After Effects CC Sky Replacement - Tracking & Compositing For Beginners In Adobe After Effects | Will Bartlett | Skillshare

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After Effects CC Sky Replacement - Tracking & Compositing For Beginners In Adobe After Effects

teacher avatar Will Bartlett, Video Creator & Entrepreneur

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. How To Sky Replacement In After Effects CC INTRODUCTION

    • 2. Editing the sky replacement part 1

    • 3. Editing the sky replacement part 2

    • 4. Editing the sky replacement part 3

    • 5. Tracking The Footage part 4

    • 6. Compositing The Sky Replacement part 5

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About This Class

Welcome to my 'How To Sky Replacement In After Effects CC' class!

The footage and sky image that I use in the class is included for you to download within the 'Class Project' so you can follow along!

This is a tracking and compositing class for beginners where you will learn how to edit in a new sky image into footage that will seamlessly replace the original sky.

This is a handy technique that can make your footage look much better and often takes is the only way to fix an overexposed sky in footage.

In this class you will learn how to:

  1. Crop an image and place it in the correct spot on your footage
  2. Use various color correction effects to properly adjust the image
  3. Blend the image using luminance to help perfect the composite
  4. Track your footage
  5. Composite and do final adjustments to complete the sky replacement

There's a lot that is covered in this class, and many techniques/ workflows that can be used in other projects!

I'll be your instructor for the class; My name's Will Bartlett and I've been a Professional Cinematographer & Editor for over 10 years and a Content Creator for over 15. I run an established video production company based out of Toronto, and an online brand that's trained 200,000+ students.

*If you don't have After Effects, you can get a free trial off of Adobe's website to follow along.*

Meet Your Teacher

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Will Bartlett

Video Creator & Entrepreneur


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About me:

I've been a professional Cinematographer & Editor for 10+ years and a Content Creator for 15. Over the years, I've worked with dozens of production companies and hundreds of clients from Canada and the United States. I run several media businesses including a Toronto based video production company, an online brand that's trained over 200,000 students, and a Filmmaking YouTube channel called Alli and Will.

Categories I specialize in: Video Production (Filming, Editing, Visual Effects), Entrepreneurship/Business, Investing, Marketing and Branding.

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1. How To Sky Replacement In After Effects CC INTRODUCTION: Welcome to the sky Replacement aftereffects Course in this course will be working with this clip here. This is a clip of me walking along the beach in Tofino in British Columbia, and as you can see, the sky is blown out, the clips a little over exposed, so there's not much detail there. So the goal here is to replace the sky with an image and track it to the background. Change the colors and composited so that you could never tell that this clip was originally blown out. So this is the clip that we're going to be working with. I've included it in the course so you can download it and follow along. As I change all the settings and performed the work here, the final result will look like this. So as you can see with this specific clip, it makes a big difference. In the end result. The finished clip looks a lot better because of all the detail added back in this guy because of our cloud image, and it really was just that. Just a cloud image that I found on a stock website, and I've included that in the course as well along with the footage to download. But if you want to find that photo or other photos yourself, I got it on picks. Obey dot com. I went to the search bar, typed in sky, and then here's the picture here on the second page. So this is the picture that I downloaded and used as the Sky Replacement. I did download the largest resolution, and as you can see, it's free for commercial use and no attribution is required. So this website is great for any stock clips that you want to use commercially or just for fun while you're learning. And if you want to learn more for me, I have several other courses on video editing, as well as a YouTube channel called Ali. And Will we make travel videos, flogs how to tutorials and review videos, all based around cinematography and editing or filmmaking in general. So we have a ton of other great content on our YouTube channel. If you want to check that out on Allie and will 2. Editing the sky replacement part 1: Okay, so now that you have an idea of what we're gonna be working with, we have this clip and our sky replacement picture. Let's open up after effects and let's import both are files into aftereffects. Then let's grab our clip and drag it down to a new composition. This button here will create a composition that is the same length and has all the same settings as your footage. We'll go to fit the footage of me walking along the beach is 1920 by 10 80 so it's HD footage and our image, as you can see, is much larger. So let's bring it down above our clip. Then we'll change it to 33.3% so we can see around our image and then on the scale, we will adjust it to about 30% or so. We want to make sure that it overlaps just a bit, and this will make sense later on the course. But throughout the footage, the image will change, so it's good to have it larger than the actual frame size. And if that doesn't make sense right now, it's OK because later on it will make sense so we have now is our footage with our image on top. Since we only want this guy and not the ground of the image, let's click on our image and we will create a mask with our rectangle tool. If you don't have this one, you can click and hold and then select the rectangle tool. So with this rectangle to what we're going to mask out the bottom of the picture. So from the left side, roughly where the sky meets the land, we will start a little off screen and bring it all the way across. And now that it's cut in half, it's doing the opposite of what we want. So instead of ad, we wanted to go to subtract so that it subtracts the area we selected. So now you can see the bottom half of our footage in the top half of our picture. Down here in the mask, let's open it up, then, on our mask feather, let's set it to 150. That will create a nice blend into the footage, and then what we want to do is go back to our regular tool and then with our layer selected . We will click the right corner and we want to bring it down just a little bit. So it lines up with the edge here, and then our top one will bring it up just a bit. And the reason we're doing this is because we want to set up the image and composited on our first frame exactly how it should be. So on our first frame, the horizons a little off and creating our mask like this so it's on a bit of an angle will work the best for compositing. The next thing we'll do is on our picture. Layer will go into transform, and on the opacity will set that to 75%. That will help lend it in a little bit more with the background. 3. Editing the sky replacement part 2: now, the next thing we're gonna do is start adjusting some colors by adding some effects to the picture layer, and that will make it feel like it fits a lot better with our footage and will type in Lumet Tree color. And then we'll drag it onto our picture and then up here in our effect controls. If you don't have this window, by the way, you could go to effect controls under window, then under basic correction, then under temperature. Let's set it to minus 70 so that made it a lot bluer, and you can see the difference of that. So within the temperature range, anything on the minus side will be more blue. Anything on the plus side will be more orange, so because our image has a lot of blue tones in it, you can see here in the reflections and in the water. That's why we set it to minus 70. So we made this guy a lot more blue than it originally. Waas. Then let's go into curves and under Huber saturation, we're going to isolate some of the colors and then pull down the saturation so that we're only left with the blue tones in our sky because we haven't sent to 75 you can't really see it right now. But there are some subtle red tones in our sky to do that on our Huber saturation, where the yellow meets the green. Let's make a dot right there and then on the right side, where the purple and red are will make a dot just in the middle and then on the far left side will click and drag all the way down to about there and then one more to their. So what we're doing is we're leaving all the greens and blues and kind of purple colors, and we're getting rid of all the yellows, the oranges and the reds. If we wanted, we could go over just a bit more with the greens so that we're getting rid of a little more of the yellowish green tones so that we're only leaving these colors and again. It is very subtle, but that's what color correcting end compositing is all about. It's about making subtle changes that all together create a great result. Okay, so we could go up to the limit tree color and the effect controls and minimize that. We can also close transform and masks and as you can see the backer and has been composited pretty well, and it does make a big difference compared to what it used to be. So now we have to fix the top part of my body here, where there's some transparency happening. 4. Editing the sky replacement part 3: So now we have to fix the top part of my body here, where there's some transparency happening. So in order to do that, let's click on the bottom layer will go to edit. Duplicate will bring to the top, and now it looks like we're back at the beginning, as if we've done nothing to the footage. So in order to get the top part of my body to composite well and to ignore everything else , we need to use an effect called Lou Mackey. So we'll type in Loma and we'll drag that two are duplicated layer and then inner effect controls under Lewicki. We're gonna set the key type two key out brighter. So right now it's said to Kiev, darker. So if we were to make some changes, it would remove the darker spots of the image. But we want to remove the brighter spot. So it's it this two key out brighter. Then we'll set the edge feather to one. The edge thinness toe one. Was that the tolerance to about 17 and for the threshold. When we start to increase this number, you'll see what starts to happen. Defects starts to prioritize the darker spots in the image to keep them and preserve them. So let's go ahead and raise it and my shoulders air in, and then the majority of my neck is in. So around 140 or so should work, so that looks very good. So what this is doing with the duplicated layer and the Lumen effect on Lee King out the brighter spots, keeping the darker spots. If we turn off our duplicated layer, you can see what it's doing. So that's how we can bring back certain parts of our footage if we're working with a lighter background in a darker foreground or vice versa again, depending on your footage, you can either choose to keep out the brighter or key out, the darker. Now, before we start tracking composite in the background so it sticks to the footage the entire time. We need to add an adjustment. Layer and color correct the entire image at once, so let's go to Layer new and we'll add an adjustment layer. Well, press enter and name this one c c for color correction. Then let's go back to our effects in presets and will bring back in loom ITRI color. So we'll add that to our color correction adjustment layer. And then, in our effect controls panel will go into basic correction again. And now that we have the sky very blue that matches the rest of our footage, we can roll back everything at once on the color correction adjustment layer. So we'll set this to about 30 or so, which will warm up the footage a little bit. I am in a T shirt, so it makes a little more sense for it to look a little more hot. And typically, when you're footage is more blue, it comes off as colder. When your footage is more, orange comes off as a hotter environment. So I think 30 looks good for this clip. And then, as the final glue in terms of color to bring everything together, will add some contrast. And this will dark in all the image and help everything blend in a lot better. So, under contrast, will bring up to it's a 40 or so. Okay, that's looking good. This is the difference of our adjustment layer color correction, and then let's click on her picture layer, and as you can see here along the water and area. It's not exactly sharp, and that's because it's in the background and the focus is set to me in the foreground. So this is slightly out of focus, however, are Sky is in focus, so we want to blur our sky adjustment layer just a little bit, so it matches are footage a little more closely, so it's go back to our effects and presets and type in fast. Then we'll add fast box blur to our picture layer. And then, in our effect, controls will click on repeat edge pixels that will make sure that our blur effect goes completely to our corners and all around the edges. And then under the Blur radius, let's set it to about three. So again, if I cycle it, you'll see that it doesn't do too much. But it's just enough to soften our picture layer 5. Tracking The Footage part 4: Okay, so at this point, we've done all of the color correction and blending that we need to do. However, we haven't done any of the tracking, so if we play this, you'll notice that the sky doesn't move. However the footage does, and it just doesn't look right because the sky is supposed to be following the background. So this is moving. But this is just completely static because it is a picture. So what we need to do is track the footage so that our picture layer follows it perfectly. There are several ways to track in after effects, and they all have their use cases. However, the one that I prefer to use in the one that I think will work best for this scenario is called Mocha. It's a free program that comes with after effects, So in order to track our footage inside, Mocha will click in our background layer because this is the layer that we want to track. They will go to animation and tracking Boris effects mocha. And if you want to learn more about tracking in mocha, I do have a course specifically on motion tracking and compositing that covers several different examples. So if you want to learn more about that, they're on my profile. So up in our effect controls we now have, Mocha added. So it's click on the mocha logo that will open up Mocha and bring our footage inside. If your screen doesn't look like mine, you can change it from essentials to classic. So now let's scrub through footage, get an idea of what we're working with here. So the footage moves around quite a bit, and I want you to pay attention to this area here. So as we scrub through, it moves off screen to the left a little bit, and then it continues, zooming in as it moves up and down so we can other track this side or this side. But I think the left side will be better to use because there's some cloud detail as well that we could take advantage of now in this specific clip. We don't want to track down here or over here because as I move forward, the camera moves forward and the perspective change of here and here will be very different from the background. Since it is a background, it pretty much stays exactly the same the whole time. It just scales a little bit and moves around in its position, But it doesn't really change in perspective, and the same goes with the sky. We don't want to tracking this guy because there's just simply nothing to track here. It's just white. So to start tracking Mocha, let's click on the Explain tool, and then we'll click a whole bunch of times, and then once we're done, we'll right click to end it and we'll draw shaped something like that. So I've included a little bit of the clouds and just a little bit of the water doesn't have to be exactly like this if you're following along. But for this clip, this is roughly the selection you want to make. And like I said, I try to avoid this area and even this area appear because there will be some perspective Change as the camera moves forward with a layer selected under minimum percent of pixels used will increase that by clicking and then doing circles to get up to 90% or so. It doesn't have to be exact, but I found that tracking when using about 90% of the pixels in the area will give you good results. It will take a little longer, though, and then next to that, we want to make sure that translation scale rotation in shiran but not perspective, because the part of the image were tracking. There's no perspective changes, just scaling position and some rotation. Okay. And then what we're gonna do is track Ford with this button here. As the left part of our track goes off screen, we're going to stop it and make some adjustments. So, as you can see, it's going across and this is getting close, so we'll stop it there. And then, as you can see beside my left shoulder here, there's some space now and our track is off a bit. So what we can do is bring all of these way, moreover, and essentially just reset apart tracking, and then that'll create a green key frame. There's one of the beginning one here now and then we'll track forward again so as it tracks forward will keep an eye on this. So if it goes off, will it stop again? Okay, so so far it's looking pretty good, but you can see it's starting to get closer so we'll get ready to hit the stop button. Okay, so again we'll adjust this okay and we'll continue. As you can see, that footage is moving up. It's doing a great job of tracking that. Alright, so I've stopped it there because it's heading back on a screen again. So we will move these over once more, and then that should be good for the final. So we'll just hit the play button. And if we go to the end here and grab the selection and then drag it across, we'll see what it's doing. So its animating the tracking data between all the key frames who made and that will help create a better track. Then we will hit file save, and then we're now done in MOCA, so we'll close that. 6. Compositing The Sky Replacement part 5: All right, now we're back in after effects. Since we saved our work in MOCA, it will be saved in here, ready to go. So under tracking data, let's open that up. And before we do anything here, I'm gonna talk a bit about the workflow that I'm gonna use. So for tracking stuff like this, I like to create a controller layer and that is done by creating a null object. So let's go up to layer new and select no object. So these air essentially blank layers that you can attach data to, which will act as controllers for other layers. So under no layer, let's hit, enter and then type controller and then back on our bottom layer that has mocha on it under layer export to Let's select. The controller will go up to the tracking data, create track data and then beside the layer. We will turn on the little gear icon and hit OK, What that did is it brought in all of the tracking data that we set up in Mocha, and it brought it into the mocha plug in inside after effects. The next thing we need to do is under export options instead of corner pin. Let's change it to transform. And then again because we've said it to export to our controller. No layer. When we hit, apply export. It will send all this tracking data to the controller. So let's go ahead and do that. And if we clicked controller, all of the red stuff before it is all the key frames for where the null object follows, which essentially is our tracking data. But we still have not attached to her picture layer to our controller. No object. So in order to do that so that throughout the whole footage it follows the footage. Let's go to our picture layer and then we'll go to where it's his parent and link, and we will grab the pick, whip and pick whipped the controller layer. You can also click the little drop down menu here and choose the layer this way and then our picture sky replacement should be perfectly tracked to our footage, and this should look seamless. So let's go ahead and preview this. All right, so that is done. Now you can see that are sky follows our footage perfectly throughout our entire composition. There's just one more thing to do, and that is to add grain to our picture. Because it is a still image footage, naturally will have a little bit of grain in it. And believe it or not, it's always best when footage has a slight amount of grain in it. Because footage, after all, is just a whole bunch of pictures, one after another, changing very quickly. So there's bound to be some slight variances in each picture. However, in our case, in our composite, there's only one picture that stays the exact same throat our entire composition. So we need to add some green to that. To do that, let's go up to effects and presets and will simply type in grain. And then we'll add the grain to our picture and then, in our effect controls window. We've added the ad grain effect to it, and the only thing we need to do is under viewing mode will change this to final output. Now, keep in mind if you have a slower computer, adding this effect will slow down your project considerably, so it's up to you. If you'd like to add this effect to the pictures, you work with. I always do, because it creates the most professional best looking result. But again, it's up to you and to bring you up to speed with what we were talking about the beginning of the course as to why we had our picture layer slightly larger than our actual frame. That's because, as we scrub through since now, we've attached the picture to our footage with the tracking data. As we scrub through, you'll see that the footage at certain points gets closer to the edge and kind of moves around a bit. So if we had scaled it to the exact same sizes are frame, the result of that would have been the right side of the picture would have revealed itself on the right side of our frame. So it would have been something. So it would have been something like that. And of course, that's not what we want. All right, so we're now done the effect. And of course, the last thing we need to do is export the final video. So we'll go up to composition add to render queue and then down here in the render queue. I've already made a preset so we'll select that. But if you don't have it, you can click on any of the presets and then we'll turn audio off because we don't need any audio. Well, then choose quick time under format options. We will choose Apple Pro Rez. We'll click. OK, okay. Again. And then we'll name the file navigate to a folder. We want to save it and we'll give it a name that makes sense for our finished result and then hit save. And then the last thing we need to do is hit. Render. So for me, it will take about 15 or 20 minutes on this computer to export. And once it exports, you have the final finished video with the completed sky replacement. All right, so that brings us to the end of this aftereffects sky replacement course. I didn't teach a lot of cool techniques and work flows to replace this guy by using just a still image and then eventually add some green to it, track it and what not to get to the final result. And it does make a big difference, as you can see from the original one, which literally just has white in the background. It's over exposed compared to the finished one. And if you want to learn more for me, I have several other courses on video editing, as well as a YouTube channel called Ali. And Will we make travel videos, vlogs how to tutorials and review videos, all based around cinematography and editing or filmmaking in general. So we have a ton of other great content on our YouTube channel. If you want to check that out on Allie and will thanks again for enrolling this course and I'll see you next time.