2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2013 12:00 AM by Pierre Devereux

    Affect Assistance - Clouds

    Pierre Devereux Level 2



      I am aware that this is a question that is asked all the time, and I have had a lok at several tutorials, and several products, but just cant seem to find one that looks like it would work in our project. I am worried about spending vast amounts of money on footage/products that will not help. I obviously am not against spending money on this, I just want the forums collective advice as where to go for it.


      As most of you know, we are shooting a childrens TV show with miniatures. Real life sets, Real life characters and real life ship models (space ships). I am currently proofing as couple of flying scenes. I am having particular (no pun intended) trouble getting the clouds to look real, and then getting them to react in a 3D fashion in After Effects. I have several still shots of clouds that I have keyed out, using various procedures, and some of them work quite well in flying shots. Any shot where the ships are moving in a "mostly" 2D way (from side to side) , these still shots work quite nicely. Even shots of the camera rotating around the ship, say from left side, around the noseof the ship all the way to the right side, a nice big still image works well if its positioned is configured in AE. It actually feels 3D, and feels like a nice rotation.


      My biggest issue at this point, is getting shots of the ships either flying through clouds (view from insode cockpit out *POV*) or the camera static relative to the ship, and the clouds are zipping away from us. I cant seem to figure out the correct settings in particular to get this to look right, even when using the clouds I have keyed as sprites, it still looks way to "Flat" to me.


      I am also aware that this is probably a technique that takes years to perfect, and since I have only been using AE for around 2, and spending most of that time learning how the package works - rather than specific effect techniques, I guess I know why I cant get it to look right.


      I have been trying to get some information on Video CoPilots new JetStrike pack, but I cant see if this works as a stand-alone plug in, or if 3D Elements is required to make it work (we dont have 3D elements yet - as, to date, I have been unable to justify purchasing it). are these skymaps moving clips, or large stills that get wrapped around your scene - what is used to make them work?


      Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even some sources to get ggod cloud footage or stills (that dont cost $80 for 5 seconds!)


      My next idea, is to send a GoPro up on a DJI Phantom.


      Thank you



        • 1. Re: Affect Assistance - Clouds
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          The trick to making this look real is to use multiple 3D layers and put some of them at an angle so the camera is flying over something like a ground plane that is a semi-transparent cloud layer. Except for some atmospheric haze or other atmospheric effects you shouldn't need a particle system. Just several layers of clouds arranged at angles should do it.


          When you are flying a plane, and I've got many thousands of hours, there's really not much of a 3D experience unless you are flying between a lot of cumulous clouds that are very close together. It's mostly fog (in a cloud) or shapes above, below, or to the side. There's very little perspective change on clouds you are approaching until you get very close.

          • 2. Re: Affect Assistance - Clouds
            Pierre Devereux Level 2

            Hi Rick,


            Thank you. This makes sense, and I have been able to pull off some nice effects with 3D layers spaced as you suggest, also, a great tip I saw was to always tilt your camera slightly downwards, it adds a lot to the effect. Does anyone have any suggestions where ot get some cloud JPEGS or something? I grabbed a bunch off the net, but keying them can be quite tricky. I get results that are not terrible as such, but most are quite small, and scaling causes the obvious softness, and all depth is lost.


            Flying sideways works well, spinning works well, it is the question of "How many layers will I need to simulate flying towards the camera for a few seconds?"


            This is also why I am so interrested in the VIdeo CoPilot skyscapes. I would love to know what they look like...