Monday, January 16, 2012

Blender Compositing

I have now had my first bit of success with Blender compositing. I read through the tutorial in my copy of 'The Essential Blender,' and was able to devise a plan of attack to create a short video where I mixed 3D animation with some real footage. My video idea was simple: I would be tap dancing far off to one side while Hank, the rigged mesh provided with my book, would stomp his feet on the other side and look grouchy. The animation of Hank was simple enough, since I've been working with the rig for a while now. Animating Hank only took about 30 to 45 minutes. Rendering the animation took longer, of course. After the animation was rendered, I went into my node editor to try and composite the real footage over the animated footage. I was not able to figure out how to do this in the node editor, so I instead went to the video sequence editor where I had had a small amount of luck, before. After much trial and error, I found the the 'Alpha Under' property was the one that worked. My video can be found here. Now, an interesting thing about Blender is that the video compositing works a bit like the old blue and green screening. As long as the video that you want to overlay over the other video has a completely black background, it will composite the videos nicely. So, after this success, I had an idea that is probably grander than my skills: I would create a movie that mixed live footage with 3D animation. In order to keep this project simple, I decided that most of what I would be animating would be spheres. The main evil monster of my film would be a great gravity sphere. The gravity sphere would buzz around, picking up odd items, and eventually terrorize a crowd of people. Now, the crowd of people I recorded were none other than the wonderful and good humor folks of Sac Anime. These guys were great. I told them about my movie concept and what I needed them to do. They were all more than happy to comply. They all did a great job for the filming, some of them even added to the humor of the scenes by ad-libbing. To see the first of the clips that they participated in, click here. These clips are only the animation-ready clips. And, once again, a great big 'Thank you' to all the hardy souls that participated in this filming.

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