YouTube and inputted them into after effects and put them at certain times over my video. Finally I rendered my video and downloaded the video to my computer.
The Final Video
After I finished everything and had my final video rendered I uploaded it onto my college YouTube account so that others could see it and give me some feedback.
Updated VFX Video
After receiving some feedback I decided to go back and add in a shadow from the UFO onto the buildings that the UFO flies past to just add that bit more realism into my video.
Updated Final Production Schedule
After finishing my VFX video I went back and updated my production schedule.
Overall I feel my VFX project went well.
I believe my pre production work was done to a pretty high standard although I could have added more detail to certain parts like my equipment list as I could have said what all the equipment would be used for. I also believe that the footage I captured was good enough to produce a decent VFX video from them however I could have improved them by using a professional video recorder with a stand also I could have tried to record the two footages at the times and possibly even in different weather. I feel my animating for my 3D model went pretty well as I was able to clearly animate the UFO with a beginning, middle and an end. Also I think it went well as I was able to add some rules of animation into it for example squash and stretch as well as staging. However I definitely could have added more rules of animation as well as I could have animated parts coming from the UFO for example lasers. The sound effects on my video also could have been improved so that they fitted in with the video more smoothly and would have seemed slightly more realistic. Overall I feel my VFX video turned out well for my first attempt at creating something like this.
I had one major issue quite close to the start where I had to scrap my initial idea of doing a space invader shooting down pellets as when I tried to look for a model I couldn’t find a space invader, this lead to me having to adapt my idea and change it to a UFO flying in and out.
I feel like the visual effects I created and used for my video were appropriate as one of the main points of my video was how it was a ordinary day until out of nowhere comes a UFO and then as soon as it leaves it all returns to normal again. Some examples of this is I made the rain become a lot more heavier as well as added a strange and mysterious bright light when the UFO comes down into the middle of the camera. All of these and some other things were used to add to the atmosphere of a surprise mystery.
If I was to redo the project I think I would try to add the UFO shooting something like lasers that I would animate and add special effects to. Also I would choose two different places to record for my footage, possibly two more busy areas so there would be more buildings, cars and other things.
Overall, although my final video didn’t turn out like my initial idea I still feel that it turned out well to say how had to change my idea halfway through the project.
Overall Nathan’s work has a sense of professionalism towards it and clearly shows the journey of work he has been on to produce his final video. His pre production work is very good only needing improvements in a few places. However, some things he could improve on would be his special effects as I feel he could have added more in like maybe the UFO shooting lasers or beaming something down or up. Also I like how Nathan included a short narrative to his video with the news report and the meanwhile part to show how the same thing was happening all over the world at the same time.
I need to carry on improving on my After Effect skills so that my work looks and feels very professional.
I also need to think more in future projects about any mistakes and what I could do to stop them happening before they happen.