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Working on a Film Riot Sketch

Sean Mullen @SMVFX from @RampantDesign created visual effects for a Film Riot Episode.

Wow, this was such a fantastic experience. I’m at a loss for words. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, seriously. I got to work on one of my favorite shows for some of my favorite people. That doesn’t happen often. Working with Ryan was a ton of fun. He’s a phenomenal Director and I enjoyed compositing for him. Josh was hilarious, the way he and Ryan play off one another can’t be beat. I’ve had the honor of working for Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling and Glen Larson… Now I get to add Ryan Connolly to that list. Life is good. #BestDayEver

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[toggle title=”Video Transcription”]Film Riot Force Push a Car Video Transcription

Ryan Connolly: Today on Film Riot we move a car. Forcefully. See what I did?
Josh Connolly: Man.
I need you to move your car.
Ryan Connolly: Busy.
Josh Connolly: You’re on YouTube.
Ryan Connolly: So, so, busy.
Josh Connolly: Come on, man. I got to go.
Ryan Connolly: You move it.
Josh Connolly: It’s your car.
Ryan Connolly: It’s your prerogative.
Josh Connolly: What?
Ryan Connolly: What?
Josh Connolly: Do or do not. There is no try.
Ryan Connolly: What?
Josh Connolly: Never mind. I’ll move it.
Ryan Connolly: Wait, you need the keys.
Josh Connolly: Need anything from the store?
No? Okay then. See you later. [00:02:00]
Ryan Connolly: Welcome to Film Riot. The show that takes mystery out of the effects and techniques that go into some of your favorite Hollywood films. I’m your host Ryan Connolly and we have been friends with Sean Mullen of of Rampant Design for a while now and we’ve told you all about the assets that they sell but something that you might not know is that Sean is a great VFX artist himself and he has been doing it a long, long time. He’s worked on stuff like NCIS, Nip/Tuck, Six Feet Under, Any Given Sunday, Lake Placid, which does make me geek out a little bit, and a bunch more.
We decided to ask Sean to come on the show and teach some of his digital wizardry and today we’re doing exactly that so now I will shut up and let Sean show you how to force push a car.
Sean Mullen: Hey, hey, everybody. I’m Sean Mullen from Rampant Design Tools dot com and today we’re talking about the force push effect for Film Riot where Josh devastates Ryan’s SUV because he won’t move it.
This was all done in after effects with element 3D and some roto and some tracking. This takes two plates to pull off this effect. The first plate that Film Riot crew gave me was Josh reacting and doing the force push effect without the SUV, and the second plate was Ryan’s SUV without Josh and then Josh walks in for a frame of reference so we can find positional frame and scale and all that.
All right, so the first thing you have to do because locked off cameras are boring, is you have to track the shot so I tracked the camera using the after effects 3D camera tracker. As you can see, no matter what I did it failed on me. The after effects camera tracker is not very forgiving and it’s pretty picky so when it doesn’t work out you should always have a backup plan. No problem. I went to the foundry and used the foundry camera tracker, which they have a free trial, if you’ve never used it and you can also rent it if you don’t want to buy it. It’s a fantastic tracker so the first thing I do is I track the features which throws on a bunch of 2D points.
When that’s done I go ahead and solve for the camera. Once it’s solved for the camera we create a scene. Really easy to use software, it’s fantastic, [00:04:00] and super powerful, and now I’ve got a 3D scene. I can put anything in the shot that I want to. I always test that out by slapping in some text real quick to make sure that my camera track is solid. Now if I hit preview Film Riot tracks with the shot so I know I’ve got a legitimate 3D track.
On to the next thing. It’s time to roto Ryan’s SUV. I’ve got to put the SUV inside the shot with Josh and get it off of the plate that it’s currently on so I grab the masking tool and get busy roto-ing Ryan’s SUV off the shot.
As you can see I’ve got Ryan’s SUV now in the track shot and it looks great except for that whole Josh being behind the SUV thing so now it’s time to roto Josh.
As you can now we’ve got Josh cut out and he’s over Ryan’s SUV and now it’s time to start animating. I’m going to go ahead and create a note here and attach Ryan’s SUV to the note so I can start doing my animation. I do all my animation with notes so that way I can isolate each animation path. The first animation path I’m going to do is the initial blast where the car goes up and out of the frame.
All right, the best way to help sell this force push effect is to damage the SUV and because Ryan wouldn’t let us damage his SUV for real, we had to cheat it in after effects so I went ahead and I grabbed this image from shutter stock and roto’d out the dent and tweaked the colors to help match on the SUV, as possible, and duplicated it all over the car. Then I created two masks on the [inaudible 00:05:30]. One hiding the dents and the other revealing the dent so as Josh throws his arms you can see the dent reveal.
In order to make this effect work we eventually had to extrude in 3D and add a 3D car to the 2D car so we initially thought we’d like to pull this off in element 3D and I talked to Ryan and Andrew Kramer ffrom Video Co-Pilot hooked us up with this amazing model here. As you can see it’s not the exact same SUV as Ryan’s but that’s okay because we’re doing the transition up and out of frame. [00:06:00] Really this model is just a 3D extension of the 2D car. The transition from the 3D car to the 2D car happens up and out of frame because we all thought that the comedic timing worked better that way, but I’ve pulled the car down into the shot so you can see that essentially the 2D car is like a flat billboard stuck on top of the 3D car. Essentially as the 2D car rotates it slowly disappears leaving only the 3D car in the shot.
All right, and the very final step to make this work is to add a little bit of dust on top so that when Josh throws his fists out against the car a little bit of dust kicks up and to do that we used a free smoke helmet from 4KFree dot com. Dropped it in, dropped the opacity, and tinted it to more of a dusty color and boom. That’s it. That’s our force push effect. Little bit of tracking, little bit of roto, some element 3D, and some animation and you’re good to go. I’m Sean Mullen from Rampant Design. Thanks for watching.
Ryan Connolly: If you’re a budding filmmaker, entrepreneur, Domain dot com is the place to go when that next idea hits you in the face. I know that you’ve heard it say a bunch that the lists of available domain extensions is growing but now you have the opportunity to name your site and build your brand in ways that were never before possible. Choose from a growing list of 400+ domain name extensions like dot com, dot org, dot design, and dot club. And, to show you some love they’re giving you 25% off their already affordable prices when you get domain names, web hosting, and email. Just use the coupon code Film Riot at domain dot com’s check out and when you think domain names think domain dot com.
That’s it for today. If you would like to follow the very awesome Sean on Twitter you can find him right here and definitely check out Rampant Design if you’re looking for some assets, they have some of the best stuff out there.
I will see you all next week when I keep asking everyone if they want a peanut.

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