Project Masterclass: The Machine

Taught by Russell Dodgson

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
July 2011 
14 hours 42 minutes 
This course, taught by Russell Dodgson, is a fully production based course. It is designed to tie in directly with its companion course, MYA214: Production-based Lighting and Rendering being taught by Robert Harrington. The course will be dealing with a full vfx sequence shot bespoke for the course. The lessons will attack a variety of compositing tasks and will pay attention to how we view a sequence as a whole as well as concentrating on the minutia of each individual shot.

One of the course's main goals is to get full understanding of how we should approach the compositing of cg elements, and correctly using renders to rebuild our cg in comp so that we can adjust certain passes without incorrectly corrupting the contribution of others.
The course will have the flow of a usual production with assets being passed to and from 3D. We will learn how to assess 3D passes for their usefulness and discuss when it is appropriate to ask for a re-render or when we should just fix it in comp. Although this course is designed to run in parallel with it's companion course it will also be arranged so that it can be taken as a stand alone course. Rest assured we will be tackling some tricky problems and some dramatic footage that will be sure to light up your showreels!

Based in London, Dodgson is currently the Head of Nuke at Framestore Commercials in the UK. Tasked with developing a Nuke department within a commercials environment he focuses his attention on simple, effective workflows and the integration of his department with the other stages of the production process. Having used Nuke since just before it was acquired by The Foundry, Russell has worked closely with the developers and has taken an active role in teaching their Masterclasses as well as some of their online training videos. His recent credits include "The Tale of the Three Brothers (HP7)", Kia's award winning "Soul" campaign, the in game cinematic for "DJ Hero" and Coca Cola's latest all animated Superbowl Commercial "Siege".
Project Masterclass: The Machine
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

We start an overview of what's to come in the rest of the term, the software we will use and why as well as what our learning goals are. We then take a look at setting up our default render tree using the new toolsets feature of Nuke 6.3. To finish we start roughly blocking out our sequence to get a sense of continuity.

Class 2

We continue from last week by blocking out our bullet hits. We start with a very brief look at Shotgun for project Management followed by a similarly brief look at RV when integrated with Nuke. We then get stuck straight into the work, we go through our key plates and learn how we can use the new Planar Tracker to improve our tracking in both speed and accuracy. Following this we work out the most efficient way to develop our bullet hit timings so they work across multiple shots. To finish up we take this and apply it in different ways to our tracks. Be warned there is a tonne of ground covered in this class, so you are going to be kept busy!

Class 3

We look at removing blinks from our actor's performance as he fires a gun. We make use of the new 6.3 spline warp to do this and then move on to look at rebuilding muzzle flashes.

Class 4

We take a look at a few different aspects of the project. The main focus is file workflow and how to setup small colour pipelines. We look at how the dpx files for this project have been exported from the original r3d files. We then look at setting up custom viewer looks and generating LUTs from Nuke to allow integration with other applications. We then finish by looking a nice trick for handling heavily defocused roto edges.

Class 5

We spend our last whole class on the shooting sequence before moving onto the second scenario. We take a look at our bullet hit elements and approach the comp of them together from scratch. We then finish up with our first look at a bit of paint.

Class 6

We take a look our first look at our second sequence. We beak down what we are going to be doing on it, bash together basic background and then get stuck into the ibk keyer on our shot.

Class 7

We take a first look at the set of AOV's that we have received from the corresponding Maya course. We break them apart, look at what they all do and the look at three ways of approaching tools for splitting and reconstructing our passes. We use toolsets and get a nice practical way of seeing the amazing benefits of knowing a bit of python.

Class 8

We get back to keying our second sequence. First we setup a 3d projection of our set by converting a latlong into a series of cubic maps. We then focus on keying a more complex shot, focusing primarily on maintaining hair detail and using clean plates.

Class 9

We take a look at some 3d renders. The main goal of this lesson is to give an idea of how one can approach compositing a piece multi channel cgi. Focusing on the process, we break the renders down into their component parts, start to gain a perspective on where we want to take them creatively, and then start to have a play. This lesson is intended to be a spring board to push you forward into the big task of compositing the rest of the shots for this sequence. We also take a look at a way of fixing the buzzing hair issues that are apparent on several of the shots.

Class 10

The big finale! We start an entirely new and exciting shot which is going to look heavyweight on your reels. We take in our renders, rebuild our entire environment with projections. We fix issues, grade plates, use some nifty tricks for layout and take it to a nice a looking conclusion.