Still probably not as much Charlie Sheen!

Today’s been (in general) a good day. Osama’s gone, Emily King did well for her clients and I’ve been busy. Very busy…

Today, I have been testing out some effects. For our short 30 second film, to be entered into a certain contest, we need to have a few special effects to make it look snazzy. The three that I’ve been working on today are animation for lettering, a look down a page and being sucked into a black hole. All I had today was my wits, my camera (and Em’s, but shh, don’t tell her) and my AVID Media Composer system. I’ll explain the process I went through to achieve the results.

Firstly, and the easiest, the lettering.

I used GIMP. First step was to create a template for the lettering, so I typed in the word Student (as will be in the final product). Then I added three transparent layers on top of these and used my tablet to “trace” over each one – not too messy, but you still want an animated effect. Then I exported each of these as a jpeg (not quite got the hang of the whole ‘transparency’ thing going from one program into another). I added each of the 3 lettering to my timeline, having them only 3 frames each. It was then simply a case of making sure that the background was transparent (Chroma Key win), then that the letter itself can standout, and copy and pasting for however long in the timeline it’s needed. Simple.

The animated letters

Second thing was the look down page.

Well, it’s not a very accurate description. The end result is meant to be a smaller segment superimposed onto a video, where the segment contains a finger moving down a page of questions until it reaches the final one. Sounds simple enough.

First, I filmed my finger on a green background. next, I imported that finger into AVID and Chroma-keyed it. Next, I opened a word document, scoured the internet for difficult physics questions, pasted that into GIMP when finished and exported it as a rather long picture. Next, I imported that picture into AVID, used the picture as the background for my finger, used AVID’s Pan and Zoom effect to get a high quality zoom of the questions and panned down to the last question. I added vertical motion blur and exported it. Next I reimported that to AVID, created a new sequence, put a picture behind it (the final product will have video behind), used Picture in Picture to shrink the size of questions and finger, added feathering, and got a rather nifty sequence.

Lastly, I did the black hole.

First step was to create a picture, so I did that, skip a few steps, imported it into AVID and added some effects – firstly a pinch for where the blackhole was to be (animate with keyframes, of course). Next, I added a shine in the middle where the pinch is, animated to get bigger. Now I know what you’re saying, black holes are black! Duh! Well, that’s where you invert the luminance value. I got over the fact that it would invert the entire image, not just the light by adding the luminance inversion to both the effect and the original. Double negative for the main image, single negative for the light. Thus we have being sucked into a black light.

Not bad for a days work!

Oh, and I sorted out the bleed issues on Emily King’s business cards. I like productive days!


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