Meadow: Miranda Roto


In the Calendar, you’ll see “Meadow: Miranda Roto” for a while (see screenshot). This refers to the phase of a composite I’m working on. I’m extracting (rotoscoping) Miranda from a shot where she runs into a meadow. Then I’ll put her into another live action shot (composite).



I’m energized today by the results of some experimentation. This shot had me worried for a long time, because the hair detail at the edges of Miranda’s head and shoulders needed to be cleanly isolated for a convincing composite, and I didn’t know if I could do it.

Normally, if you wanted to place a live action figure into a composite, you’d shoot against a green or blue screen. But this sequence changed significantly since production time, and I have to make do with what was shot.

You can see that Miranda’s hair is similar in hue to the background (right). This makes it difficult to select it. After experimenting with Shake’s luma and chroma key nodes,  I found its color-replace node, along with the threshold node, gave me the results above (left). If you look closely at the hair edges, you can see that I was able to retain decent hair detail, with the background quite cleanly removed.

I’ll try to use this as a matte for the hair detail, and combine it with a rotoscope of Miranda’s face and body to get a solid and clean Miranda to place into a wood composite.

“Stream” Progress


Good progress on the Miranda “Stream” roto I mentioned in the July 22nd post, considering the limited time I was able to give it. Hair, head, torso, skirt, right arm are finished. Working on left and right legs, and fine tuning what’s complete so far. The roto is 180 frames long, and I make a keyframe change every three frames, then go back and tweak in-between frames as needed. Also, did a rough composite over the background it will be comped into, and it was exciting to see it develop.

New Shot: “Stream”


Detail of Miranda Roto

After a very helpful session with another amazing VFX artist/compositor, I was able to start a new composite today; beginning with another roto of Miranda. This roto’s challenging because Miranda is so tiny, when I zoom in close enough to work on her, she looks like a bunch of square pixels with no clear edges defined. (In the 2nd image, you can see how big she is in the original shot.) Getting the facial details was most challenging–four shapes made up that tiny face. The hair is another challenge–about 8 or 9 shapes. When finished, Miranda will be placed into another wide shot.

Still Roto’ing

First horse roto is a no go.

After thinking I’d finally found a way to use my horse roto–despite all the branches in front of the horse (see “First horse roto…” pic), the “solution” didn’t work out. I thought I could blur out the branches and adjust the branches and leaves to the color of the horse, but it looked terrible. I was able to blur the torso satisfactorily–there used to be lots of branches over it. But look at the horse’s tail–forget it, and the head would lose the eyes and facial features.

So, I went through all the horse footage I had, and selected another shot that was much cleaner. I’ve been working on this new roto this week, and have about a quarter of the shot finished (140 frames total).

The reason I didn’t chose cleaner shots to begin with was because none of the cleaner shots of the horse had the right movements needed for continuity in the edit.

I did a quick test of the shot in the composite, and it will work–much more beautifully than the first shot, as it turns out. After I insert a cutaway shot, the continuity problem won’t be an issue.

Here’s a look at the successful horse roto in progress:

Successful Horse Roto -- Head
Preliminary result (without edge blur and color correction)