Check out all the Rookie Awards 2022 entries!
A love for Compositing

A love for Compositing

Jakob Kuhn
by JakobKuhn on 19 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

About a year ago I started my apprenticeship at Pixl Visn. During this time I specialized in the best field there is: Compositing! Since I'll soon be at the end of my training, I'd like to take the opportunity and share my previous demo projects with you.

21 470 6
Round of applause for our sponsors

Hi, my name is Jakob Kuhn.
I'm 21 years old and I'm currently in my final months of education at Pixl Visn.

My specialty is compositing.
I love the work and problem solving that comes with the field. Inserting Cg elements, changing aspects of the image, removing unwanted elements and adding new ones is just super exciting.
Combining different aspects of multiple shots that end up looking like they came from a single camera is the best there is.

At the moment I'm about to finish my demo reel and would like to share some of my projects with you in advance.
Hope you enjoy it!

The departure

The concept idea is about a hermit on a distant planet who has to leave his homeland after the planet is about to collapse.

My school commissioned us to model a fantasy house for our first demo reel project.
Since I'm a Compositor, I used this opportunity to do a CG integration with the house I modeled.
I hope you enjoy it!

Here you can see the result:

The idea for the project came to me when I was watching the new Marvel series Loki and in one of the episodes they were stranded on an apocalyptic planet. From this idea I started my project.
I found concept art of a fantasy house on the internet and used the reference to model mine.
And one of Rebelway's compositing course videos on Youtube gave me the idea for the style of the video

I am responsible for all aspects of the project.
I only got the spaceship from the TurboSquid website.
I also used smoke stock footage from ActionVfx and the volcanic landscape is a stock footage from Artgrid and the music from Artlist.
Thanks for the assets! I really appreciate it!

Here's a closer look at the model and its textured render

Here is a little insight into my workflow:
After modeling the fantasy house, I made a camera track of the stock footage in Nuke and exported the camera into Maya. So I could position everything in there and then do the animations.

When that part was finished I rendered out the house, the spaceship and the shadows as individual render layers and gave each several aov lightpasses.

In Nuke I then merged the stock footage with the Maya renders and adjusted the light intensity and color with the aovs.

Using smoke stock footage from ActionVFX, I was able to make the individual assets look even more consistent.

Using Video Copilot's lens flare tool, I was then able to add cool lighting effects to the spaceship's headlights. Finally I added some camera lens effects.

At the end some overall color correction and that's it

American diner

My second demo project is a paint-out with a 2d integration.

I put a lot of effort and love into this project and faced some difficult problems. But in the end, that's the best part right? What would it be without a little trouble here and there haha.
I hope you like it!

I decided to take this video because it presents some difficulties.

The camera move is relatively small and the woman doesn't actually move at all, which was a big advantage. But there are many other parts that were more difficult.

Matching the light in the green screen shot with the stock footage turned out to be tricky in my small one bedroom apartment haha. The different colors of the lights in the stock footage were also a problem. So later in the comp I had to remove many highlights from the waiter, turn them down and recolor some of them.
The highlights on the left side of the waiter were clearly too strong and had to be recolored more into blue-green. The t-shirt on the right side of the screen had a light from the right that had to be removed. And so forth.

The second problem was the interaction with the set, since you actually needed 3 tracks for the waiter. First the hand on the table, then the hand on the pot and the body on the counter.
I then worked with warps and st-maps to combine multiple tracks together.
The hand with the cloth was particularly heavy because it moved slightly in the original shot. Which meant that when I tracked it to the table, it still slides. A stabilization track for the shawl didn't really work, so I decided to use the lower part of the shawl as a still frame and warp it to the rest of the hand with a st-map.

To do the paint-out, I first stabilized the original video. So I was able to place still frames that were cut out with masks and changed with a Roto Paint at any point in the picture.
Where there was still sliding, I made an additional Match Move track.

The 3rd problem was the light change in the background, when the shadow moves over the metal wall, you could see the paint-out spots, since these still frames tracked on the background did not change their light.
The solution was simple in concept, but not too easy to implement.
I cut out the shadow part and animated it as a still frame. I then masked the whole thing in such a way that the shadow still frame only appears at the paint-out points. But getting the edges seamless was not that easy.

To hold the coffee pot I used a plastic stick that should stabilize my hand so that it later looks like it's holding on tight. Since I didn't know the focal length of the stock footage shot, I had to estimate my shot and could only guess because of the distance. Which meant that I didn't fit 100% into the picture section in terms of width either. Which is why I removed and moved more parts from the table and moved the coffee pot from its original place.

And that was it. Hope you enjoyed the little insight.

I'm currently working on my last 2 projects for the Demo Reel.
And I´m looking forward to share them with you soon!

Thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoyed the projects!
Have a nice day!

Feel free to connect and reach out with me!

Jakob Kuhn

[email protected]

Comments (6)