Yesterday afternoon, I shot a second version of my mystery box sequence with Pete. This one had its flaws again, but it was certainly better than my first.
With this shoot I got the timings a little wrong on some of the pauses, but this has been cleaned up in post. I’ve continued to struggle with adequate lighting for his dark uniform which I think I’m going to have to deal with. I also suffered another breakage with his left ear. I managed to glue this back on and continue shooting very quickly.
This morning, I sat down and put the footage into After FX. First I did the chroma keying with Keylight 1.2. The keying worked a lot better this time around, but I did have to cheat a bit. I keyed it so the edges were clean, but there was some partially translucent parts in his trousers and hair. To fix this, I duplicated the clip so that the translucency disappeared.
Next up I masked out the rig. I had to use this at two points, the first time because I found I had Pete’s foot pinned into a rift in the floor and he wasn’t stable, the second time because because he had a bad lean towards the end of the walk cycle.
Because I had already duplicated the footage, I applied all three masks to the second duplicate clip.
Then I went ahead and animated the smoke. First I did the big mushroom cloud, which I made fairly unconventionally. I animated a shape layer on hold keyframes every two frames to try and blend it in with my stop motion footage that’s on doubles.
I’m not sure if this was a silly thing to do, but it looks good so I can’t complain. I seem to have got the spacing right so that’s a bonus! I then masked the cloud to appear as if it is coming out of the bin. Then I did the whispy smoke that comes out initially. But first I tried doing it with smoke rings, but they had to move too far in a short distance of time ti look right.
Instead of animating a shape layer for the whispy clouds, I animated a mask on a grey solid layer so I could use the feathering effect to make it look smokey. This seems to have worked quite nicely.
Finally, I reworked the background a bit. I needed to fill in the space on the left of the screen behind the bush. I tried putting a wheat field in but it was too flat and I couldn’t draw it very nicely. Instead, I’ve put a long hedge line with a classic cast iron fence running along the road. Behind that, I’ve put a tree and then further behind I put a hill side. This could do with some work, but I’m going to leave it overnight to see if I like it. I’ve reworked the colour of the bush to help fit the new scenery.