VFX – Lesson 1

Intro to VFX

As a quick intro to the wide world of VFX, Peter broke down the formats in which television work was done in the past and how its done now. These are the well known for the UK:

  • PAL (Phase Alternating Line) – A colour encoding system for analogue television broadcasts used in most countries. Also our own UK standard.
  • 4:3 – Our screen ratio format before widescreen, mostly ran in the old broadcast resolution of 720×576 (or sometimes referred to as 576p).
  • 16:9 – Our newer widescreen format since the early 2000s. While not necessarily 1920×1080 (1080p) the move towards this as a standard has been going for years.
  • RGB – The colour setup used across all film and television.
  • CMYK – The colour setup used across all of the printing industry.

Logo production in Illustrator

The class was introduced to Adobe Illustrator, which we’d use to create assets (in this case a logo) to eventually import into After Effects to create a logo animation. Starting a new file in AI we were given document specs we’d always use from now on.

  • RGB Document
  • 1920×1080 pixels or 1080p
  • 300 dpi (dots per inch)

After the new document was created, we drew a rectangle on the first layer at the full size of the art board (document) and filled it with black. We were then asked to write on our name at the top of the art board (primarily to help Peter our new lecturer) and then to create four squares in the middle of the canvas at 300px x 300px each.

To get them exactly in the middle we were shown the alignment tools. I’m now wondering if these are in Photoshop and I’ve just not noticed, because they are SO useful. Within a few clicks all squares were aligned to the centre of the art board.

Similar to the advice given when managing assets in Unity & Maya we were told to name all layers and group objects to give the file some structure, making it easier for someone else to continue your work if this is ever required. This also makes it easier to lock multiple assets down so they can’t be edited.

As seen in the lower image our initials and FX were added using text boxes, however we were then shown how to expand text which turns it into an editable vector. This reminds me of the ability to rasterise text in Photoshop but obviously gives different results.





Illustrator Paths

Illustrator Paths – Scissors, Join, Average, Booleans – Comparison to 3D tools/vertices

Illustrator works using vector paths, similar to Flash. The interesting part about illustrator is modifying paths works similar to modifying vertices in 3D. You can delete path handles, join them together (similar to vertex welding) and merge multiple points to the average point between them.

You can also use Boolean operands with multiple shapes, taking the unison of the two shapes, the difference or the intersection, just the same as you can in 3D.

I’ll update on the progress of this exercise next week.



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