Custom Hand Painted Titles For Film and Video | Brent Holzhauer | Skillshare

Custom Hand Painted Titles For Film and Video

Brent Holzhauer, Practical effects at a practical cost!

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7 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Demonstration

    • 3. Painting The Titles

    • 4. Green Screen

    • 5. Animation

    • 6. Tracking

    • 7. Outro


About This Class

Often, new film makers are discouraged when they realize they can’t recreate the snazzy title work of the Hollywood films they know and love. This class will develop the techniques and creativity necessary to design and execute unique, one of a kind titles and effects, all on a shoestring budget. Students will learn how to blend Adobe After Effects skills with in-camera practical effects. This class is geared towards students looking to expand their filmmaking ‘bag of tricks’ with ingenuity and distinct visual style. Basic camera operation and computer skills required.


1. Introduction: film making is a very collaborative art and in any film making problem, solving and ingenuity become essential skills to develop because you end up feeling a lot of different shoes, both on set and off. It turns out this is a really great and approachable way toe. Immerse yourself in your art and really expand your filmmaking bag of tricks. This party is great because it covers a wide range of basic skill sets and motion tracking and compositing, a little bit of green screen work and a lot of helpful tips and tricks along the way. My name's burn holes. How are I'm a student and aspiring indie filmmaker? 2. Project Demonstration: our approach for accomplishing this effect is gonna involved physically painting the titles onto a plate of glass and then taking a picture of that over a green screen and then layering it into our background footage. So there's a lot you need to know about your project before beginning. Um, and once you know the general vibe, you're going for you ready to get your background footage, and I would definitely recommend getting your background footage first, because it kind of informs a lot of your other creative decisions. For example, I know that I won't incorporate the text into the background environment itself. And to do that I need to track the motion of the camera and after effects and really shaky or jittery footage is very difficult to track later. So locking down the camera on a tripod or some other kind of camera that's going to smooth motion out is really gonna save me a lot of work in the long run. You also need to be aware of your background footage color because you need the text to contrast the background nicely. So since I'm using a black background, I chose a white text when you capture your background footage, it's important to keep in mind your composition and leave space for the text to go and think about the layout of your text. Should I use A, you know should put the text in a block format or make it a long ways across the screen. Is it just one word you need to be aware of these things when you're getting your background footage and leave space to them accordingly? Okay, let's take a look at the background footage I'm gonna end up using for this project. Um, as you see, it's pretty straightforward, just a black background with the microphone and it pans a nice little movement. I'll probably end up putting the text somewhere in this area and maybe even adding a little bit of digital camera movement. Um, on the in there to add a little more interest because there's not a lot going on in this image. Um, there are a few problems with the footage, um, that I'm going to need to fix. First of all this, this guy's freakin heads gotta go, but since it's a black background, it actually is pretty easy to get rid of him just probably gonna mask it off, and then it gets a little shaky at the end here. Um, I could probably stabilize it, but the Clippers long enough, I probably won't have to. 3. Painting The Titles: Now that you're backgrounds done, you already start thinking about the layout for the font or custom letter work you want to do. For the final project, I was able to find a cheap picture frame from a local thrift store and, ah, here I am just taping up the edges because it was a bit sharp. I'm not gonna go into too much detail here, but if you find yourself frustrated coming up with some lettering you like, just remember that skill shares a great resource for this type of thing. I thought a nice clean font would look nice for this project. A friend of mine came up with this concept. I printed it out and then just taped it to the bottom of the glass. I recommend using acrylic paint for this project. It's cheap, and it's really easy to clean up. If you mess up with spot in the glass, just let it dry and you can scrape it off with the razor and redo just that section instead of the whole thing. It'll save you a lot of time 4. Green Screen: now that you're happy with your letters were ready for the green screen. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be green. Green works really well with digital cameras because they have more green sensors than red or blue. But it doesn't have to be green as long as it contrasts your letters. If you're using green letters, for example, you can't use a green screen. You have to use blue or some other color, usually as long as it's a uniform, solid color background. That's contrast ing. Whatever you're putting in front of it. It worked just fine. There's a few things you should be aware of. First of all, any time you're using a green screen, it's really, really important to make sure that everything is evenly lead as possible. Any shadows or hard contrast ing things on the green screen will show up later. I wanted to show you can actually take advantage of this fact. Ah, here I am propping up the glass on a few quarters, and there will create this nice drop shadow effect on my letters. I'm using a black background, so it's probably not going to show up, but I thought I'd be cool to show you. Anyway, The green screen I'm using is actually just a poster board from a local drugstore for this . It worked for the wall. When you're ready to take the picture, make sure you lock down your camera on a tripod. That way it comes out as clean as possible. Okay, Now that you have your pictures in your background ready, we're gonna take it all in after effects. So up here is your project window. And this is where all your files can be found. Just right. Click here import file, and then you can bring in the files. You need. I I've already done this. Um, actually made up two different title cards, one with my name and the one that says practical title. I thought it might be interesting to change between them. So I'm gonna take my first title card, and we drop it down in new composition by dropping in on this little logo here. So here's my composition. Um, obviously is already to the wrong way. I'm just gonna push on this layer and push our on the keyboard to bring up the rotation and rotated 90 degrees. Um, you can also get down to these options by just twirling down this area, and they're all right there. So now it's positioned a little high. I'll push P to bring up the position and just drop it down a little bit. I'm not too concerned with the composition being the wrong orientation, because this picture is way more information than I need, because my background footage is only in 7 20 So now I need to create a mask around the area that I'm interested in. Push G on the keyboard to bring up your pen tool or come up over here to this little girl. Make sure you're on the right layer. By the way, click this layer first. Otherwise, you're gonna create a shape labor over this, and that's not what we want to do. You want to create a layer right on top of this, just the part we're interested in and cut out the rest if you have a lot of excess. Even if there's nothing Orel event like the quarters of the tape in the picture, you really should make a good practice of cutting out the interesting parts because it's going to save your computer a lot of work because it's not gonna have to erase all that. It's only gonna focus on this area. I'm gonna bring up my pointer now by pushing V on the keyboard. Or you can go up here and press that I'm gonna add a key light effect. My effects and presets are located over here, but normally I think it's over here. You can move these windows around. I just kind of like it over here. So I'm gonna search for key light over here. And that's what we're gonna use to key this green out. I'm just gonna click and drag and drop it right on the layer I'm interested in. And here's my effects panel over here. So this is effects card one, and this is card one. So I'm on this layer up here. If there were more layers, you could kind of click on him and switch it automatically labeled this composition card three because it's noticed a progression, but I actually don't want it that so. It's always good practice to label your projects because sometimes this get really gets bogged down. It's it's hard to tell what you're looking for. So I like to make sure my labels are nice and neat, so they're going to go and we're going to select our screen color. Here's a little dropper here. It's kind of the easiest way to do it, and we're going to zoom in Nice and close to some of our letters because I want these nice shadows to come through in the final product. I need to make sure my key light is only king the green I want. I'm going to select a spot very close to a letter, but that's not one of thes shadows. You should always drop. It is close to the object as you can to get a good key. If you come up to your view here, you can view the screen met, and it will show you what it is and is not king out so you can see a lot of that. Shadow made it through with the original key, but you can come here and kind of dial in how sensitive you want it to be and go back to final result. And here we have it. So here's a key. Pretty clean, pretty easy. No problems. That's pretty good so once just dropping you solid in here so we can see what those shadows would look like. Blue short. So layers over here are the order that they're viewed in. So I want the card on top of this solid layer, and I'm just want to show you how those shadows came out. You know, it could be really cool effect. Now that I have a good key on this one, I'm ready to start the other one. Go back to my project window. Here's my second title card. Drop it on a new composition and perform the same task. Sounds a bit big, so have to scale it Down s on the keyboard for scale. Okay, So I'm just gonna mask off the areas I'm interested in. I dropped a key light onto it and select my screen color with the dropper. Nice and close with letters. Um, but make sure not to select the shadowed area. And I'm just gonna dial in these settings till I get a screen I'm happy with. All right now, I got a great key on my 2nd 1 and we're ready to bring in the background footage 5. Animation: I'm just gonna grab the footage here and drop it down a new composition, and it's gonna make it the perfect size. That is because you remember these compositions are different sizes right now. If you only have one title card feel really? Take this card composition and drop it into your new composition with your background, you'll notice is it's a lot bigger. Like I said, it's way bigger than my footage, so I'm just going to scale it down. And now we're getting somewhere. I have two cards, however, and I want to animate them in a separate composition. So I'm gonna make a new composition using this card one composition that we did earlier. And in that card, one composition is just this. And you can see here this is actually a composition. And if I double click on that, it will bring me into that composition, which is this card one. So this composition is contained within this composition now, and I'm just gonna re title this, so I'm not confused titles final. Sure. All right. So I want to bring my second card composition into this one as well. And as you can see, they're both kind of on top of each other. Now, this little I over here, you can poke it out and, uh, it'll turn off that layer so you can see underneath it. There's going to scale him roughly to the same size. Pushing s on the keyboard, by the way, and then p to bring up the position. That looks pretty good. Turn off this other one for now so I could bring my titles final composition into my background. Now, I need to find a way to animate this and make it a little more interesting. So I'm gonna come into my finals composition and try to get it to animate and some interesting way A simple solution is just to animate some mass. So if you put G on the keyboard or go to your pen tool appear and pushing G again will cycle through it if you get different tools. Um, I'm just gonna cut out these middle layers and leave this outer box. Now the mask is actually showing the opposite thing of what I want. So I'm gonna go into this layer and push him for mask. I was gonna invert it. It'll actually the same thing. If you just hit, subtract instead of add, it will have the same effect. Selecting a here will select your mask. So now I just want to use key frames to animate it. So a key frame will just tell it to give it a different value at whatever time you choose. So here's my timeline. I was gonna hit. This will stop watch where she's gonna bring up my first key frame and set it to right where it ISS go forward a little bit. Put another key frame at the same settings by pushing this little icon. Now I have two key frames that are exactly the same. If I go one frame into the future by pressing page down on my keyboard, I can now animate this. I'll just double click this mask and kind of drop it down a little bit. And now what I have. If I go backwards and hit play, you see the largest pop on, and that's because that mask is actually just moving out of the way very quickly between these two frames against a page up and page down eso now just go forward. A few more frames page on the keyboard. I'll double click this and move this where I want, but now you'll notice between these two key frames. It's this wipe effect. And instead of being an instant, let me separate this instead of being an instant on its this wipe. Now these key friends are telling it from this point, this frame, the mass should be here, and at this frame, the mask should be here. So in between there's all these, these other frames where it's moving from position A to position be. There's a few things we can do about this one. We can just go a frame backwards in time by pushing page up on the keyboard and make a new key frame where the mask waas, um and then look like this or and here I went back. Um, we can talk of these to hold key frame, and I believe I believe that should do the trick there. So hold key Frame is going to tell it to go from 1 to 0 from position A to position. Be right off the bed, so that works pretty nicely, too. Should be closer together. You can kind of just pull and drag these, by the way, to move them around. Um, so now I'm kind of ready for this to move on. I double clicked in the composition. I was going to click the mask, and it just brought me into this other composition. So I just need to go back here and double click the mask. That's time. Move it up. And now we have this animation and you could do more things with these mess to, like, searching amount an awful make a flicker effect like this. So what I'm doing is just moving these moving his mask around to hide and reveal at different times, and it's gonna end up giving it this nice flicker effect. I'm just doing this more or less randomly to create something kind of interesting. So here's our animation. Um, I think this all could be a little bit quicker on the end here, so I'm just gonna highlight all these and shift him forward. That's pretty interesting. Now I'm ready to bring it my second title. So once this one goes off, I want this one to come on. So during this whole section here, it needs to be off. So I'm just gonna set a new mask on this layer by selecting it g on my keyboard. Um, now, this outer boxes actually on the other layers, so I don't need to worry about cutting it off or anything. Um, I just need to worry about these letters. So I'm gonna set some key frames for this mask up on the mask path, and I'm gonna hit this little stopwatch to bring up my first key frame. And I just go ahead and hit, hold key frame on this, and hopefully the rest of them will come. Pretty actually. So before this point, I'm just gonna invert this Masked, by the way, um, so before this point, it's all off. And then at this point, I'm just going to start revealing the letters like we did before. So let's see what that transition looks like. It's a bit quick. Slow down a little bit. Pretty good. I think we can ads maybe another flicker effect to this 1st 1 So I just want to add some flicker to this top section here, but leave this section off and I can't do that with one mass. I'm actually gonna draw a second mask on the same layer and you can see him on the same layer. And here's the mess to it's the brown one. Um, and I'm gonna animate this, uh, the same way I'm just gonna bring up its position and stop watching. Should be an inverted mass bill. I should be subtracted, actually, because I want to subtract what's inside of it. Can I have this displayed? I'm just gonna toggle this key frame on hold. Go forward frame and enemy this. Okay, now we just added on extra flicker. Let's just see what that does. Didn't work. I didn't do anything because the key frame before it was actually set to down to, um so that should actually do it. Great. I'll probably have more flick around enough once more, and we'll be good to go. All right, let's see what we're working with. Okay. By shortening these layers by shortening the length of them within the composition, I can cause the latest to just turn off. You can also key frame any other aspect of it. So let's say one on card one. This outer box. I want the opacity to change, and I wanted to fade away. So we hit t on the keyboard to bring up a pass ity, or you can you can go in this way and going to transform. And here it is something a key. Frame it here, stopwatch here and go forward a few frames and then drop this down to zero and that will look like this. Maybe a little quick. It's going to slow it down a little bit. You can sink this animation up to music, and it probably be pretty effective. 6. Tracking: it's going to our final comp and try to blend these two things together. Um, right now, the background footage is a bit long, so let's find the area we're interested in. Maybe before the pan. Maybe right here. Let's try that. And it kind of place through. Okay, so you see, this animation doesn't start till away over here, so I'm actually just gonna put the play head over here, grab this layer and just slide it over. I'm just clicking and dragging until I get some animation. Here. There it is. And then I think, you know, I want my pretty around there. Yeah. I don't want to pop on right away. Okay. Well, like I said before, I wanna I want to put this in the environment. So when the camera pans, it moves with the camera. So let's track our footage in. Ah, first of all right. Click over here and create new no object. So there's no objects not going to show up in the final composition. It's just telling it where to put the information. So I'm gonna click on my background footage here, and I'm gonna come over here to my tracker if you can't find it. Just goto window and tracker right here. Click on on a track motion. I'm gonna bring my little pointer out to something that's good to track. This little hot spot here might make a good point. Since there's a lot of contrast year, it shouldn't have too much trouble finding the microphone. So this inside box is telling the Tracker this is what to look for. Everything in this box match these pixels and this larger box is telling it where to look for this box. So in the next frame or so this thing's gonna move around over here. So as it moves from this position to here, it's gonna be searching in this box for that area, and it's gonna find it here, So it's gonna move it where it should be over here. Hope hopefully. So let's go back to the beginning and place or tracker. I'm only gonna use position because it's a very simple came a movement, if always moving forward or backwards and Z space, like towards the microphone or away from it. Um, I would probably also click scale in rotation, and we give you second point of reference to attach somewhere. Um, I really don't need it in this case, so I'm going to remove it at my target, which is No. One, which is good. So it's gonna say track this information and put that information on the Knoll object. So that's good. That's what I want here. Luminess is good because there's a lot of light and dark contrast here to look for, so that's good. In this case, I'm just gonna tell it. Instead of a damping features, I'm gonna tell to stop tracking. There's really nothing else to track here, and I don't want to focus on that guy's head that moves across. So we're told to stop tracking if it's confidence is below 80%. So it's saying if it's confidence that this is the right spot drops below 80% it's going to stop and ask me, and I can physically move the target if I need to, or just tell it to keep going, okay and recorded this little play head and analyze forward. This is gonna automatically track it for me, and I'm just going to sit here and watch it and make sure it doesn't stop and have any trouble. Okay, Now that you're tracked through on this is finished, I'm just gonna scroll through here and kind of make sure that stuck on there. Nice. Yeah, Looks pretty good. Seems like it's stuck on there where it should be. That ceiling part I was worried about and looks good. So I'm gonna go ahead and imply this information. So now you can see Let me click off my titles here. Now you can see this. No object is stuck to the microphone Where we go, it's stuck. So now what? I'm able to dio I am able to parent this the titles I'm gonna pick quip, which is when you grab this and parent it to this. I'm just gonna let go. And now we should see that the letters are also stuck. Oh, no, that's not where I want it. I want it to end up right around here. So let's go in here. Hit p for position. And even though this is animated to go with that, I can adjust this right where I want it. And now you'll see it's stuck right there. Even when I scroll over that way, right where I want it That looks pretty good to me. Remember to save often. Guys, let's turn off the safe. Great. Here. Okay, we're ready for the next step. I guess I'll go ahead and get rid of that guy's head. Let me just turn this off and find out where he is. Here, Um, he just goes straight across the bottom, and there's nothing else going on. So this is pretty easy. I'm just going to select this layer, the background layer news, draw around where he goes, same thing we did before and just reverse this mask. It's gonna invert it here. And that should be the end of that guy. Make sure he's gone. Doesn't pop out anywhere. Let's begin. All right. Maybe we'll just add a final couple final touches to this. Make it look real. Nicey nice. Um, all right. A quick, easy way to make titles look interesting. Is either too add some kind of texture to them or some kind of radiant. Um, and this is no exception to that. So we can actually take and right clicking here and hit new light, and that's gonna bring up a new light. I'm flying with the spotlights. Fine. sure we'll we'll figure this stuff out and this is telling me that it's only gonna be affecting three D layers. So right now we're doing anything because these are the three D layers. If you want to do that, just go ahead and click this little box here and they become three D and you can see that the light just kind of reveals certain things that air in its shadow. So if you don't see these controls, by the way, go down here to toggle switch mode and you can switch back and forth. Okay, so now we can kind of move this around and making interesting lips command Z to undo that movement. Um, so let's go to our final camp here, and I can tell that in this footage you can tell in this microphone there's some light coming from this direction and some light coming from this direction. So I want to go ahead and kind of re create that. So this will blend in with its environment, and you can grab. This is the point of interest. You can grab and point this, too, so there's a lot of options here that's not bad. when we command D to duplicate the light and go into light to position p to pull up its position and just pull it over this way, just gonna kind of fiddle with ease until I get something I like. And let's see what this looks like in the final composition. Not bad. It has this little greedy int, and I think it just adds a lot of extra flair to it. So it's a bit hot in this spot here, so maybe you could just take the intensity down here. That's nice. Maybe gonna run there. And one more thing. I'm just gonna go new adjustment layer on top of everything. I just had a nice curves to this adjustment layer here, and ah, from here, I have a lot of control over the color and exposure of it. It's gonna bring down the highlights, maybe raised the meds a little. Well, that's okay. Car is playing around with east till I get what I like. So here is the curves. Down here is the shadowed region. So anything dark is gonna be affected by this. All right, um, this region is the mids, and this region is the highlights the brightest spot at the image. And right now I'm in RGB. So the luminous basically here. And I was gonna go down to read, maybe pull out some of the reds from the mid highlights here and just fiddle around with it until I find something I like. I think that added a lot there. Maybe it's been too much, though. So this is before and after you can see it kind of adds quite a bit, actually. Adds a lot of color. Um, so I'm just gonna shorten this and right click up here and trim Come to work area. Should have done that before. Tanking. That's right. So there's some extra information here, too. Let's let it render and see how the timing feels. Not bad. I'm just going to trim this extra area that I don't want to look at. And, um, it really would have been better to do that before and doing the tracking. It would have saved a lot of time. Um, because all that information that was tracked back there is useless because I'm not using it. So I should have done that first, and here we have it 7. Outro: so that's it, hopefully learned a lot of new skills. I'm really excited to see what you'll come up with and how you be able to apply these techniques to your own personal projects. If some of the things covered in this class aren't quite right for your project, feel free to omit them. It's always important to remember how to appropriately serve the look you're going for. This class was designed to be useful outside of just this one project. So if this gives you different ideas about how to apply these skills, please do so and submit that as your project. I had a ton of phone with this project, and I'm really excited to see you guys run with the concept. So go with whatever inspires you. Thank you so much for rolling and for sharing your work.