Digital Compositing for Film and Video: Production Workflows and Techniques, 4th Edition

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$46.86 $66.95


ISBN 9781138240377
550 Pages - 300 Color Illustrations


Written by senior compositor, technical director and master trainer Steve Wright, this book condenses years of production experience into an easy-to-read and highly-informative guide suitable for both working and aspiring visual effects artists. This expanded and updated edition of Digital Compositing for Film and Video addresses the problems and difficult choices that professional compositors face on a daily basis with an elegant blend of theory, practical production techniques and workflows. It is written to be software-agnostic, so it is applicable to any brand of software. This edition features many step-by-step workflows, powerful new keying techniques and updates on the latest tech in the visual effects industry. Workflow examples for:
  • Grain Management
  • Lens Distortion Management
  • Merging CGI Render Passes
  • Blending Multiple Keys
  • Photorealistic Color Correction
  • Rotoscoping
Production Techniques for:
  • Keying Difficult Greenscreens
  • Replicating Optical Lens Effects
  • Advanced Spill Suppression
  • Fixing Discoloured Edges
  • Adding Interactive Lighting
  • Managing Motion Blur
With brand new information on:
  • Working in linear
  • ACES Color Management
  • Light Field Cinematography
  • Planar Tracking
  • Creating Color Difference Keys
  • Premultiply vs. Unpremultiply
  • Deep Compositing
  • VR Stitching
  • 3D Compositing from 2D Images
  • How Color Correction ops Effect Images
  • Color Spaces
  • Retiming Clips
  • Working with Digital Cinema Images
  • OpenColorIO
A companion website offers images from the examples discussed in the book allowing readers to experiment with the material first-hand.

By Steve Wright Routledge 550 pages | 300 Color Illus. Paperback: 9781138240377 pub: 2017-11-28

Table of Contents

About the Author Acknowledgements Preface Chapter 1 - Getting Started 1.1 How this Book is Organized 1.2 Web Content 1.3 What’s New in the 4th Edition 1.4 Gold Mines 1.5 Tool Conventions 1.5.1 The Slice Tool 1.5.2 Flowgraphs 1.5.3 Color Lookup Tables (LUTs) 1.5.4 Nuke 1.6 Data Conventions 1.6.1 Floating Point Data Banding Clipping 1.6.2 Linear Light Space 1.6.3 HDR Images 1.6.4 Stops Chapter 2 - Pulling Keys 2.1 Lumakeys 2.1.1 How Lumakeys Work 2.1.2 Making Your Own Luminance Image Variations on the Luminance Equations Non-luminance Monochrome Images 2.1.3 Making Your Own Lumakeyer 2.2 Chromakeys 2.2.1 How Chromakeys Work 2.2.2 Making Your Own Chromakeyer 2.2.3 Making a 3D Chromakeyer 2.3 Difference Mattes 2.3.1 How Difference Mattes Work 2.3.2 Making Your Own Difference Matte Making the Difference Image Making the Difference Matte 2.4 Bump Mattes 2.5 Color Difference Keys 2.6 The Blur and Grow Technique 2.7 Rotoscoping 2.7.1 Control Point Coherency 2.7.2 Shape Breakdown Hierarchical Articulation Organization 2.7.3 Bezier or B-spline? 2.7.4 Keyframe Strategies On 2’s Binary Multiples Bifurcation Motion Extremes 2.7.5 Motion Blur Spline Placement Edge Decontamination
2.7.6 Inspection
Chapter 3 - Working with Keyers 3.1 Keyers 3.2 How Keyers Work 3.2.1 Calculating the Color Difference Matte The Theory Pulling the Raw Matte A Simplified Example A Slightly More Realistic Case And Now, The Real World Matte Edge Penetration 3.2.2 Scaling the Raw Matte 3.3 The After Effects Keyer 3.3.1 Step-by-Step Procedure 3.3.2 Flowgraph of the After Effects Keyer 3.4 Typical Greenscreen Problems 3.4.1 Over Exposed 3.4.2 Under Exposed 3.4.3 Impure Greenscreens 3.4.4 Uneven Lighting 3.5 Preprocessing the Greenscreen 3.5.1 Denoise and Degrain 3.5.2 Screen Leveling 3.5.3 Local Suppression 3.5.4 Channel Clamping 3.5.5 Channel Shifting 3.5.6 Screen Correction Step-by-Step Procedure Pictographic Flow Chart Flowgraph of the Screen Correction Procedure How to Create a Clean Greenscreen Chapter 4 - Refining Mattes 4.1 Gamma Slamming 4.2 Garbage Mattes 4.2.1 Pre-matting 4.2.2 Post-matting 4.3 Filtering the Matte 4.3.1 Noise Suppression with a Median Filter 4.3.2 Softer Edges 4.3.3 Controlling the Blur Operation The Blur Radius The Blur Percentage Masking the Blur 4.4 Adjusting the Matte Size 4.4.1 Eroding a Matte with Blur and Scale 4.4.2 Dilating a Matte with Blur and Scale 4.4.3 Blurring Out 4.4.4 Sculpting Edges 4.5 Edge Masks Chapter 5 - Spill Suppression 5.1 Sources of Spill 5.2 The Despill Operation 5.3 Despill Algorithms 5.3.1 Green Limited by Red Implementing the Algorithm The Spillmap 5.3.2 Green Limited by the Average of Red and Blue 5.3.3 An Adjustable Despill 5.3.4 What About Blue Spill? 5.3.5 Refining the Despill Channel shifting Spillmap Scaling Mixing Despills Matting Despills Together 5.4 The Unspill Operation 5.4.1 How to Set It Up 5.4.2 Grading to the Backing Color 5.5 Despill Artifacts 5.5.1 Finding the Artifacts 5.5.2 Hue Shifts 5.5.3 Dark Edges 5.5.4 Fixing Despill Artifacts 5.6 Edge Grading 5.7 Edge Extension Chapter 6 - the Composite 6.1 Premultiply vs. Unpremultiply 6.1.1 Premultiply 6.1.2 Unpremultiply 6.1.3 The Double Premultiply 6.2 The Composite 6.2.1 The Over Composite 6.2.2 The KeyMix Composite 6.2.3 The AddMix Composite How it Works How to Build It How to Use It 6.2.4 The Processed Foreground Method The Workflow What to Watch Out For 6.3 Compositing With a Keyer 6.3.1 Soft Comp/Hard Comp 6.3.2 "Cut and Paste" Keyer Compositing 6.4 Compositing Outside the Keyer 6.4.1 The Single Key 6.4.2 The Uberkey 6.4.3 Soft Key/Hard Key 6.4.4 The Additive Keyer 6.5 Stereo Compositing 6.5.1 Anaglyph 6.5.2 Stereopsis 6.5.3 Stereoscopy 6.5.4 The Stereo Conversion Process 6.5.5 Depth Grading Scene Transition The Dashboard Effect Window Violation Miniaturization Divergence 6.5.6 Stereo Compositing Dual View Display Split and Join Views Disparity Maps Chapter 7 - Compositing CGI 7.1 Multi-Pass CGI Compositing 7.1.1 Process Verification for Your Renderer 7.1.2 Render Passes 7.1.3 Lighting Passes Render Passes Workflow Beauty Pass Workflow 7.1.4 AOVs 7.1.5 ID Passes 7.1.6 Normals Relighting 7.2 EXR File Format 7.2.1 Film Scans 7.2.2 Linear Lightspace 7.2.3 Arbitrary Image Channels 7.3 HDR Images 7.4 Deep Compositing 7.4.1 Deep Images 7.4.2 The Layering Complexity Problem 7.4.3 The Depth Compositing Edge Problem 7.4.4 The Re-rendering Problem 7.4.5 Deep Compositing with Live Action Chapter 8 - 3D Compositing 8.1 A Short Course in 3D 8.1.1 the 3D Coordinate System 8.1.2 Vertices 8.1.3 Meshes 8.1.4 Surface Normals 8.1.5 UV Coordinates 8.1.6 Map Projection 8.1.7 UV Projection 8.1.8 3D Geometry 8.1.9 Geometric Transformations 8.1.10 Geometric Deformations Image Displacement Noise Displacement Deformation Lattice 8.1.11 Point Clouds 8.1.12 Lights 8.1.13 Shaders 8.1.14 Reflection Mapping 8.1.15 Ray Tracing 8.1.16 Image Based Lighting 8.1.17 Cameras 8.2 3D Compositing 8.2.1 3D compositing from 2D images 8.2.2 Pan and Tile 8.2.3 Camera Projection 8.2.4 Multiplane Shots 8.2.5 Set Extension 8.2.6 3D Backgrounds 8.3 Alembic Geometry 8.3.1 The Simple Case 8.3.2 Scenegraphs 8.3.3 Advantages Over FBX 8.4 Camera Tracking 8.4.1 Step 1 - Feature Tracking 8.4.2 Step 2 - The Solve 8.4.3 Step 3 – Build the Scene 8.4.4 Placing the Geometry 8.4.5 A Large Outdoor Scene Chapter 9 - Color Correction 9.1 The Behavior of Light 9.1.1 The Inverse Square Law 9.1.2 Diffuse Reflections 9.1.3 Specular Reflections 9.1.4 Bounce Light 9.1.5 Scattering 9.2 Gamma 9.2.1 The Math 9.2.2 Why Do We Need Gamma? 9.3 The Affect of Color Operations 9.3.1 Lift 9.3.2 Gamma 9.3.3 Gain 9.3.4 Offset 9.3.5 Saturation 9.3.6 Color Grading vs. Color Correcting 9.3.7 Increasing Contrast with the "S" Curve 9.3.8 Histograms 9.3.9 Channel Swapping 9.3.10 Premultiply vs. Unpremultiply - again 9.4 Matching the Light Space 9.4.1 Brightness and Contrast Matching the Black and White Points Matching the Midtones Gamma Slamming 9.4.2 Matching Color Grayscale Balancing Flesh Tones The "Constant Green" Method of Color Correction Daylight Specular Highlights 9.4.3 Lighting Direction 9.4.4 Quality of Light Sources Creating Softer Lighting Creating Harsher Lighting 9.4.5 Non-linear Gradients for Color Correction 9.4.6 The DI Process 9.4.7 A Checklist Chapter 10 - Sweetening the Comp 10.1 Layer Integration 10.2 Interactive Lighting 10.3 Edge Blending 10.4 Light Wrap 10.5 Creating Shadows 10.5.1 Edge Characteristics 10.5.2 Density 10.5.3 Color 10.5.4 Faux Shadows 10.5.5 Shadow Warping 10.5.6 Contact Shadows 10.6 Atmospheric Haze 10.7 Adding a Glow 10.8 Grain Management 10.8.1 Grain Characteristics 10.8.2 Regraining Techniques Regrain Tool Lifted Grain Grain Rescue 10.8.3 Grain Management Workflows Live Over Live Live Over CGI CGI Over Live CGI Over CGI Still Photos 10.9 Managing Clipping Chapter 11 - Camera Effects 11.1 Lens Effects 11.1.1 Lens Distortion 11.1.2 Depth of Field 11.1.3 Vignetting 11.1.4 Lens Defects Spherical Aberration Astigmatism Chromatic Aberration 11.1.5 Glows and Flares Lens Flare Lens Filter Flare Diffraction Glows Veiling Glare 11.1.6 Grain 11.2 Lens Distortion Workflows 11.2.1 CGI Over Live Action 11.2.2 Live Action Over CGI 11.2.3 CGI Over CGI 11.2.4 Live Action Over Live Action 11.3 Matching the Focus 11.3.1 Using a Blur for Defocus 11.3.2 How to Simulate a Defocus 11.3.3 Sharpening Sharpening Operations Unsharp Masks Making Your Own Unsharp Mask 11.4 Rolling shutter Chapter 12 - Digital Color 12.1 Color Spaces 12.1.1 Primary Chromaticities 12.1.2 Units of Measure 12.1.3 Transfer Function 12.1.4 Gamut 12.1.5 HSV and HSL 12.1.6 Log and Linear 12.2 Working in Linear 12.2.1 What Exactly is Linear? 12.2.2 Color Operations 12.2.3 Transformations and Filtering 12.2.4 CGI 12.3 Metadata 12.4 OpenColorIO 12.5 ACES Color Management 12.5.1 The ACES Workflow 12.5.2 The ACES Gamut 12.5.3 What About Video Productions? Chapter 13 - Image Blending 13.1 Image Blending in Linear Light Space 13.1.1 Image Blending Operations 13.1.2 Compositing Operations 13.1.3 Matching the sRGB Look in Linear All sRGB Color Space sRGB Within Linear 13.2 Alpha Compositing Operations 13.3 Image Blending Operations 13.3.1 The Screen Operation Adjusting the Appearance 13.3.2 The Weighted Screen Operation 13.3.3 Multiply Adjusting the Appearance 13.3.4 Maximum 13.3.5 Minimum 13.3.6 Absolute Difference 13.4 Adobe Photoshop Blending Modes 13.4.1 Simple Blending Modes 13.4.2 Complex Blending Modes 13.5 Slot Gags 13.6 Retiming Clips 13.6.1 Constant Speed Changes 13.6.2 Variable Speed Changes 13.6.3 Interpolation Methods Nearest Neighbor Frame Average Motion Estimation 13.7 VR Stitching 13.7.1 Workflow Overview 13.7.2 Removing Lens Distortion 13.7.3 Building a Matching Computer Rig 13.7.4 Projecting Onto the Panosphere 13.7.5 The Stitching Process 13.7.6 Coping with Parallax 13.7.7 Exposure Correction 13.7.8 Visual Effects Chapter 14 - Transforms and Tracking 14.1 Geometric transforms 14.1.1 2D Transforms Translation Float vs. Integer Translation Source and Destination Movement Rotation Pivot Points Resize vs. Scale Pivot Points Skew Corner Pinning 14.1.2 Managing Motion blur Transform Motion Blur Motion UV Motion Blur Speed Changes 14.1.3 3D Transforms 14.1.4 Filtering The Effects of Filtering Twinkling Starfields Choosing a Filter 14.1.5 Lining Up Images Offset Mask Lineup Display Edge Detection Lineup Display The Pivot Point Lineup Procedure 14.2 Image Displacement 14.3 Warps and Morphs 14.3.1 Mesh Warps 14.3.2 Spline Warps 14.3.3 Morphs 14.3.4 Tips, Tricks and Techniques 14.4 Point Tracking 14.4.1 The Tracking Operation Selecting Good Tracking Targets Bad Tracking Targets Tracker Enable/Disable Offset Tracking Keep Shape and Follow Shape Pre-processing the Clip Coping with Grain Tracking Workflow Cleaning up Tracking Data The Stability Test Reasons for Failure 14.4.2 Match-Move 2D Transforms Corner Pinning 14.4.3 Stabilizing The Repo Problem Motion Smoothing For Rotoscoping 14.5 Planar Tracking 14.5.1 The Planar Grid 14.5.2 Drift Correction 14.5.3 Exporting Data 14.5.4 Roto Assist Chapter 15 - Digital Images 15.1 HD Video 15.1.1 Frame Formats 15.1.2 Anamorphic video 15.1.3 Scan Modes 15.1.4 Working with Interlaced Video Deinterlacing Scan Line Interpolation Field Averaging 15.1.5 Color Subsampling 15.1.6 Keying with 4:2:2 Video 15.1.7 Frame Rates 24, 25, 30, 60 fps 23.98, 29.97, 59.94 fps 15.1.8 Timecodes 15.1.9 Video File Formats 15.1.10 Telecine The 3:2 Pull-down The 3:2 Pull-up 15.2 Digital Cinema Images 15.2.1 Digital Camera Advantages 15.2.2 The Bayer Array 15.2.3 Sensor Crop 15.2.4 HFR – High Frame Rate 15.2.5 The DCI 15.3 Film Scans 15.3.1 Grain 15.3.2 the "Safe-to" Window 15.3.3 Apertures 15.3.4 Aspect Ratios 15.3.5 Film formats Full Aperture Academy Aperture Super 35 Formats Cinemascope Working with Cscope 3 Perf Film VistaVision 65mm/70mm IMAX 15.4 Log Images 15.4.1 What Are Log Images? 15.4.2 Why We Need Log Images Human Vision Data Compression Working with Log Images 15.5 Light Field Cinematography 15.5.1 How it Works 15.5.2 The Impact on Visual Effects Deep Images Arbitrary Depth of Field Depth Maps Stereo Through a Single Lens Volumetric Optical Flow Position Pass Point Clouds Mattes Normals and Normal Relighting Camera Tracking 15.5.3 When, and How Much? Glossary Index


"This book covers both the basic fundamentals and the advanced techniques of compositing, but Steve also presents the reader with a deeper background on the task at hand. You're not just getting a how-to manual, but an understanding of why you do it." —Patrick Tubach, VFX Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic "Digital Compositing for Film and Video is the must have book for all compositors at all levels. I always keep copies close on hand for my artists to use and still refer to it often myself. The book covers the skills all compositors must know and the techniques needed when you are fighting tricky shots." —Jeffrey Jasper, CTO, JTS Productions, LLC "What’s astounding about this book is that, for the last 16 years, every edition has been ahead of its time in terms of teaching and explaining the different techniques, technologies, and tools used on a daily basis by compositors around the world. Steve Wright has managed, once again, to stay ahead of the game and spearhead the education of current and future compositors." —Ara Khanikian, VFX Supervisor, Rodeo FX

About the Author

Steve Wright is a visual effects pioneer and a 20-year veteran of visual effects compositing on over 70 feature films and many broadcast television commercials. With extensive production experience and a knack for the math and science of visual effects he is a world-recognized expert on visual effects compositing. Since 2005 he has been a master trainer in compositing visual effects, providing staff training to over 25 visual effects studios around the world including Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Feature Animation, Troublemaker Studios, New Deal Studios, and Reliance MediaWorks, along with many others. He has also trained over 1,000 artists in compositing. Visit Steve’s training website at

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