Compositing ARD501

The Assignment

One of the assignments set in ‘The Message’ module was to create a short video and use compositing visual effects. We were able to work in a team for this assignment so me and my class mate Molly chose to work together. Compositing involves adding in objects to a clip, i.e,


As you can see in the image below the creators of Stargate have used compositong to add in the background of the city. Our tutor also showed us examples of Dylan Coles matte paintings. These really interested me and I thought it was amazing what can be achieved using paint brushes on Photoshop.

Brainstorming / Influences

Originally me and Molly wanted to do a sci fi type of clip. We had an idea of someone walking through a glass tunnel and the view of outer space on the outside. We also wanted images coming up on bits of the glass tunnel. We decided against this idea eventually as we were unsure of how we would create it and where we could film to be able to get the tunnel effect.
Our next idea was to make a building look old and overgrown. We thought this would be easy and started researching ideas. We decided to go out and look at buildings that we thought we could work with. Soon the decision to work on a church would be good and we agreed on St Giles in Wrexham. At first we thought we might work on the exterior of the cathedral but decided it would be more interesting to work on the inside. Here are some of the images we were influenced by:

Cathedral ruins by bpsola

We liked the tree trunk and the broken pillars in this image and thought they would work well in our own project.

Skyrim Dragons Ruined Cathedral Wallchan

In this image we really liked the idea of having a broken roof. This ended up influencing us to take the roof off in our own project.

How we did it.


Firstly we began saving our clip as a still image and opening the image in Photoshop. The first thing we needed to do was to get rid of all the wooden panels running down the sides of the church and darken the arches. We also
needed to get rid of any furniture we thought looked out of place.


We got rid of the wooden panels using the clone stamp to build up the columns and used a dark shaded brush to darken the arches.


We repeated the same process on the left side of the church and then removed all the unwanted bits of furniture in the shot.

screenshot vines

Next was to make the church appear as though it had no roof and we also wanted the roof to look as though it had crumbled. We started by removing a big section of the roof at the back of the church. We then built up the wall as though it had crumbled and added in shading to make the bricks look realistic and not flat. We then added in the sky. Next was to add in the vines to the columns to make the church look overgrown. This was quite easy as we just used a photograph of a vine and duplicated it into different angles and sizes to create the overgrown effect.


The sky was quite hard to decide on because we wanted it to look almost apocalyptic. We also needed the sun to be on the right side of the roof as the left side of the building is lighter than the right side.

final screenshot

Finally we colour corrected the vines to make them look darker and blend in with the scene.



Once adding in all the effect we wanted we put the still image back into After Effects. We added all the layers to a mask covering the clip. This was easy to do except we had to rotoscope around Molly in the clip as she sits down in one of the pews. Rotoscoping wasn’t too hard but I felt that doing it frame by frame became boring but worth it in the end. We also added in beams of light coming from the right side of the church to enhance the imagery.

Final result

I’m really happy with what Molly and I have achieved. I was really looking forward to doing visual effects and I really feel like we’ve accomplished something good. Doing this assignment has also helped me look into what I want to do as a career and I’ve decided that I definitely want to work in post production working with visual effects.


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