Compositor – My Understanding Now

I thought I’d write what I already understand about the role of a compositor:

A compositor’s role is to bring together the elements that might make up a shot. These elements might often be character animation, background layers, effects, etc.

In the case of a small studio, a compositor may be expected to grade the footage, but this would be a specific role in larger studios.

Bringing together the elements of a shot requires a good understanding of staging, composition and perspective. Even when a shot has been story-boarded and laid out, there may still be unexpected problems with how it all fits together that will need to be ironed out for the shot to make sense.

A compositor may have to work with the layout artist or even be the layout artist on smaller productions to put together backgrounds that work with the animation on screen.

A compositor may have to work with both 2D and 3D elements as, more often that not, even 2D animated films will have 3D assets in shot, for example the CG cars in ‘The Illusionist’.

The most common compositing softwares are After Effects and Nuke.



Week 23 Summary

This week I’ve come a long way with my puppet by adding hands and feet and a head to him as well as finding him some placeholder action man clothes. I managed to drill some holes in the feet of my puppet and on Wednesday I shot a first pass of my animation. Then, I discovered that I had drilled the holes slightly too big and had to use two pins in each hole to support the puppet. I also tried using paper cut-outs to give my puppet a face which has proven very fiddly. I will need to perfect this if I’m to use this technique in the final animation.

For the media industries research project, I now have a group of four focusing on 2d animation. We have created a group chat and have begun to look at possibilities of productions and studios to focus on that best suit our interests.

Parcel Pete’s First Pass


Here’s my first go at animating my stop motion puppet. I didn’t manage to get to far into the sequence or test out all the little facial expressions I cut out but I have got to know my puppet a lot better.

First off, I realised that I’ve drilled the holes in the feet with too wide a bit (1.5mm) for one pin to secure my model on the table and that I had also drilled the heal holes a little too far in to make putting the pins in very easy for myself. To get around this, I had to spend twice the time putting two pins in each hole to make sure that my puppet wouldn’t fall over.

I’ve also realised that with baggy clothing, it’s very easy to get a boiling effect going on, especially around the cuff of the trousers where I had to pull them up to put the pins in. Thankfully, I’ve designed a puppet with a fairly trim uniform, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the future as I wont have these place holder clothes then.

When I painted the hands, I immediately realised they were far too pink compared to the head, but looking at them in the video, it’s not blindingly obvious that there’s a difference. Perhaps one more white coat will fix the problem?

As for the paper replacement faces, I can see that they may be a little too fiddly to use in the final take and I am still considering drawing faces on in post production.

Model Making: Day 5

Today saw me get ready for my test shoot tomorrow morning, so I’ve hurried to get things looking as nice as possible for then.

My first move to ensure I can at least shoot a functional model was to drill the pin holes in the feet. I got a hand drill with a 1.5mm bit, a G-Clamp and a carpenter’s friend and set up on a vice in the model making room. I drilled four holes, one in each toe and one in each heal.

Next I put together some hands. First I got some thin bits of foam and cut them roughly to size before taking a felt tip and inking up the fingers. Then I pressed the foam up against the fingers to mark out the length and spacing of them so I could cut them out in the foam. Now I had the hand shape cut out, I split the hands in half so I could take the halves and make a sandwich with them around the skeleton hand with a touch of IMPACT glue on each half to bind it together. After squeezing them together, they were nicely nicely covering the hand.


Then, I took some foam and make little blocks to bridge the gap between the parts of the foot and make it look like a complete shoe. After gluing them on, I painted the whole foot black to make it look like a boot. I intend to find some little bits of thread and make some laces to keep everything to the drawing.

In the pictures I’ve included, Pete has been wearing some funny clothes that don’t match the ones in the turnaround. These clothes are actually from an old action man of mine that just so happened to fit, so I’m going to use them in the first pass tomorrow.

Tonight, I hope to make some little paper facial expressions so I can have a working face for the shoot.




Model Making: Day 4

Today I powered through a whole lot of the model. I started by sculpting the head and getting it right the first time! I had no problems with the core coming out of the surface, and I worked out a way to add a neck to the head sculpt by adding it when the head was mounted and smoothing it around the wire. I got this cooked in the 3D workshop over lunch.

Next I bent the feet into shape and unwound the wire to remove two of the four strands that made it up to make the feet more flexible. Next, I rolled out some Milliput and made a heal and toe component. I added them to the wire while the puppet was standing up to make sure the feet were flat on the ground.

With the left over Milliput, I went on to make the hands. Because the wire that makes up the arms had 3 stands in it, I had to get some more wire in to be able to have five fingers. I got one length of wire and twisted it into a ribbon to make the extra two fingers. I added them to the skeleton by sandwiching it between two bits of Milliput and pressing it onto the existing fingers.