Nuke, Motion Control & Deep Compositing

Taught by Victor Perez

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
October 2015 
6 hours 4 minutes 
After a successful previsualization of our skateboarding spot in our MYA223: Previz for Commercials course, we now move into production for this advanced Nuke course. For principal photography, we will be working with Stiller Studios to create incredible high speed motion control photography.

Taught by Victor Perez, the first several lessons will work through production of the shoot, including behind the scenes insights into the production process; insights which will be invaluable for any visual effects artist who needs to work on-set with motion control.

The course then turns to post-production, including discussion of the workflow of getting the motion control camera data into Nuke for compositing. The high speed Phantom shots will be accented with atmospheric effects such as dust as well as water drops and spray. Several shots will be executed using deep compositing techniques.

As is standard with our courses, the high quality Phantom footage as well as effects elements will be distributed along with the classes so that members may create shots for their reel.

Victor Perez is a senior visual effects artist with over 12 years of production experience in computer graphics, digital grading and visual effects along different countries. Nuke™ Official Certified Trainer by The Foundry®. As a senior digital compositing artist and 2D Technical Director he has a fine combination of both artistic and technical understanding of film postproduction and visual effects. Member of Visual Effects Society and usual collaborator of Nukepedia. Victor has worked and researched with Oscar® winner studios such as Cinesite and Double Negative between others. His film credits include The Dark Knight Rises (Dir. Christopher Nolan), Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: Part I (Dir. David Yates, 2010), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Dir. Rob Marshall, 2011), John Carter (Dir. Andrew Stanton, 2012), Lés Miserables (Dir. Tom Hooper, 2011).
Nuke, Motion Control & Deep Compositing
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

We are on set at Stiller Studio in Stockholm shooting cool motion-controlled high speed footage for this 300 level Nuke course, using Bolt and Cyclops motion control and Phantom Flex4K. Victor explains what we will be doing in this course and Mike walks through the filming process.

Class 2

We look at a few other fun shots from our high speed moco shoot at Stiller Studios and the edit of the skateboard TVC.

Class 3

Deep Image Compositing Fundamentals I: Understanding deep samples. Deep Image workflow vs traditional 2D workflow (holdouts & disjoint-over), pros & cons. The antialiasing issue using the Z-Depth channel. Visualizing Deep in a 3D environment. The DeepRead, DeepSample, DeepToPoints and DeepMerge nodes.

Class 4

Deep Image Compositing Fundamentals II: Color manipulation workflows on a Deep Image stream, Z masking, building and converting Deep images from/to 2D traditional stream (2D Multipass CG beauty build to Deep Img). Holdout generation workflows, pixel transformations, the Z translation, reformat and filtering issues, cropping elements in deep, secondary color corrections with cropping isolation, overlapping samples order. The DeepColorCorrect, DeepToImage, DeepFromImage, DeepRecolor (using ‘*.dtex’ and ‘*.exr’), DeepMerge (holdout operation), DeepHoldout, DeepTransform, DeepReformat and DeepCrop nodes.

Class 5

Deep Image Compositing Fundamentals III: Antialiasing and sample density for deep images, handling Front and Back data from samples using expressions, generating volume atmospherics using a sequence of images, exporting deep images from Nuke, generating deep images within Nuke. Beach Hut Winter case study: mixing 2D and Deep workflows, combining 2D procedures (3D relighting, procedural secondary color corrections) and placing them into a deep stream, dimensionalization of live action footage (green screen and elements), optimization methods, known issues and workarounds. DeepExpression, DeepFromFrames and DeepWrite nodes.

Class 6

Motion Control Cinematography Fundamentals: Stiller Studios Case Study. Features of working with motion control cameras. Specifics of the Mark Roberts Cyclops® and the Bolt®. The camera/lens nodal point, the issue of lens angle misalignment due to focal length variations. Photogrammetry applied to motion control rigs: Using a 2D static image (or photograph) as a base for motion control pan & tilt camera movement; Using footage with camera movement –from the spot– for camera replication transferring the match-moved virtual camera and the possibility of reframing in real time or precomputed; the motion base scenario and the relativity to the motion control rig; virtual sets and real time setups.

Class 7

Shooting miniatures with Motion Control Cameras: The Exploding Plane Case Study. Considerations for shooting miniatures to be mixed with live action footage; frame rate vs scale; camera motion & scale match; understanding the Stiller Studios automatic Nuke setup (deliverables); shooting a clean plate as an valuable asset (advantages of Motion Control); the live action greenscreen and the re-projection setup for camera match; adding interacting lights and the human/mechanical error; capturing light for rig removal cleanup interaction; alternative methods for patch extractions (in absence of the clean plate); lens distortion alignment; compositing the scale guidelines.

Class 8

Shooting Live Action Elements over Greenscreen vs Blackscreen. Pros and Cons of each modality; methods of extraction for greenscreen elements (Additive Fusion and Matte Pull); ‘minus’ vs ‘difference’ operations; methods of extraction for blackscreen (Incandescent addition and opacity control, light-occluding elements and density control). The Skateboard Commercial Shot 0040 Case Study: Landing on a Wet Floor. Motion Control plates alignment issues and methods for fixing it (2D and 3D); creating reflections base on UV projections and dealing with qualities of reflection from a 2D approach (falloff and ripple distortion); capturing references and comparative setups; using Motion Control aligned plates to extract mattes based on difference features; adding the wet floor from a Motion Control plate; casting shadows from a matte extraction on the hero plate, extracting splash elements from a steady wet shot and compositing them in the shot, generating extra procedural water sparks.

Class 9

Skateboard Commercial Shot 0010 Case Study (I): Mixing plates from different sources into a deep stream; overview of the shot; dimensionalization process for live action scans; 3D projections for dimensionalisation using arbitrary distances and scales, geometry restrictions for orientation (avoiding the flat perspective shift): look at the camera; backing UV maps in a proportional aspect ratio, card rows and columns handling methods; geometry displacement base on image: silhouette roundness; dome for infinite plane of projection; avoiding filtering using DeepRecolor.

Class 10

Skateboard Commercial Shot 0010 Case Study (II): Creating fog and atmospheric density in Deep within Nuke; handling incandescence stages of the comp outside the Deep stream; VolumeRays for casting volumetric shadows within a Deep fog element; tailoring light emission on Deep elements; Interactive dimensionalization of an explosion and its interaction with the hero character; Procedural Noise for dimensionalization purposes; 3D space holdouts in Nuke; simulating flames coming from behind applying heat turbulence based on UV image distortion; creative effects demo for other shots in this sequence.