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Realistically lighten up burnt coals

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Adam Lewen
Realistically lighten up burnt coals
on Oct 2, 2014 at 9:03:09 pm

Hi there,
I am in the beginning of investigating a good realistic way, of helping footage of burnt coals seem as if they are still burning.
for example;
helping something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/nrdk38s

look as if it's more
http://tinyurl.com/q92tj23

I thought of playing with a matte of the dead coals and help it with some fractel and turbulent noise,
adding color, glow and tweaking to realism.
I assume it's a possible way.
Adding particles will help (here is a great and very in depth tutorial I stumbled upon: https://vimeo.com/79823940 ).

I was wondering if anyone experienced a similar task, or if anyone has any thought.

Any discussion would be appreciated!

Thanks
Adam


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Realistically lighten up burnt coals
on Oct 3, 2014 at 5:24:29 pm

Realistically?

It could be trickier than you might think.

If you take a look at the still-photo example you showed us, you'll note there are a couple of glowing coals in the lower left... and they're not much to look at. You'll also note that parts of the coals block that red glow.

That's realistic -- it should be, it's REAL.

The Red Giant tutorial's a good basis for using particles, animating particles, using blend modes & glows... stuff like that. And a particle system can give you an irregular scatter over the surface of the coals. You won't be animating the particles... once they're in place, they'll be static. Then you can animate the glow across the particles, animating fractal noise and using it as a track matte.

If you want someone to walk across those coals, you'll want to rotoscope the subject, and Rotobrush can help there.

Now, if you want the camera to MOVE on all of this, it gets much, much trickier, and possibly better done in a 3D application.
You'll also want a more of them to block

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Derek Boettcher
Re: Realistically lighten up burnt coals
on Oct 3, 2014 at 9:16:22 pm

I tried this, and it kind of worked. If you tweak it right it may do what you want. Bring in your footage, apply CC Threshold to it, adjust it to where the white coals are pretty much the only thing selected, bring in a red solid underneath that layer, change its track matte settings to "Luma", bring in your standard footage beneath that. Add a blur to the threshold footage, and to feather it out, and play with the color, modes, and opacity settings until you get what you are looking for. That might do the trick for you.

Edit: You also could try a darker red to start and composite a lighter red on top with a slightly less blur effect, giving it a highlight effect. You could also just add a glow and try to tweak settings that way, maybe add a wiggle for a type of flicker feel to it.
Edit2.0: I just tried it with the red layer's mode set to overlay and that seemed to look really good.

Best,
Derek Boettcher
Creative Management
BTH Media Group
http://bthmedia.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Realistically lighten up burnt coals
on Oct 7, 2014 at 12:49:13 am

...and here's another thought -- do it as a practical effect!
Get some CHUNK charcoal, your normal Kingsford stuff won't do, heap it up, light it, wait for it to get rocket-hot, spread it on a fireproof black surface, and shoot it! Naturally, the best results will be obtained at night. And having big stinkin' fan to flame the fire will help.

Then you'll have natural-looking animated glows, which you can then use in AE with one of the blend modes: Add comes to mind, as does Screen. Make it a 3D layer to get the perspective right, tile it, and you're all set.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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