I think you've done a really nice job already! But a few observations:
Like your previous moon shot, the greatest barrier here is lighting (although very slight, in this shot). Based on the compressed footage you've supplied, the blacks in the subject seem slightly more green/yellow than those of the background plate. The skin tone is very green, but that may be a vampire thing...?
I got no sense of disintegration from the effect - it comes across to me as a flash of light/transition. The eroded dissolve of the guy should be more visible, and the shot should perhaps remain longer so we see he's gone.
Your key, while very good, is killing the natural motion blur of his hand and arm, resulting in hard edges. If you can't tweak the key to preserve it, try duplicating the arm and adding some artifical directional blur for a few frames.
Your blacks are different between foreground and background plates. You also need much more light wrap. It's hard to tell, but when your guy goes away the light wrap should increase dramatically. You can achieve this by working in 32bit projects. It's the only way to really simulate real world lighting effects.
You might want to checkout this post in the AE portal. There are a bunch of links to light wrap and compositing tutorials.
Hope this helps.
The directional key lighting is different between the two scenes. Huge issue that immediately says "fake" to today's very hip viewers.
When the guy vaporizes away you must add motivational lighting to the background, he's bright. that's difficult because you don't have access to the 3D elements of the background plate but you must imply the light from his transport beam is really there.
Yes you're right! The key is on the opposite side. Suffice to say I will not be working with this DP again, this is a major issue I've been trying to solve with no luck. Can you explain what you mean by motivational lighting, like should I add a "light" to the background for that because basically the lens flare is only in the foreground or?
That's a good link! I actually posted that one in the moon topic I created. I will experiment with adding more light wrap during his disappearance. Genius idea about switching to the 32-bit color settings for the project, thank you for that!! I've switched the project to 16 bit (because the light wrap seen in the tutorial you posted does not support 32-bit) + HDTV, how are those settings?
Rick Gerard & Andrew Yoole:
How exactly should I go about matching the black levels? Do they appear too black? Should I lower gamma? Also about the yellow/greens - my dp spilled tungsten all over the back of the subject neck, *b a s t a r d* I've desaturated color from his skin tone as much as I can but what would you suggest there in regard to adjusting that??
I'm looking forward to your replies ! This has been very helpful.
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"How exactly should I go about matching the black levels?"
You can buy Synthetic Apertures test gear and use the scopes to match blacks with curves, levels ect. Or you could take both clips into Magic Bullet Looks and use those scopes. Or you could bring both clips (foreground and BG) into Premiere Pro and use the scopes there to match blacks between clips. Or Synthetic Apertures Color Finesse can also help you match clips....
Or of course you could match the blacks putting a levels effect on each clip and matching the two with curves, another levels or whatever you want. Keep the an untouched Levels effect at the bottom of the FX stack on each clip so you can have a histogram to read.
There are Auto-effects you could apply to match the two clips but most likely it won't match the rest of the footage in the scene.
After Effects needs built in Scopes bad.
Here is the latest result from all of your input. Personally I think he is less ugly now. The blacks appear to be closer to matching now, but what do you think?
Also just a note: I have added another layer that is lust his arm with a 180 degree directional blur, it looks good when he is moving his arm. As a side note do you think this needs even more of a light wrap? Right now it is around 80 pixels.
Can you explain what you mean by motivational lighting, like should I add a "light" to the background for that because basically the lens flare is only in the foreground or?
"Motivational lighting" is a term applied to lighting on a set, also known as "practical lighting" but that implies the lights come on when the switch on the wall is activated by an actor. Motivational lights are added during shooting when the object or effects creating the lighting aren't really there.