fxphd freeview: Wes Ball’s Secrets of Paint and Roto course

With the release of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Wes Ball, we decided to make five classes of Ball’s Secrets of Paint and Roto fxphd course available. Created back in 2009, this course uses real-world production shots from TV shows as well as fxphd RED footage to walk through the completion of full shots.

From removing pesky crew members or production rigging in frame, to altering background environments or clothing on actors, the courses focues on the approaches and techniques of this invisible art using standard tools like After Effects, Photoshop along with supporting apps like Mocha AE and software from The Pixel Farm. Ball used After Effects as his finishing tool of choice, but the techniques he showed were (and still are) applicable across many different applications.

Over at fxguide, be sure to listen to our fxpodcast covering Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, featuring Ball and Wētā FX Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Winquist.

If you’d like to watch the remaining five classes, they are available along with over 300 other courses as part of the fxphd membership. Check out our overview page for more information.

Enjoy these free classes from fxphd!

Class 1

We’ll get an overview of the kinds of paint shots that often come up in a production situation. Many of the shots we look at in this lesson we will come back to in detail later in the course. We’ll start looking into approaches and how to think about removing unwanted elements in the frame.



Class 2

Stairs. Another crew member gets in the way. We’ll go about removing him by replacing the entire half of the frame. We’ll look at creating the patch in photoshop as well as simple tracking in after effects with hand tweaks using null parents. Also, we’ll look into a method I call ‘reverse tracking’.



Class 3

Baloons. This time we’re going to look at using track mattes in After Effects to single out objects in the frame we can use to block or hide unwanted elements in the shot. We’ll also get an intro in Mocha AE for tracking and using its data inside of After Effects.



Class 8

Shoreline A & B.We’ll take a look at a collection of shots that are “the same but different”. Each shot needs us to remove objects off in the distance, but we’ll take different approaches with each one to illustrate some of the choices you can make when tackling shots.



Class 9

Shoreline C. In this lesson, we’ll take a fast-moving handheld shot out on the ocean and clean the distant shoreline of any distracting buildings, ships, or evidence of civilization. We’ll look at stitching several stills from different times in the frame into one giant patch. We’ll track it into the shot, and then briefly look at the roto involved with finishing the shot.