COMP Demo Reel | Alex Pearson

COMP Demo Reel | Alex Pearson

Alex Pearson
by alexpearson on 13 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Lost Boys and my Instructor Fortunato Frattasio have had such an impact on my life. They've provided me with the tools and skills necessary to succeed in this industry. I am honoured to be representing this great school at The Rookie Awards.

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Deadpool Character Integration | Invisible Effects

In visual effects, the goal of every shot should be for the effect to be invisible. Seamlessly integrating elements into the plate leaving no evidence of the weeks or sometimes months spent on the shot.

For this project, our goal was to replace an actor in a movie or tv show with a plate shot of a lost boys student. This project really runs the gamut of compositing. Tracking, creating a clean plate, pulling a key using both Image-based and chroma based keying tools, integration using grading tools, and roto. I use what I learned from this project every day while working as a Compositor in the visual effects industry. 

A Whole Lot of Zombies | Muzzle Flash, Full Body Roto, and Set Extension

What was originally supposed to be a simple muzzle flash project, very quickly turned into a lone survivor fighting his way through a hoard of zombies.

The plate I used for this project just so happened to be the one I used in our full-body roto project earlier in the course. Not only does this optimize the time on my demo reel, but it also allows me to put whoever or whatever I want behind the guy, and he’s got to be shooting at something right, so why not zombies? I did a quick camera track of the plate, found some stock footage of zombies online and using all of the methods I mentioned in the invisible effects project, I started integrating the zombies. Colour is important here, matching the black and white values to the plate. Adding shadows and bringing grass elements in over their feet helps make them feel like they’re actually roaming this abandoned post apocalyptic train yard. This is why I love visual effects, I can bring my imagination to life.

De-aging Someone 15 Years | Digital Makeup

I think the first time I was ever truly amazed by a de-ageing shot was when young Robert Downey Jr showed up at the beginning of Captain America Civil war. Since then the technology has only improved. What I didn’t know back then though, was just how present digital de-ageing and digital makeup is in movies and tv shows.

In this project, we essentially learned how to perform a digital skin graft. Selecting a smooth part of the face then repositioning it over a wrinkled area, and going on to tweak the colour of the skin to best match it to that section. I also used a spline warp to tighten her chin ever so slightly. Using roto and a luminance keyer, I isolated the hair, allowing me to bring back the colour and remove the grey. 

Ghost in the Shell | Green Screen Compositing

This project was one of my favourites. I started the project by cleaning up the green screen, which meant removing all the orange tracking markers. This in itself isn’t too difficult, it’s just like a digital skin graft but with a green screen! When her hair is blown in front of the markers.. that’s when things get tricky. For each of those frames, I had to go in and recreate her hair with a paint tool. This got tedious but the end result is very satisfying.

Now that the green screen is cleaned, we can go in a pull a key. I used the IBK keyer for the fine details and then keylight for the core key. Preserving the detail of the hair is crucial.

After I had a good looking key, I started constructing the background with images and stock footage found online. I wanted to make the world lived in, so I populated it with characters and advertisements. Everything is on 3D cards so you have a somewhat realistic parallax. If I were to do this project now I would have projected most of those images onto geometry to get an even more realistic look.

Once the background was complete I had to make both plates matched. That meant correcting edges on the woman and colour-correcting the background to sit in with the foreground. I’m very happy with how this project turned out.

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