dvGarage, the QuickTime-only site dedicated to “building the next generation of visual media artists,” has released The Composite Toolkit. The toolkit is a disk dedicated to teaching production level keying and compositing techniques to the masses.
The package, based on Adobe After Effects, includes 14 tutorials that cover nearly every aspect of keying and compositing live action actors into computer graphics scenes. The Composite Toolkit, which has been in beta testing in January, removes many of the obstacles most compositors run up against when getting started: affordable keying options, finding footage and professional guidance, according to Alex Lindsay, dvGarage founder.
“When most people think of bluescreen compositing, they think of selecting the blue areas and having the background magically disappear.” explains Composite Toolkit expert and co-creator of the fan film “Duality,” Dave Macomber. “It’s rarely that easy but it is something anyone with a DV Camera, After Effects and some blue paper can do themselves. That’s what this disk is all about.”
To create the disk, Dave Macomber brought martial arts stuntmen to a bluescreen stage in San Francisco, California, his crew shot a pseudo light saber scene to serve as the basis of the tutorials. Three behind-the-scenes movies take viewers through the entire process while the step-by-step tutorials carefully walk users along the path of effectively compositing the entire scene, light sabers and all.
“We wanted it to be fun,” Lindsay said “We didn’t want it to be another dry set of tutorials, shot in the most favorable conditions available. That would only scratch the surface of what it takes to really get this stuff done. This disk really incorporates many of the challenges and techniques that production artists deal with on a daily basis.”
The Composite Toolkit also contains an overview of After Effects by John Foster, an expert on the product. The 20-minute overview provides the groundwork for the rest of the disk.
The Composite Toolkit retails for US$199 and is bundled with the dvMatte Keyer. More info can be found at the product Web site.
The folks at dvGarage have been busy lately. Last week they released the Camera Mapping Lab, a training disk designed to teach print, video and 3D artists how to employ a technique often referred to as “Two-and-a-Half D.”