Introduction to Multiplane in Fusion

Taught by Graham Davidson

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
August 2018 
6 hours 18 minutes 
This course uses multiplane creative techniques to help teach artists how to create effects in Fusion. Since the early 1930’s multiplane has been a fundamental tool for creating the illusion of depth in 2D animation. With the advent of digital technology, the physical constraints of being restricted to a rostrum with a complex rig supporting heavy sheets of glass have been removed, opening up the possibility of combining other 3D elements, such as particle effects and 3D shapes.

Graham Davidson has worked with multiplane since the early eighties, initially working with rostrums cameras, but then embracing the ability to shift the technique into the digital domain. In this nine-part course, he’ll take you through three projects of differing complexity.

The first two classes will also be helpful for those who are new to node-based composting and can be done on any version of Fusion from version 6 onwards. The second project is complex and requires Fusion 9 for the ability to copy a 2D tracking path into the 3D environment. It can be achieved with both the free version and Studio version. The third project requires the Fusion Studio 9 to make use of the new Camera Tracker.
Introduction to Multiplane in Fusion
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Introduction to the Paint Tool and Setting up a Pl

Some of the basic fundamentals are covered in this class where an illustration is dissected into three levels in Fusion using a combination of masks and the Paint tool. The layers will then be set up in 3D space. A good introduction for those who have never worked in a node-based environment or are new to working in 3D space within a compositor.

Class 2: Particle Effects, Camera Moves, and Depth of Field

In this class, a short bitmap sequence is pumped into a 3D particle effect to create a background full of cartoon snowflakes. We’ll explore setting a basic camera move and two methods of dealing with depth of field. The first method relies on the built-in functionality within Fusion’s renderer. The other involves using the Fog3D tool and Channel Booleans to create a z-buffer.

Class 3: Applying 2D Tracking Data to a 3D Environment

We’ll use adaptive tracking points in this session to follow the camera move on a tiger and convert the tracking data to an XY path that we’ll connect to motion paths on image planes in 3D space. We’ll also quickly create multiple bunches of bamboo from a single piece of artwork.

Class 4: Introducing the Bender.

The Bender is a versatile tool that can be applied to objects in 3D space. It’s particularly useful for adding curvature to a flat, 2D object. In this class, we’ll use it to create a more realistic version of a large leaf that’s taken from a photograph and apply multiple instances through the shot. We’ll also start grading some of the elements and faking the depth of field with the Blur tool being applied to different layers in an effort to match the softness of foreground objects in the existing footage.

Class 5: Creating a Rising Mist with Particle Effects.

The 3D particle effects in Fusion are a versatile tool. In this class, we’ll connect a Fast Noise generator to a Particle Emitter and create the illusion of rising steam to help create the sense that a tiger, who was in an open plane, is walking through a Sumatran jungle.

Class 6: Using the Camera Tracker to Create a 3D Camera.

In this class, we’ll have a quick look at the new Camera Tracker to create a 3D camera solve and use that to generate a 3D camera that we can use of object we bring into the scene match the move on our existing footage.

Class 7: Building the Boat

Bringing together techniques that we covered in previous classes, we’ll build a boat around the chroma keyed footage of a young woman and add another layer of movement on top of the existing camera move to create the feel of a rocking boat.

Class 8: Grid Warps and Displacement.

The Grid Warp tool can be a great way to add movement to a static image, like adding a touch of movement to a static image of clouds that are wrapped around an opened-up cylinder. In this class, we’ll also look at using the Fast Noise generator to create a rippling surface on a body of water and the illusion of reflections.

Class 9: Water Splashes, 3D Fog and Depth of Field.

In this final class, we bring it all together with water splashes created using particle effects, a subtle fog to push the background further back, creating a z-buffer to help create some depth of field, and adding a few small tweaks.