Smoke ConnectFX: The Keyer Nodes

first_imgThe Modular Keyer inside of Action or in ConnectFX does all of this for you. There are presets for each of these keyers that have the nodes added and linked up.  You can then add or delete nodes to get the best result for your individual keying situation.The Modular Keyer is the default keyer inside of Action.  It’s complex enough that it deserves it’s own blog post, so I’ll do no more than introduce it here.  Basically, it allows you to have a mini-schematic for keying inside of your larger ConnectFX setup.Smoke’s Master Keyer Node:Your first stop when you have a chroma key to perform, is the Master Keyer. Its name is appropriate as it contains a very powerful and interactive keyer with more tools to generate a clean key than any of the other keyers. By keying with the Master Keyer, you have tools for color supression, correction, and degrain built inside the node.  There are also Secondary Keyers, called Patches.Once you have your Front/Back/Matte feeding the node, you have a standard color pot for choosing your chroma key color. The Master Keyer has 2 pots so that you can chose slightly different areas, brighter and darker, and then allow you to mix between the 2 to get a good balance for the key overall. Instantly you can see how well the key is working by looking at the matte output (Press F4 twice).Your key probably isn’t perfect and there might still be some issues to work on. Here is where the Master Keyer excels.  By holding ALT and clicking in the viewer, will see a Heads Up Display (HUD) that allow you to adjust the key.  Depending on where you click in the viewer, you will get different option sliders (Matte Overall, Shadow Highlights, Ranges A,B,C,D,E),  These are smart sliders, as the Master Keyer is looking at the pixels underneath and giving you options to fix just those range of pixels. It’s very specific. Adjusting the sliders in context allows you to have real control over the key result.But sometimes you have a real problem key.  This is where the Master Keyer’s Patches come into play. Think of them like secondary keyers, similar to secondary color correction in the Color Warper.  Activate the patch by selecting it in the sampling menu. Then perform a Control+Box Selection in the viewer over a particular area you want to clean.  The Patch will analyse the pixels and assign them as white or black. Obviously it knows from previous selections that if you click to clean up an area that is currently a matte, it will fill in the pixels as white and an area that you want removed, it will make them black.You have 3 patches to work with, so you can easily clean up areas both inside and outside your matte.  The range and softness values for the patches are keyframeable. So if you have an area of you key where the lighting changes, and more shadows are introduced, you can adjust the values to compensate as the scene changes.Once you have the matte looking its best, you can now focus on the edges. Under the Color Menu, You can adjust the luminance and size of the edge. There is also a color wheel to skew the hue to better match into your background colors. For example, if you were keying your subject over red bricks, you would adjust the luma to match the brightness of the bricks and dial in a bit of red to match. This will help make your composite more realistic by blending the edges. You can also use the viewer interactive approach by selecting Blend from the Sampling Menu.The Master Keyer will also do color suppression and remove spill on your image. The color is copied from the initial key selection, but further adjustments can be made in the hue and range. You can choose to turn off the Auto CC as well by deselecting the button.  You would then need to add a Color Curves Node after the Master Keyer Node to suppress the color then.  More than likely, you can just use the internal suppression in this node.The output of the node is selectable. The result matte is always sent through the matte output, but the front can be selected to be the result with the background clip, the color corrected front without the back, or you can feed the matte output through the front. This flexibility gives you the options to add effects nodes downstream in your schematic and composite the key down the line.Keying on the Timeline:Sometimes while editing you need to get the cuts and timing down of your talent in Chroma Key as they pertain to the script or story. You can use the same keying tools from CFX on the timeline via the AXIS effect…with a few differences. If you place your chroma key talent on V2 with the background on V1 you can add an AXIS timeline effect to the chroma key.Inside of AXIS, activate the Keyer and you will see a new UI which combines all of the keyers we have talked about thus far, along with color and matte tools, histograms, and Gmasks. All in once neat and friendly package.  Since all the the keyers are independent, you can test each one and see which one works best for you right in the timeline and you can toggle back and forth.The color blend and spill suppression is available with each keyer as well as matte tools for shrink, erode, blur and invert. The histogram can be used to clamp the high and low values to clean up the key even more.Also, having the Gmask (Garbage Mask) tools at your fingertips makes trimming off bad sections of the scene and highlighting just what you want, can save you time when generating a good key.Once you have your key the way you like, exit AXIS and return to the timeline. Now, if your scenes are all the same, you can copy the AXIS effect to your other clips, adjusting Gmask as needed.  If you want to take this into ConnextFX for some more advanced effects, you can do that as well. Select your layers (Chroma Key & Background) add a CFX and make sure ‘Generate Composite’ is selected. Smoke will then take the effects you have setup already on your timeline and promote them into nodes inside of ConnextFX…with a few issues.The AXIS effect will become an Action node and the keyer inside will be the same keyer from AXIS.  The  keyer in Axis works great in the timeline with 8, 10 and 16 bit clips. But, if you are working with 10 or 16 bit clips then the keyer in Action will become inaccessible (black K).The keyer in Action (promoted from AXIS) only works with 8 bit clips. The default Modular Keyer in Action, if you activated a new Keyer setup, is 16bit. If you have any clips that are 10>16 bit, you need to activate the RGB Lut and convert them to 8 bit. Then the keyer in Action will become active (white K).  The keyer in AXIS used to be the same keyer in Action, but with the changes to the workflow in Smoke 2013, everything in CFX is processed at 16 bit fp.  This is one reason the Modular Keyer is being used as it already worked in 16 bit.  If you are working with all 8 bit clips on your timeline, then everything will be fine when you promote your timeline effect to CFX.Keying is one of the strongest features inside of Smoke. I personally do a lot of green screen work in the promos and commercials I edit. So I have gotten pretty good and pulling a good key even from compressed formats like H.264, DVCPRO HD, and AVC-I.  With better codecs and files like .r3D, and Prores4444 your ability to perform a good looking composite becomes very easy with the keyer tools in Smoke 2013. There are many keying tools inside of Autodesk Smoke 2013. So, how do you know which one to use and when?  We’ll breakdown the keyers so you can better decide which is best for your next project.Autodesk has always been known for their keying tools within their visual effects products.  Simply put, they have some of the best keyers in the business.  There are 7 keyer nodes inside of Smoke (Luma, Channel, HLS, RGB, YUV, RGBCMYL, Master Keyer).  If you want to include the Modular Keyer, which is a separate node-based keying environment, and the Diamond Keyer inside of the Color Warper, then you have 9 color keying tools.  Why so many? Well, Autodesk Flame is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, and many of these keyers started then and there. Over time, other keyer algorithms have come along, each one a little different and a little better then the ones before. And since every keying situation can be different, sometimes one keyer can perform better and give you a better result then another.[Click on Images for a Larger View]The Smoke base keyers are the Luma, Channel, HLS, RGB, YUV, and RGMCMYL keyers. The Luma Keyer is a luminance based keyer, generating a matte from luminance levels.  The others are all color based keyers where you would select a color in the image to key out. In other words, a chroma key.  Each of these keyers only accept a front image and output a result image which is a hicon matte.The best chroma keyer inside of Smoke, in terms of features and quality, is the Master Keyer. The Master Keyer also accepts a Front, Back and Matte input and outputs a front and matte result. But we will focus on that keyer in a bit.Here is an example of how each of the base keyers treat this image when we do a simple 1 click color selection. Images provided by and available via HollywoodCameraWork.usEach of these chroma keyers (Channel, RGB, YUV, RGBCHML, HLS) has a color pot to select the color on the image you would like to key out.  You then have Tolerance and Softness tools to add/subtract color information to finesse the key result.  You can dial these values using the sliders or by selecting problem areas of the image.  Depending on the quality of your image, the lighting of your blue/green screen, shadows, compression, etc, each of these keyers may give a slightly different result. So often it’s good to try them all to see which one works for your given situation.The Channel Keyer works well when you have a very clean and uniform color channel to key. The other keyers work well when the image has impurities in the chroma key like shadows or creases in the background color.These nodes just give you the basic key, and result a matte. You would then need to add some other nodes like the Color Curves for color suppression on the edges or Edge Matte Nodes to add any shrink or erodes. Perhaps even a 2D Histogram to clamp the matte and clean up some rough areas, or even a Gmask Node to add a garbage mask to isolate a part of the image.  And ultimately, comp the front and result key together in Action or in the Blend & Comp Node with a background.last_img read more

The Films and Career of Stanley Kubrick: An In-Depth Look

first_imgStep into the mind of Stanley Kubrick, one of history’s most acclaimed cinematic visionaries. The following videos offer unparalleled insight into his work, legacy, and influence.Stanley Kubrick is rightfully hailed as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His unique approach to cinema continues to inspire some of the best filmmakers in the field. Now, art collective Raccord shines a light on the career of this undisputed master. Narrated by Cameron Beyl, each part of the series taps into a fantastic wealth of Kubrick knowledge.The Indie YearsRaccord begins the series with a look into Kubrick’s past, including his childhood and family in New York. Then we quickly move into his early career as a photographer for Look magazine, where he developed his compositional eye. Kubrick started his film career directing short documentaries for The March of Time newsreel series, and then went on to create his earliest feature films, including Fear and Desire, Killer’s Kiss and The Killing. What’s important to note here is that, during his first features, Kubrick was working as an indie filmmaker, essentially doing everything – as most of us do when starting out.The Epic YearsPart two of the series covers the Kirk Douglas years, including Paths of Glory and Spartacus. We also see Kubrick’s visual style begin to come into full swing with Paths of Glory, as he utilizes the dolly and one-point perspective which became his trademark shot. During a battle sequence in Paths of Glory, Kubrick employs a sequence of dolly shots, but in one of those in particular he adds a zoom lens that pushes in and out on Douglas to give the scene increased intensity. This was a first for its time.The Dark Comedy YearsPart three of the series introduces us to Kubrick’s only two comedies, both showcasing the talents of Peter Sellers –  Lolita and Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Within this era, Kubrick begins implementing experimental visual work such as quick zooms and the hand-held Cinéma vérité style used by documentary films such as Primary and fictional films such as Saving Private Ryan. A Master at WorkThis section is the longest in the series clocking in at one hour, but it covers the masterworks of Kubrick’s career, beginning with quite possibly the greatest science fiction film of all time – 2001: A Space Odyssey. He followed up with A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Shining.There are three important firsts in these films. In 2001, Kubrick employed the use of amazing practical effects that influenced Star Wars and in turn the special effects in films today. In Barry Lyndon we see Kubrick collaborate with NASA in order to develop a high-speed Ziess lens which would allow for filming in natural low-light situations, an expression he began in A Clockwork Orange. Lastly, in The Shining, Kubrick utilizes the new invention of the steadi-cam which would allow the camera to move within a space that a dolly track would not.Final FilmworkConcluding the series, we look into Kubrick’s final two films: Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. While not as heralded as his masterworks, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut are still amazing works of art, both exploring the use of natural color and purposeful color.Again, Raccord and Cameron Beyl did a fantastic job encapsulating the entirety of Kubrick’s amazing career. Hopefully this series helps you learn about one of the greatest filmmakers and artists of all time, but also helps to inspire you in your own work.Did you enjoy the series? Did it inspire you at all? What director would you like to see Raccord highlight next? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

One in 87 persons in Punjab dependent on drugs: survey

first_imgPunjab, which has been battling the menace of drugs, currently could have between 1 lakh to 2.7 lakh people that are dependent on opioids. In Chandigarh, between 1,385 to 7,000 could be using them. Findings from the study titled “Epidemiology of Substance Use and Dependence in the State of Punjab,” released by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) on Friday revealed that about one in 92 persons in Punjab had used ‘any’ illicit substance (drug) in the past 12 months, and more than one in 87 were currently dependent on them. “These estimates are likely to be higher in marginalised or other specific high-risk populations for instance — homeless people, prison population, other non-household population like truck drivers and college students in hostels,” said Dr. Ajit Avasthi, head of the psychiatry department, PGIMER.“The opioid dependent population is somewhere between 1 lakh to 2.7 lakh people in Punjab. These are huge figures, and indeed worrying. An urgent attention is required to address the problem,” said Dr. Avasthi. The findings of the study were based on household and rapid assessment surveys in both Punjab and Chandigarh. The aim of the household survey was to estimate the prevalence of substance use such as heroin, bhukhi (poppy husk) and opium, besides alcohol and tobacco. The objective of the rapid assessment survey was to estimate the size of the population using illicit drugs. Alcohol, tobacco tooThe study pointed out that approximately one in six persons were dependent on ‘any’ substance and contrary to expectation, substance use and dependence were more common in rural than urban areas. The single most common substance of use and dependence was alcohol followed by tobacco. There were more than 22 lakh alcohol dependent persons and nearly 16 lakhs tobacco dependent persons currently. The rapid assessment survey revealed that in Punjab natural opioids (opium and poppy husk) were the most common types in use while injection opioid use was the second most common form. “In injection opioids — heroin was the commonest type,” added the survey. In Chandigarh, meanwhile approximately one in 1,250 persons was using illicit opioids substances, according to the household survey while the rapid assessment survey pointed out that in Chandigarh the opioid dependent population was around 7,000. These are typically young males and injections (Buprenorphin/Heroin/Pentzocin) are the most common types in use. The PGIMER carried out this study over two years for the Indian Council of Medical Research with the help of the medical colleges in Patiala, Faridkot and Amritsar along with the Institute of Mental Health in Amritsar.last_img read more

Key game up for national squad

first_imgThe Philippines will test its sharpness against a lowly Hong Kong side on Wednesday in the hope of scoring an important victory in the Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championships in Biñan City, Laguna.A victory by the all-star national team, led by fan favorites Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Mika Reyes, would already ensure the country a spot in the quarterfinals of the 14-nation meet.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. It will also automatically qualify the Philippines for the first time in the Asian Volleyball Cup for women in Thailand next year.“This is a very important tournament for us and the Hong Kong game is the most important match,” said national head coach Francis Vicente, who led the national team in a 17-day training camp in Japan.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe country, carried by Foton Pilipinas of the Philippine Superliga, demolished Hong Kong (25-20, 25-14, 25-14) during the Asian Club Championships last year—a game where the Philippines sparingly used imports. LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ceres XI ready to wage battle vs Singaporean side for crown Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers View commentslast_img read more

Umar Akmal cameo helps Lahore beat Mumbai

first_imgUmar Akmal hit an 18-ball unbeaten 38 as Lahore Lions beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by six wickets in their opening qualifying round match of the Champions League Twenty20 in Raipur on Saturday.Put into bat, Mumbai produced a mediocre batting display as they could score just 135 for seven with Aditya Tare top-scoring with a 37 and the Pakistani side comfortably chased down the target with eighth balls to spare.Ahmed Shehzad (34) and Nasir Jamshed (26) laid a good platform by stitching 51 runs for the opening wicket, but they looked like losing way in the middle overs as Mumbai came back strongly on the back of some fine bowling and fielding.Lahore needed 26 runs from the last three overs and the match headed towards a tight finish. But, Akmal turned the game on its head with a superb show of batting as he struck four fours and two sixes from 18 balls as Lahore ran away with a win.Meanwhile, New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson showed his prowess in the shortest format as he powered Northern Knights to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka’s Southern Express in a rain-curtailed opening game of the Champions League T20 in Raipur on Saturday.With heavy downpour and soggy outfield reducing the match to 10-overs per side, Southern Express managed 92 for five in 10 overs which was easily surpassed by the Northern side with three balls to spare. Williamson led the charge with a 29-ball-52. Earlier, openers Kusal Perera and Gunathilaka rode on their luck due to shoddy fielding from Northerns as Southern Express scored 92 for five in 10 overs.advertisementKusal smashed his way to 37 off 20 balls with seven boundaries as Gunathilaka contributed 39 off 26 balls with two fours and three sixes. The opening stand of 55 laid the foundation of a challenging score.Diminutive Kusal was quick to dispatch anything on his legs behind the square. His partner Gunathilaka was slow to begin as he was not timing the ball properly but later got into the groove. The openers were helped by some shoddy fielding as Northern dropped as many as six catches of the duo.last_img read more