City Destruction Tutorial!

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City Destruction Tutorial!

hey what’s up Andrew Kramer here for videocopilot net and welcome back to another very exciting tutorial today we’re going to be taking a look at creating a destroyed City effect inside of After Effects now I know what you’re thinking you’re thinking great now there’s a tutorial on this now every movie is going to have a destroyed city well if you’ve been in the movies recently you know it’s too freakin late for that this summer get ready for another very exciting tutorial oh it’s one of those in blue things subscribe now would die alright let’s go ahead and get started we’ve got a lot of fun stuff to do today we’re going to be adding in some destruction and some cracks so let’s get to it inside of our project file we’ve got some aerial city footage that you’ll be able to download from Video Copilot dotnet I’m going to drop it down into the new comp button now one thing you might notice is that my recording is a little bit higher resolution and that’s because we’re going to doing a lot of small detailed things so this is actually our first tutorial in true high-definition high-definition so here we have some aerial footage of downtown Los Angeles I was going to add some traffic but I guess we don’t need to do that maybe we’ll take some traffic away that actually might be more shocking okay so what we want to do is 3d camera track our scene so what we’ll do is come over here to the window open up the tracker and we’ll click on the track camera button and this is going to do some background tracking and processing okay perfect now we can see all of the different track points in our scene now what’s cool about the 3d camera tracker is that it’ll actually allow us to place objects and layers in 3d space now before I generate my 3d camera I need to tell After Effects where to put the center of my scene so should the center be down here should be the building now because we’re going to be adding a lot of effects to this building I want to make it the center of my scene and set the ground plane to the top of the building so what I’m going to do is select three points so if I hold down shift click one two three I want to click three points that are on a flat area of a surface and we can see that the target grid this red grid looks like it’s flat on top of that surface so what I’ll do is with those selected I’ll right-click and choose set ground plane and origin and then I’ll right-click and choose create solid and camera alright so now you see a red solid that’s 3d and our 3d tracked camera so if I scrub through this you can see the red solid stays on top of that building as if it’s really in 3d space so if I go ahead click on our footage click on the camera tracker again we can bring those points up now another example is I could come in here right click create text and now I’ve got 3d text floating in the air so once you have this set up you can really start to do a lot of fun things I’ll go ahead and just delete this alright so now that we have it set up let’s go ahead and create some destruction so what I’m going to do is punch a big hole into the side of this foreground building so what we’ll do is select the camera tracker and I want to create a plane right against the side of the building so what we could do is take three points hold down shift click on them then I’ll right click and choose create solid and what that’ll do is create a solid right there I can add a grid alright so we can see it’s perfectly aligned to the side of that building I could rotate it take the rotation tool and just align it a little bit better maybe move it over now it’s important that I use the local gizmo so I don’t move it out of position because if I were to rotate it or do something like that it’s no longer going to align properly to the side of that building so what we’ll do is just turn the grid off and I actually want to replace the green solid here with a big texture of a hole so if we come over here to my project file I’ve got some damaged textures and the first one looks a little bit like this it’s got a transparency around the edges and what we’ll do is select that green solid and grab that damaged number

one hold down alt and let go and what it does is it replaces it right into 3d space so watch this photorealistic well almost so what I’m gonna do is just turn off this a red solid we’ll just call this top solid I’ll turn that off and so now I’ve got my damage here and we could scale it up hold down shift use those local gizmos to slide it around move it to here all right next thing we need to do is color correction now the one thing about our background footage is that it has a little bit of a green cast so what I want to do is create a new adjustment layer and we’ll hit enter and we’ll call this color correction and let’s come over here to the effects and choose curves drop that on there now I’m actually going to move this down just above the footage and what I want to do is get rid of some of the greens so let’s go to the green Channel just bring this down a touch maybe go to the RGB and just you know add a little bit more contrast a little all right so we’ve color corrected the background plate now let’s go ahead and color correct our destruction element so we’ll take that curves adjustment drop it on there and then we’ll go to the red Channel and bring that down maybe to the RGB and just darken it a bit what we’re trying to do is color correct it so it looks like the building a little bit more so we’ll bring the contrast out of it I think that looks pretty good now if this were a background building this might be okay but because it’s up close we want to add some three dimensionality to it and make it look like we’re really looking inside of the building so it looks like we really can see inside of this hole so what we’re going to do is take this front damage layer and I’m going to take the pen tool and what I want to do is draw around some of this damaged area and create a hole that will be able to look through so I’ll hit em and I’ll subtract the mask and let me switch this over s’ti it’s kind of strange having so much space here so now you can see we have this hole punched in it I’ll hit F and we’ll feather it just a little bit so then I’m going to duplicate the layer control D edit duplicate and I’ll hit em and I’ll choose add so now the ad is the one beneath it so here we’ve got one layer and I’ve got my other layer inside now the inside layer I’m going to hit mm and I’m going to expand the mask I’m actually going to turn the feathering down maybe just like a couple point feather so what we’re going to do is take this top layer I’m going to call it mask in fact let’s go and change the color of it just to make that clear we’re going to just make it blue and blue so that basically we’re only going to be using the Alpha so we’ll put this below the damage and then what I’ll do is I’ll take our damage layer and again duplicate another copy so what I want to do with this copy is hit em and I’m going to get rid of the mask and then I’m going to unsolo the layers and I’ll take the top copy here I’m just going to add a quick tint effect just so that you can see where everything is and what I want to do is move this down below the mask and I’m going to hit return we’re going call this whole because what this is going to be actually is the destruction inside of the hole so what I’ll do is come over here to the track mat set it to alpha matte and then what I’ll do is just turn this tint amount down so I want you to be able to see this but I’m just going to turn it down a bit and what I’m going to do is push it into 3d space so watch this I’m going to push it slide it back into place and maybe that’s enough so watch this it will scale it up a bit here we should start to see some parallax so let’s turn that off alright so that is looking pretty good let’s go ahead see if we can color crack the edges so this is the front hole and maybe we’ll just darken it down a little bit we want to get the edges to match with our plate and I’ll show you some other cool tricks to get that to look even better so the front hole what I’ll do is I’ll duplicate this again ctrl D and let’s move a copy down here and scale it down I’m going to hit M actually get rid of the mask so now we’re just kind of being a little creative here maybe we’ll rotate this

upside down and then mask out this middle part so take the ellipse tool so I’m just taking a part of it here and subtracting it with a F and feather just a touch so that way it kind of just looks like more of a monster gouge of sorts now what if we wanted to add some fire what we could do is take one of the layers like the new one that we made here and duplicate it and then what I’m going to use is some of the action essentials to stock footage we’ve got some fire here and we’ve also got some smoke elements that we’ll be using as well and if you go over to the website Video Copilot dotnet go to the products you can check out action essentials too you can obviously use your own stock footage or some other stock footage but for a hundred bucks you can get a whole bunch of really good action stock footage we’re actually using the 720p version that’s plenty of resolution especially in this case so come back over here the comp now duplicated that hole and what I’m going to do is take my fire hold down alt and drop it on to that and the reason I do it that way is I can hit M and delete the mask and that way my fire is exactly in the right 3d space is all of the other layers now I need to rotate it so we’ll come over here to the rotation tool make sure we’re on the z axis and just rotate it around like that and we’ll unsolo our layers here so we’ll push the fire inside of the hole here scale it down a lot maybe we’ll have it kind of coming out of the side here alright let’s go and see if we can add another layer of destruction and give this a little bit more depth so come down here see we have our main hole element and then we have our secondary element so we’ll call this a bottom hold and we’ll just turn that off we’ll take this front element and we’ll duplicate it edit duplicate and what I want to do is solo it by itself and let’s turn the grid on and then we’ll choose effect keying extract and we’ll move the extract above the color correction now the extract works like a luma key so what I’m going to do is key I’ll the dark area so to slide this over so let’s just give it a little bit of feathering here so it’s not too rough that looks good and then we’ll unsolo it by the way ctrl shift H is the shortcut I use to hide some of the gizmos and things but what I’m going to do is take this and push it into the hole so I’ll just hold down shift and then I’ll readjust it back into the middle maybe scale it down a bit too and so we can see it in there let’s darken it down a bit because these ones are burned or scorched or something so fire monster dragon beasts something all right so if we look at just these parts by itself it’s good all right let’s take a look at it all together so that’s giving us another layer of destruction we can push it in there a little deeper let me show you another really cool trick to integrate this into the live-action plate even better what we’re going to do is come down here to the footage and you remember we have our 3d tracking data now I don’t want to lose this in fact it’s very important that I don’t lose this because I need to use this later so what I’m going to do is duplicate it ctrl D and take the bottom copy and write camera data and then I’m just going to turn it off and just keep that at the bottom then I’m going to take my two layers the color correction and the city footage maybe on the footage I’ll just delete the camera tracking data so that it’s just footage by itself then I’ll take the two layers the color correction and the footage and pre-compose it so layer pre-compose and we call this background plate and move all the attributes hit OK so basically I just moved it so that I have my footage by itself now I’m going to go ahead set the color to yellow and then I’ll choose edit duplicate and we’ll move it up to the top here then we’ll come back down to our camera tracking data and what I’ll do is click on the camera tracker and I want to create another plane right on the same surface here so I’ll just hold down shift select three points right-click

create a solid so now I’ve got this red solid and what I’m going to call this is beams all right so the red layer is going to stay attached to the side of the building right and maybe I’ll scale it up a little bit and I can even rotate it so it kind of aligns now what I want to do is turn the I switch off then come over here to the pin tool make sure that layer is selected and what I’m going to do is draw on some of the beams here so zoom in here and just draw on part of the beam now if we turn to the bottom layer off you can see that I’ve drawn on part of the structure that goes past our destruction so let’s turn this back on and set the track matte to alpha matte so now we can see some of those beams on top of our hole and so now what I could do is take the pen tool and start drawing a few more we could even make it look like they’re bent just by the way that we draw them so that looks pretty cool we could even add in some of these vertical ones as well draw those on maybe even add like a cross bar area and you know just draw a few more here all right so I’ve added a few more masks to this outside area and if we take a look we can see we’ve isolated those pieces and now we’re basically compositing parts of the structure back on top of the destruction structure on top of the destruction let’s look that up root word for structure all right let’s see here the root word struct meaning build comes from the latin struct as’ pretty good-looking that we’re learning stuff this is amazing all right so let’s get back to it now one thing about this is the edges are really clean so what we could do is take our alpha matte the red layer and let’s add a roughing edges effect so if we take rough and edges drop it onto the red beam layer hide the masks check this out it adds a little bit of noise so what we could do is maybe turn the scale down so it’s a little bit more rugged and we could you know we could play with the sharpness maybe even the border size so that’s pretty cool just kind of gives it a little bit of noise and makes it look like it’s actually banged up one of the best ways to get this to look realistic is to get rid of all of the straight perfect lines so that just gives it a nice more organic feel now the other thing we could do is add some smoke coming out of this hole so what I’ll do is come down here to the camera track data and let’s just click on one of these right click create a null and I just want to show you this other workflow so what I’ll do is come over here I’ve got this puffy smoke layer also from the action essentials let’s go and bring it out here and what I’ll do is bring the anchor point down just slide it down here and also because there’s a really hard edge on the bottom here let’s just add a quick mask and then hit F bring up the feather properties and we’ll just feather it out that we have a bit of a softer edge then we’ll set the transfer mode to screen unsolo it and there we go so I’ll make it a 3d layer and you can see now it’s kind of in 3d space but in order to get it here what I’ll do is select that hit P select the position hit edit copy then select our smoke layer and choose edit paste so what that will do is move the smoke right to that position all right so now our smoke layer is right where it needs to be maybe I’ll rotate it a bit let me just pull it away from the wall even it s and we’ll scale it up too so let’s sit here go to half res now to give it a little more dimensionality i’ma duplicate it let’s see ctrl D and then offset the time and then move the copy over here

we’ll just kind of deform it a bit maybe stretch it out and also let’s lower the opacity on these two so hit T don’t you just drop the opacity so that you know we can see through it a little bit so let’s take a look play this back this is looking really good let’s go and take a look at a couple of other cool things we can do to enhance our shot all right so we’ve built our primary destruction element and now I want to go ahead and add some secondary elements around here and just break up some of the straight lines of the structure so what I’ll do is come down here to the tracker select it and we’re going to create some new solid planes that we can swap out for some more destruction now let’s go and select three points along this surface so let’s just click sit here that looks pretty good I’ll right-click create a solid and actually we’ll do one more let’s go up to the top here and create another solid perfect so let’s take this green one first we’ll come over here the project and I’ve got a damaged element that looks like some busted out windows and what I’ll do is I’ll take that and replace it so hold down alt drop it on there then I’m going to take the rotation tool and what I want to do is rotate it until it’s parallel then I’ll actually scale it up as well all right cool so then I’ll come over here choose effect color correction curves and we’ll just dim it down a bit and then go to the red Channel bring that down a bit to kind of color correct it and blend it in there just watch out for like the black levels you want to make sure that you know the contrast looks right want to make sure the rotation looks right so this is all about just adding in those those final details now I can even duplicate the layer control D and slide it over and then take a mask and just draw a shape around it hit F feather it a little bit you know and basically just start having fun and just start adding in stuff breaking up the corners and breaking up the edges so you remember we made this other one on top here this is another fun trick so I’ve got this CG crack element so it’s just kind of like an ambient occlusion pass of some cracks and what I could do is with that layer selected I can hold down alt drop it on there switches it out and then I’ll rotate it then I’ll change the transfer mode to multiply let’s see here so if you look here you can see we’re kind of breaking this edge up maybe I’ll create a mask just around this front piece here hit F feather it out some and then I could you know I could do some color correction on this I’m not sure what I would need to maybe just add in a little bit of that cool color but you see what that does is it breaks up that hard edge and that clean edge and gives it a nice organic feel so as as if this is kind of a cracked side of the building and maybe we could take it just lower the opacity a little bit all right so you can see it just breaks up that edge a bit gives it a nice result and it’s really easy to do all right so it could add a few more cracks and a few more broken windows and we’d be finished with this one building so once you finish with one area you’re going to have a whole bunch of layers so what’s a good way to manage all of these different layers well what we can do is pre-compose them so what I’ll do is come down here from the hole all the way up to the cracks and I’m going to pre-compose it so I’m going to choose layer precompose and we’ll call this front building and hit OK now everything gets messed up because of the pre comp but what I’ll do is click on this collapse transformation switch boom and boom so now everything is going to work as if it’s inside of this comp except that it’s in its own pre comp and the nice thing about this is that I can turn this off and that way you’re not rendering stuff that’s not part of the area you’re focusing on now let me show you a couple of other important things

that I learned while working on this project that I know will help you out as well so let’s go ahead and add some destruction to one of these background buildings specifically a building that gets obscured by another building or obstructed obstruct we’re not going to look that one oh here’s the thing let’s just take one of these damage elements and stick it on this back wall so well click on the camera tracker will select three points create a solid boom take that solid replace it with some damage scale that damage up we rotate it can also color correct it of course come over here very green building and let’s see you know again be careful with your black levels sometimes you can kind of go back in in the end and get those dialed in but I’m just trying to bring the overall brightness down and just melt it into that wall because frankly I don’t want to go through all that stuff that we just went through so alright so this looks pretty good except then I get obstructed by this foreground building so what I want to do is select our camera tracking data and I want to create a solid right in line with the top of this something like that and I know we’ve already created one but I just want to create it from scratch so let’s see yeah that’s probably good so we’ll right click create a solid and that’ll be the top all right so I’ll go and turn that off now I want to create one for the side as well it’s hard to know what exactly where the side of this is that looks pretty good and we’ll right-click create a solid so this is the part that’s slightly tricky that may be masking is easier but I’m going to rotate this I move it down forward and what we’re trying to do is recreate the size of the building using these planes so the top one here rotate this scale it see just trying to align it perfectly with the building so I’m just rotating it and so here we go so we’re sort of recreated this this building I’m going to try to do a slightly better job all right so we’ve got part of the box here will slide through here now I can see some of my destruction so maybe what I’ll do is I’ll just scale this piece and then slide it back so let’s lower the opacity make sure that it aligns pretty good not bad all right so then I’ll turn the opacity back up on these two select those two and pre-compose them so layer pre-compose and we’ll call this a foreground building mask and hit OK we’ll turn on that collapse transformation switch now we’ll take that damage that we added set the track mat to alpha inverted and basically it’s going to use the foreground mask now again it’s not perfect because I didn’t quite align it but without doing any extra work I have a 3d track mat that is working pretty well and this is exactly what I did in the original example all right so this is a good solution to dealing with occlusion and things like that but another important thing is doing just 2d matte painting sometimes you don’t need to do a full 3d track so sometimes it’s good to do a planner track or a 2d track as well so what I’ll do just go back to our original footage here and we’ll come up here to animation and select track in mocha ae it’s going to go ahead and open up the footage we’ll hit OK and what I want to do is track this foreground area because I want to change out the traffic and add some destruction or whatever so we’ll come over here and we’ll add a mess ask around this area something like that when you’re done just right-click to close it and then we’ll go ahead click the track forward button okay so the tracking just finished and what I’ll do is move the playhead back

to the beginning and then I’m going to right-click on the mask that we just created and I’m going to choose align selected surface and what that’s going to do is align our data specifically to the first frame of our shot then I’ll choose export tracking data will do after-effects corner pin copy to clipboard alright so we’ll jump back to After Effects let’s turn our original footage off turn our background plate on and actually open up the background plate because I want to take our footage that’s inside of it and I want to duplicate it so right on frame one I duplicated it and we right-click I’m going to choose time freeze frame so now I have a freeze frame of this point in time and what I’m going to do is go to the beginning choose edit paste and now I’ve pasted the corner pin data right into the shot now if we look at this it’s going to get a little crazy but if we take the pen tool select that layer and draw a shape right around the area that we tracked you can see we’ve isolated it there hit F feather at a touch here we can see now it looks pretty good it kind of locks right onto that place now to illustrate this a little bit more all just do a quick little tint on there so check this out it’s actually a freeze-frame in that area now we do lose a little bit of the parallaxing so it looks a little less three-dimensional but it’s so far away that we don’t even really notice that much now we can do a matte painting so let’s say we’ll take this layer choose layer pre-compose and we’ll leave all the attributes I’ll call this matte painting and if we open it up I’ve actually got a matte painting already set up if we look at it in Photoshop you can see here’s the original plate I just saved a still frame of the first frame paint it out some of the cars or whatever and then I added in some cracks and then I brought it into After Effects so what I could do now is I can drop this right inside the comp and I have another layer called ground cracks and this is just some you know some scrapes I guess looks like some holes they’re cracked across and I painted it out underneath the bridge and stuff now I could probably color crack this a bit and by color cracked I just mean to add a bunch of green maybe take out some contrast so won’t go too much into that side of things but basically do a nice little matte painting on a single still frame then if I go to my background plate where I’ve frozen that layer check this out you know I’ve added in this nice matte painting I can even just jump over to the final output here see what that looks like not bad turn on a couple of my other elements my building here nice and that’s looking pretty good so and again in the the end of the shot and do the exact same thing for the background added some stock footage back there of some smoke that’s actually one of the action essential elements as well and you know I just added a couple of broken out windows here a couple of pieces here and they’re all pretty simple stuff just takes a little bit of time now if I wanted to add some motion blur to this what I would probably do is come in here turn on the motion blur switch for all of the layers then what I could do is just turn on the motion blur switch and you can see now it looks a little bit more integrated so before it looks a little sharp but when you actually the motion blur on it it looks much better I’d probably add a little bit of a blur to this background element you know things like that there’s really a bunch of different ways to do stuff you could do 2d tracking all by itself you can do some 3d tracking so I think it’s really important to understand all of the different ways to composite so that you know what’s the best way for your specific shot it’s really important to learn the technique so that people think you actually know what you’re talking about you know actually I did a tutorial once it’s called the ring and you know it’s kind of got a greenish blue color to it and

somebody said hey can you do that tutorial exactly the same but do it gold and I was just like I couldn’t believe it I couldn’t believe it that I was sitting there re recording a tutorial just for this guy and those are the good old days now speaking of which if you want to add some cool blue laser beams portals whatever these are if you want to add that into your shot check out some of our recent tutorials like the shockwave and even the sci-fi weapons there’s a lot of similar techniques that you can use to create that energy field and I’m pretty sure there’s one or two tutorials on creating energy fields I guess finally we could we could do an overall color correction on our entire shot do a color correction curves we could you know we could add a little blue maybe add a little contrast here like that looks pretty good maybe dim this this background element and I like to use a like a levels adjustment for this believe it or not because you can just lift and then even bring the gamma back over to kind of keep it dark but all right let’s take a look all right so pretty cool now if you are an element 3d version 2 user what you can do is you can add some 3d objects just the same so type in element and we’ll come over to the setup here and we’ll come over here to the jet strike collection and maybe I’ll just do like a fighter jet and you can see that turn off the draft textures now I want to match the environment so I’ll come over here to the environment and in the basic we have this one that’s kind of an outside looking one that’s very similar to the LA scene in fact I think it’s shot very close so this is exactly the same bridge that we’re looking at so these are the overpasses so that actually works out pretty good maybe I’ll switch it to the physical shader for the body so that it looks good there maybe we’ll turn the shininess up just a little bit it’s looking pretty good then I’ll hit okay now you can see the jet right there we could go ahead turn on the group null so we’ll create a null object that will actually allow us to move it around maybe we’ll put this up and we will put this III D layer below the color correction we could color correct it ourselves as well and of course we can animate it flying through the air but you can see here that it’s definitely in 3d space and did you know it reacts to the environment so I could and I could scale it up now one cool thing too with element that if you go to the physical environment and you tint the color of the environment to the color of your scene so watch this as I tent it you’re actually getting that same kind of color cast on your object you can even add some heat distortion and some particle trails all that good stuff alright guys it’s been a really complete tutorial try to cover as many different techniques as possible be sure to check out the website Video Copilot dotnet we’ve got a bunch of other tutorials we’ve got some tutorials on some different jets and aircraft a lot of cool stuff and as always be sure to check out our products page the optical flares lens flares and of course element 3d lets you add a bunch of really really cool 3d stuff inside of your After Effects comps so definitely check it out I’ll make sure this footage and the destruction elements are packed up ready to go on the website alright guys thanks so much for watching I’m Andrew Kramer and we will see you next time