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Composite two shots together?

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Joshua Howard
Composite two shots together?
on May 21, 2020 at 2:10:49 pm

Hi,
I want to composite a person sitting in a cardboard box floating down the middle of the street. Ideally I would like to move around the person floating in the box.
What would be the best workflow to accomplish this shot?

Thank you


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Blaise Douros
Re: Composite two shots together?
on May 22, 2020 at 4:02:00 pm

After Effects won't be the perfect tool for this, because you will probably need 3D modeling to do this right.
If it were me, I would think about ways I could do this with minimal compositing. Put the box on a dolly, and shoot it with your person "floating" down the street. Then you could track the camera, and generate a fluid simulation based on the geometry of the street. Then you comp that in to your footage. After Effects can't do that, though--you'll need to go to a true 3D program.

Most bigger productions would do this by shooting the person in a studio, against green screen, and then just create the environment in 3D. You probably don't have that option, so I would try to minimize what you have to create digitally.


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Joshua Howard
Re: Composite two shots together?
on May 22, 2020 at 5:10:08 pm

Hello Blaise,
Thanks for your advice.
When you say "generate a fluid simulation based on the geometry of the street" Are you implying camera projection? There is that function in C4D which I have.

Thank you!


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Blaise Douros
Re: Composite two shots together?
on May 22, 2020 at 6:56:00 pm

No, I'm referring to basically building a virtual box that matches the dimension of the street, from curb to curb, and doing a fluid simulation to create virtual water within that box. Using camera tracking, you would then match the camera movement and position so that the fluid simulation can be composited into your original footage. If you really wanted to be fancy, you'd track in a virtual floating box to match the position of the real box, to react with the water.

There's may be a better way to do it, but I'm just thinking of the way that uses the most amount of practical footage, and the least amount of 3D modeling. I'm not really a C4D user myself, so I have no clue if the version that bundles with AE is even capable of fluid sim.

If I was trying to do a low-rent workaround that utilized only After Effects, I would find a flat flowing water texture, and 3D track it into the scene using the water footage as a flat plane tracked to match the street. It wouldn't look as good as a fluid sim, but it would approximate it for a quick version. If it's a fast shot, you might get away with something like that, and then use closeups where the water isn't visible afterward.

Basically, this is not an easy problem to solve using AE alone.


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