NUKE and Digital Environments

Taught by Eran Dinur

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
April 2012 
6 hours 21 minutes 
In today's industry, the boundaries between matte painting, compositing and 3D are fading out. Taught by Emmy and VES award-winning artist Eran Dinur, this course stems from the belief that compositors should not only be able to seamlessly incorporate CG elements into photographic environments, but also have a real understanding of matte painting techniques as well as the ability to create 3D elements, particles and simulations.

The pivot of this course will be Nuke compositing, with an emphasis on environment integration, color, depth and light. We will strive to achieve photo-realism through plate matching and studying 2D imagery as three-dimensional environments. We will explore different Nuke techniques for lighting, volumetrics, atmospherics, reflections, adding grime and dirt and breaking up the "CG look". We will also cover advanced techniques for extractions and edge treatment, as well as using point position and normal passes for 2.5D relighting.

On top of that, we're going to go beyond NUKE and use 3D packages to create elements for our shots: Vue for 3D environments, Maya for animated plants, and Blender for particles and smoke simulation. The course will be project-based, and will culminate with a deep-sea environment comp that uses exclusive fxphd footage, shot underwater near Tasmania with the brand new Deep X housing for Red Epic.

Eran is VFX supervisor at Brainstorm Digital. He is the recipient of two VES awards for his work on season 2 of HBO's Boardwalk Empire (outstanding compositing in a broadcast series, outstanding modeling in a broadcast series). Before joining Brainstorm Digital, he was senior compositor at Framestore NY and ILM Singapore. Films he worked on include: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Clash of the Titans, Salt, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Surrogates, Terminator Salvation, Star Trek, Iron Man and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He is currently supervising Brainstorm's team on The Men Who Built America (a History Channel miniseries), the Untitled James Grey Project and Boardwalk Empire season 3.
NUKE and Digital Environments
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

We will start with an exercise in simple relighting using color grading and the volume rays tool. We'll then study the "golden checklist of integration", and go over our first shot assignment.

Class 2

We add and integrate background mountains into a plate. We will also create animated water reflections with noise displacement and take a look at the soften and edge blur tools.

Class 3

We concentrate on creating an all-CG aquarium environment. We'll tackle white-screen extraction problems and use Vue to create and light the base scene, taking advantage of some of the new features in version 10.

Class 4

After establishing a depth of field using the Z-blur and Vue's depth pass, we will continue working on the aquarium comp, adding reflections and scratches, then we'll use Blender to create animated floating dirt particles.

Class 5

We'll start by using Maya's paint effects to create animated plants and integrate them into the aquarium comp, then we'll use Nuke's own particle system to create bubbles, and add the finishing touches the shot.

Class 6

Extraction masterclass. We'll look closely at a blue screen extraction scenario, studying the various problems, and examining different extraction techniques. We'll move from Primatte to the IBK, and also use non-alpha extraction techniques for the hair.

Class 7

From here on we will concentrate on our hero underwater shot. We'll start by tracking and generating a 3D camera with Nuke's camera tracker, then take a close look at the concepts and techniques of 2.5D relighting.

Class 8

We will be joined by award-winning matte painter Mathew Conner who will walk us through the process of creating the elements for the shot, from concept to 3D modeling. After that we'll continue with our 2.5D relighting rig, then move on to initial placement and integration.

Class 9

We'll continue working on the underwater shot, moving on to camera projections and extractions, relighting, atmospherics and volumetric effects.

Class 10

We will complete the work on the shot and put up the finishing touches. We'll cover some more Nuke tips and tricks.