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2.4 Foreground Texturing

In this lesson, we'll be adding a texture to the foreground doorframe and animating a mask, so that the foreground elements match the background.

2.4 Foreground Texturing

Hello. This is Christopher Kenworthy, and welcome to Visual Effects Compositing in After Effects. I'm just gonna make that layer the tunnel layer invisible so that we can work on the doorframe. As we texture all the background and the ceiling, this door frame's going to look more and more out of place because it's so shiny and clean. So we need to dirty that up. To do that, we go back to our corridor layer, click on 3D Camera Tracker, and we're looking for a tracking point on the door frame. Thankfully, there's one right there. So I'm just gonna click that, right-click, and Create Null. And then, we get a Track Null appears here, which I will rename DOORFRAME. I think we'll work with Texture 5, bring that in. Just drag it in, make it 3D, and now we need to attach it to this null. But rather than parenting, which is one way to connect things, we're going to copy that null's position information. So click on the door frame null. Click P to get the position, then click the word position. Go to Edit > Copy. Now, do the same on the texture layer. So we select it, hit P, click the word P, and paste. And now, that layer is sitting right where that null was before. So that's a perfect starting point, and recolor this texture. And rename it Door Texture. Obviously, I want this to cover the whole door frame. So I am just going to move it across, then move it down. And that might just be large enough, or maybe I'll have to scale it up ever so slightly. I'll just grab the handles at this side. And there it is scaled up. Now, all I need to do is change the blending mode to, let's try multiply. That looks quite good. We need to do some masking to see how this is really going to look, so lets select the pen tool and click out the masked area around the door frame. Let's start at the bottom here. Even if you can't see exactly what you're doing, that's okay, you can finish it off later. So now, I'll adjust this mask. And once we've got the mask set the way you want it for this opening frame, we're just going to key frame this. So I'll hit M for the door texture, key frame the mask path. Hit T, and just bring the opacity down a little, and now we need to animate the mask through this shot. So I'm now going to move forward about half a second, and just adjust the mask to make sure it's lined up perfectly. Just change a few points to make sure that's in place, go back a few frames. That looks to be working well. I go to the one second mark, and I'll just pull out to get a better view of the mask there. Now this method, although it's a little fiddlier just in these masks, it's a lot quicker than trying to align textures with each plane of that doorway. That is one approach. You can arrange them all in 3D space, and it takes a long time. So this is a much quicker way. Even though masking can take a little while, this gets the job done much more quickly. And because the door frame isn’t in view for the whole shot, you only have to adjust the mask for these first few frames anyway. Now, go forward to the one and a half second mark, where it’s nearly all out of frame, just drag this across. The main principle here is to find a null that's in the right point in 3D space, and then attach your texture. If there was no tracking point there, you could simply use the data from the left wall. And then, swing that layer around in 3D space and bring it closer to the camera. That would work, but it requires more judgment and is more fiddly. So if you can position a layer alongside a null, which is in the right place. You are going to get a much better result. Bare in mind that this shot will move quickly, and there'll be so much going on that the audience won't be looking to see how accurate your mask is. They will simply see a texture over a wall, and feel like they are going through a doorway. That's turned a very shiny, synthetic looking doorway into something much more suited for this type of shot. It's not as technically accurate as it could be, because you have the same image going down a vertical piece of door frame as you have going across the top. I think this looks fine, but if you wanted to, you could draw a mask over this top area, and put in another layer that's on the correct angle. I actually think putting one texture over here does the job, because it moves in 3D with the camera. And to the viewer, who will be watching this area where sparks are going to be falling, this will look realistic enough. As long as we have that feeling of passing through a 3D space. If you don't think it's working properly, you can just reduce the opacity even more so that the texture is just suggested. And we can still see the shape of the door frame beneath it. And in fact, I think I prefer that we can really feel the shape of the door frame. And you might even want to add some sort of blur to the texture. So I'll just add a fast blur there. Set to 15. And now, we just have that slight sense of texture over the door frame. So it doesn't look out of place as it did before. You just have that feeling of it being a bit grittier and grungier than what we had when we started.

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