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Compositing Reel: Visual Effects

Demo reels can be a great way to get a feel how clips are put together, what software is involved and the steps taken to make it all look real. Mark Sniffen, a recent graduate of the School of Film and Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has upload his reel complete with a scene by scene breakdown.

Its great to watch:

Mark Sniffen Compositing Reel 2010 from Mark Sniffen on Vimeo.

Reel Breakdown:

Shot 1:
Software: After Effects, Syntheyes, Blender
Role: Supervised filming. Decision made on-location to create digital dandelion spores. Match-moved the shot in Syntheyes. Modeled, simulated, lit, and rendered the dandelion petals in Blender. Composited the CG dandelion with the footage in After Effects.

Shot 2:
Software: After Effects, Blender
Role: Used the photo reference to model, animate, light, and render the water in Blender. Exported camera move to After effects. Positioned landscape elements in 3D space within After Effects and composited elements.

Shot 3:
Software: After Effects, Syntheyes, Blender, Photoshop
Role: Supervised filming. Match-moved the shot in Syntheyes. Modeled, textured, lit, and rendered the CG spaceship in Blender using the camera solve data. Created the planet and stars in Photoshop. Brought the elements into After Effects to composite.

Shot 4:
Software: Nuke, Syntheyes
Role: Supervised filming. Match-moved the footage in Syntheyes. Projected a rotoshape onto geometry of the window in Nuke to help key the window. Used various photos to assemble the city in Nuke's 3D space. Simulated a depth of field with a blur and added city lights.

Shot 5:
Software: Nuke
Role: Supervised filming. Composited pixelated footage behind the door. Keyed the bluescreen, 2D tracked the footage to match the camera move. Had to manually roto the actor to increase his exposure due to the lack of light coming from the doorway.

Shot 6:
Software: After Effects
Role: Matted and rotoscoped out the angled wheels on the trunk. Isolated each wheel with 2D stabilization in After Effects. Rotated the wheels to be straight, and composited over the original footage.

Shot 7:
Software: After Effects
Role: Supervised filming. Was filmed on tripod; however a focus pull caused the lens to breathe. Matched lens breath by hand. 2D tracked the shot to match the girl sitting to the original shot's camera pan.

Shot(s) 8:
Software: Nuke
Role: Painted out reflections in windows and air freshener on wall. Did some manual tracking and some assisted 2D tracking to match rotoshapes to the shot.

Shot 9:
Software: After Effects, Blender, Photoshop
Role: Modeled, textured, animated, lit, and rendered CG elements in Blender. Color correction, depth of field, and space particles added in After Effects.

If you want to contact Mark then head over to for his full resume and details.

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