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Nuke General Compositing Techniques

For those of you who want to learn about compositing, and not button clicking. This is the only click you need.

Length: 2 Hours 51 Minutes 49 Seconds

Price: $59.95


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cmiVFX has released the brand new Nuke General Compositing Techniques by Jonathan McFall. Compositors are expected to take plates from a variety of sources, in many unconventional conditions, and marry them all together into a seamless cinematic scene. Modern film production often sources scene elements from many studios simultaneously. Compositors must be ready to handle whatever is presented and achieve a result that feels REAL. Here in this lesson Jonathan takes this challenge head on. Using elements from dozens of sources, in all manner of states, Jonathan teaches tried and true techniques to assemble and integrate them all into a single panoramic scene. With an application as powerful as The Foundry's Nuke it is easy to get lost. Jonathan McFall guides you through this lesson on paths that he knows works in a production environment. With so many ways to choose, allow him to show you what has worked. This lecture is a fast paced riot of non-stop knowledge. It's just going to make you better in Nuke.

Chapter Descriptions


Film compositing veteran Jonathan McFall offers this workshop on Nuke compositing techniques. This lesson presents a myriad of techniques to manipulate and then integrate 2D elements into a photorealistic 3D panoramic matte scene. Jonathan revels the quick way AND the professional way to achieve cinematic results. 

Finding And Prepping The Elements

First we prepare the photos from the internet for the matte painting by quickly keying the photos to create nice alphas. Some parts will require a bit of roto to create garbage mattes. Next, we start building the silhouette of a factory from random images and light the scene from random night-time photos. Clean up the script to make the computer run a little faster and render out an image sequence in Nuke with an aplha.

2D In A 3D Environment

We begin to recreate the 2D scene in Nuke's 3d environment by projecting each on to cards so that you get exactly the same out put, but now in the 3d environment. Simply move the cameras and cards to scale the photos, rather than using the 2d transform node. To add realism and marry the various elements together we will now: make the clouds animate, use the zblur, use the focal plane setup, use the depth of field and lastly create a custom bokeh from scratch with the convolve tool.

The Fine Details

In this chapter we dive down to the adjust the finest details to achieve realism. A de-spill expression on blue and green screens offers production quality. DE-noise and then RE-grain in two different ways: the quick way and the professional way. Channel by channel, plate by plate this workflow matches the grain between each element in the scene.  We wrap up the chapter with a fun bit of chromatic aberration (chromatic distortion) with two different methods.

Distress For A Miracle

All of chapter 5 is to recreate the imperfections that a camera creates in real life. To simulate reality is to make a better and more realistic matte painting. Its not just about making everything look as clean as possible, sometimes you have to make it look dirty too. Lets add some fire frames and retime the footage. Extend the project settings to a panoramic ratio. Included is a detailed explanation of the shuffle / shuffle copy nodes. Zdepth with color grading is employed for very subtle addition of realism. Next, we use a colourful bokeh to blend the foreground in and to simulate smudges and dust on the camera lens. Further use of defocus and chromatic aberration creates the illusion of a real camera viewing a real landscape. Jonathan offers many small adjustments and variations in this final chapter attempting to achieve the 'miracle' when photorealism occurs.

About John McFall

Jonathan is a compositor. He has worked on films shot in stereo, films converted to stereo, in occula, as a prep artist and as a stereo conversion artist. He started off his career as an illustrator and photoshop lecturer. Then a few years ago he discovered Nuke and now he's hooked. He is currently teaching evening and day courses in Nuke. Jonathan has now taken his six years of university lecturing experience and the knowledge learnt from working on 15 films to create a training video for cmiVFX. He also likes walks in the park and anything to do with aliens. Jonathan's favorite place is the Giger museum in Switzerland.

Special Thanks

The Foundry

HyperFocal Design

About Jonathan McFall

IMDB link:

Project Contents

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(While a beginner in Nuke will derive benefit from this lesson, it is intended and presented for intermediate compositors primarily.)

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About Jonathan McFall

Jonathan McFall

Jonathan has worked in VFX for over 10 years and has had many different roles. He is currently teaching 2D and 3D with full-time and part-time VFX courses at Escape Studios, London’s elite training facility. He is also a member of the VFX society. He has worked in 2D and Comp and as comp supervisor in Hengdian, China, plus he has developed training videos on Matte Painting in Nuke. His filmography includes Prometheus, Narnia, Dredd, Star Wars, the finale of the Harry Potter series, Men in Black 3, and Dark Shadows. Among this impressive list of films and even though he is lecturing full-time, Jonathan has found the time to create training videos that shed some light into his teachings in 3D, VFX, and Comp. His training topics range from Concept Art, Modelling, Texturing, Lighting, Render, Prep, and then Comping. Jon's favorite weapons of choice are Nuke, Silhouette, Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, Mari, 3D Equalizer, and Photoshop: pretty much the whole VFX pipeline stored in his brain. He has recently released training videos on sculpting and texturing in Mudbox and has now developed a training video about speed painting in Photoshop. In Jonathan’s latest video, he explores and dissects the methodology behind concept art and matte painting in order to take you on a step by step guide through the creation of some fantastic speed paintings. In Jonathan’s teachings, he uses a variety of software tools to demonstrate the limitless styles that can be created.