Finally, I’ve finished this up and I’m getting it out there! The first Natron tutorial for OpenVisualFX. If you haven’t heard of Natron, it’s an open source compositing program very similar to Nuke. In fact, it’s similar enough that if you know one, you know the other. I wanted to come up with a fun scene with some relatively standard compositing work, the kind of thing an artist at a professional studio is going to be doing all the time, and the TNT television show The Last Ship gave me the perfect opportunity.
Occasionally I do some work on The Last Ship, and for season 3, episode 1 (see it at 1:55-2:08), I was tasked with putting a mural of one of the characters on a brick wall. In the world of visual effects, it was a pretty easy shot, and while working on it, I thought it would be a perfect introduction to compositing. While not being a complex shot, it does involve many techniques that are very commonplace and useful in visual effects.
Check out the scene we’ll be working on. Download it HERE.
I called up some actors, found a location, and went out to shoot a scene that replicates the shots from The Last Ship. It’s just a quick scene, where our main villain stumbles across a defaced mural of herself. And we won’t be concentrating on sound in this tutorial, so for the audio, I’m simply providing the finished clips as individual WAV tracks. That way, if you want to change things from what I did and put in your own music or sound fx, you can.
Check out the intro video above, download Natron and the assets below, and let’s get compositing! Keep a notepad nearby, there’s lots of hotkeys to remember. And if there’s anything specific you’d like me to cover in the future with Natron, please message me!
Oh, one last thing. I’m posting the script for the shoot, as well. It’s nothing amazing, and in fact, it’s not even a full page long. But this way you can see what went into getting the shots. Both the Trelby file and the PDF are in the zip file, and you can see how much it differs from the final scene.
- Pathway_mural_shot_01 footage
- Pathway_mural_shot_02 footage
- Pathway_mural_shot_03 footage
- Pathway_mural_shot_04 footage
- Matte painting elements
- Audio WAV files
- Project files
- BONUS filesets
Right click the names of the tutorials to download the videos directly.
Intro Tutorial – The Natron UI.
Tutorial 1 – Tracking & removing the window.
Tutorial 2 – Integrating the mural & creating a luma matte.
Tutorial 3 – Adding the graffiti.
Tutorial 4 – Adding some finishing touches – color correction, bloom, flare, and grain.
Tutorial 5 – Moving on to the next shot, which has different challenges, beginning with tracking.
Tutorial 6 – Removing the window, bringing in the mural and aligning it to match the previous shot.
Tutorial 7 – Copying over the luma matte, graffiti, and all the style nodes, then getting started on the rotoscoping.
Tutorial 8 – Timelapse of the rotoscoping.
Tutorial 9 – Finishing up the shots.
Tutorial 10 – BONUS! Hopefully, if you’ve watched to this point, you should have a pretty good guess at what it is.