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After Effects - Instruments to smoke

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Steven Probets
After Effects - Instruments to smoke
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:53:46 am

Hi all!

I have a project forthcoming to do some FX in a music video.

Basically the band want their instruments to turn to smoke. I was thinking of having them play 'green screen' instruments. Over lay a real instrument which eventually turns to smoke. Any ideas how I can achieve this effect?

It is fine to have the instruments made of smoke throughout the video then disappear.

Any ideas would be awesome.


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chris brett
Re: After Effects - Instruments to smoke
on Jun 18, 2013 at 10:29:37 am

Hi -

- dont exactly have the answer but reckon the answer lies in some kind of a switch as the instrument turns to smoke ...... obvious comment but the point being it depends how quick you want the instruments to dissolve and how the musicians react.....

............. if you can get away with a quick transition an startled musicians letting go and moving away in surprise it will be a lot easier I think especially if 'magic warp' or othyer effect can be used to cover the join..... but it needs to be shot for this of course...

-------------- all the best ---------chris---

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adam taylor
Re: After Effects - Instruments to smoke
on Jun 18, 2013 at 11:06:36 am

and don't forget that even a greenscreen instrument will obscure whatever is behind it, and so you'll need to find a way to replace the musicians midriffs!

Instead of a green instrument, perhaps look into making a skeletal device that they can hold the same as they would an instrument, but which has no body...only tracking markers attached to a framework. This way you will not need to replace anywhere near as much of the background, but yo wil still be able to extract the natural motion.

The downside to that method is the extra rotoscoping needed to put their arms back infront of whatever you key into the shot.

I dont think there are any quick and easy answers for this shot...just think it through and plan it well before shooting.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK
My YouTube Animations Page

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Don Balch
Re: After Effects - Instruments to smoke
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:56:53 pm

Some instruments will be easier than others. Drums, for instance, will be easier because they're stationary.

1. shoot drummer playing the drums -- this is your evaporation layer.
2. shoot drummer paying air drums -- this is your results layer. You're right, a greenscreen barrier is necessary to serve as an interaction point to stop the drumsticks. Otherwise, the stick will float right through the drum.
3. mask the evaporation layer until just the drums show
4. position the results layer beneath the evaporation layer.
5. Find a tutorial on 'object-to-dust' or smoke on youtube.

might be a good start
6. Basically, you'll need to do some sort of transition of the evaporation while revealing the smoke. The tutorial will show you how to do this.
7. Might play with the opacity of the smoke.
8. Even if the initial footage is not shot perfectly, the transitioning smoke will hide most flaws.
9. For the best effect, ensure you have include plenty of objects / layers before and behind the drummer along the Z axis. This is needed to ensure it appears as if the drums vanish from the middle of the set rather than being wiped from across the screen.
10. Add a blur to the foreground and background objects / layer to mimic depth of field.

I'm just winging it with this advice, so it won't get you all the way there, but this is where I'd start.

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