Flame 2014 in Production

Taught by John Geehreng

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
October 2013 
6 hours 48 minutes 
In the visual effects industry, it's not enough to be good...you have to be good and fast. Taught by John Geehreng, this course will show Flame (and Smoke) artists how learning the basics of a few programs and learning advanced strategies can dramatically improve their skill-set and help them get better results faster. Geehreng is all about finding the right tool for the job, so he not only takes advantage of Flame's wide array of modules, but also uses a ton of other programs to support his Flame and Smoke work.

This course will cover some of the very basics of Maya, PFMatchIt, Nuke, Mocha, After Effects, and Particular, honing in on the specific features of these programs and how they can supplement Flame's already powerful toolset. Having used these programs in conjunction with Smoke and Flame for years, John has developed a number of useful tricks and techniques that he is excited to share with you.

Geehreng is one of the most well-rounded VFX artists in New York. In fact, he might be the only Flame artist with a Character Animation Reel. Having started in Broadcast Design over a decade ago, he taught himself Maya, After Effects, Avid, and Smoke which served him well at his next job as a Junior Smoke Operator in a highly-regarded Editing Studio. There he was introduced to Compositing, Retouching, PreVis, and 3D-Tracking. He taught himself Shake, Combustion, Boujou, and Matchmover in addition to a number of now-defunct programs. It was also there that he was introduced to Flame and knew it was exactly what he wanted to pursue. He has been learning more and more about Flame and a wide variety programs ever since.
Flame 2014 in Production
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

Rebel Part 1 of 2 - After a brief introduction, we start with a shot from a short film called "Rebel." Beginning in PFMatchIt, we cover the very basics of the program as well as the lens distortion workflow between PFMatchIt, Nuke, and Flame. Then we look at planar tracking in Mocha. Once we have an undistorted plate, some Mocha gmasks, and a camera track, we use Nuke to generate and export rough geometry that we use as a modeling reference inside of Maya.

Class 2

Rebel Part 2 of 2 - We cover the basics of Maya and what John thinks are the most important features for Flame Artists to know as we model for projections. We export elements to Flame where we comp the shot and we finish by re-distorting elements using a UV map in Flame.

Class 3

Everyday Expressions - Expressions are incredibly useful and many Flame Artists often use them to create setups that are as flexible as possible. We start with very simple expressions that artists use every day and we see how easy it is to create them. We get more complicated as we look at using expressions to invert and offset tracking data. Then we then look at how you can use a diffuse map to recreate the famous Extended Bicubic trick and why you do not need to use that trick in Flame 2014. Lastly, we take a look at a slightly more advanced animation rig utilizing the new Variables Matchbox Shader.

Class 4

The Distort Node - We learn why the Distort Node is probably John's favorite node in Flame. We examine four shots and how the Distort Node can be used for a variety of common tasks. We look at a simple morph using two frames, using a single frame of video to track organic shapes, automatically animate objects, perform spline-based warping and fixing tracking issues between two plates. Finally, we also examine a color matching technique which can be used in a number of situations, especially when tracking/distorting still frames.

Class 5

Crayola - We cover a basic use of Flame Particles. Next we compare the Flame workflow to the AE-Particular workflow for the same shots.

Class 6

We'll explore some of the features new to the 2014 versions of Flame and Smoke.

Class 7

SAP - We'll take a look at building a nested zoom in Flame and how an After Effects tutorial inspired John's use of expressions. We'll also examine Atomize and some other design techniques used to create a "digital city".

Class 8

Breathing Life Into a Still - We start with PFMatchIt to quickly get a virtual camera. We'll take that camera into Maya where we'll dig a little deeper into modeling for projections. Having completed the modeling, we'll go into Flame, prep the carious layers to use as projections, and build a camera move. We'll also review various techniques to create more animation in your scene. Lastly, we'll export the camera and prep it for use in After Effects where we'll use Particular to create some atmospheric effects.

Class 9

Seamless Transition Part 1 of 2 - We'll start looking at 3d stabilizing which is the basis of our seamless transition. Then we'll look at tracking two shots, blending the cameras in Maya, building geometry for projections, and prepping everything for Flame.

Class 10

Seamless Transition Part 2 of 2 - We'll put the finishing touches on our seamless transition.