Digital Compositing 1

Course MD609 | Sebastian Kraft and Hend Esmat

Effective digital compositing is critical in almost all visual effects work'' - Eric Roth, Executive Director, VES



Group 1 Tutorial: Wednesday 5th Slot.

Group 2 Tutorial: Thursday 4th Slot.


Course Definition:

The introductory course to Digital Compositing will focus on the technical fundamentals and practical solutions of digital compositing.

Learning Outcome, Competences:

  • Standard technical background knowledge in the field of digital compositing.
  • Knowledge of various image manipulation processes.
  • Understanding the basics for three dimensional spaces for compositing and visualization.
  • Theory and Practice of Color-screen Lighting and Keying
  • Using the toolset of Adobe After Effects to automate and enhance production-workflows.

Keywords: Postproduction, Compositing, Keying and Tracking, Animation for Postproduction.

Grade evaluation

1. Theoretical EXAM: 20%

2. Midterm: Preproduction Presentation: 30%

4. Final Project Movie (including presentation): 50%

Assignment Details:

Deadlines for submitting assignments

2. Project Development (Preproduction) Presentation: 7th week

The presentation should focusing on storyboard, animatic and visual style definition: Max. 8-10 minutes of length.

Deadline: 15.+ 16.+ 17.03.2015

3. Final Project: 50% "All about me": Length: 60sec. (rendered movie and after effects project, including all footage files). A presentation of the work is mandatory:approx. 4-5 minutes presentation length.

Deadline: 06.+07.05.2015

4. Theoretical exam: Computerized multiple-choice exam, focusing on theorical and principles of digital compositing.

Deadline: Wednesday 15.04.2015

Regulations for handing in the final movie:

1. one .Zip File max. 500MB. (If too big - source-files have to be reduced) 2. The .Zip File has to be named in the following manner: "" xx for the assignment number. 3. All sources and project-files have to be contained 4. All projects need to be managed via "collect files" into one folder before saving. 5. The zip-file has to submitted your personal Google Drive folder.

Digital Compositing Schedule:

Week 1 11+12.02.2015 Introduction to the Class and Simple Keying Intro Intro, Assessment Deadlines, Pre-requisities,

Final project definition + technical breakdown

Assignment: story concept + storyboard (min. 6 images)
Week 2 18.+19.02.2015 GreenScreen recording and acting + Camera-work Chromakey recording considerations. Enhanced storyboard (min. 12 images) + visual style definition
Week 3 25.+26.02.2015 2d-Tracking and particle effects, Keylight controls Channels: RGB + alpha, color temperature Animatic incl. a sound prototype + enhanced visual style definition
Week 4 04.+05.03.2015 Manipulating images: RGB- curves (input + output values), saturation, vignettes Digital Video explained: Digital color, Bit-Depth Record video „prototype“ + prepare presentation
Week 5 11.+12.03.2015 Technically "correct" images: Camera adjustments: Histogram overlay, Postproduction issues: clipping, color temperature offsets. Digital Video explained: Gamma, RAW, Camera Settings; Sign up for Midterm shooting schedule, organize recording demands, practice acting, etc.
Week 6 Sunday and Monday and Tuesday 15.+ 16.+ 17.03.2015 !!!! - (NOT 18+19.03.2015 !!! ) Midterm - week : Graded Presentations + Final Greenscreen Recording Detailed schedule to be announced
Week 7 25+26.03.2015 Color Correction and Color Grading Gamut, Displays, Color Vision (Human perception). Continue to work on the final project.
Week 8 01.+02.04.2015 AE-In-Depth: Advanced GreenScreen Techniques, Status, De-spill Techniques, Multiple Keys, Exporting with Alpha Chromakeying in Depth: Keylight Continue to work on the final project.
Week 9 08.04.2015 (09.04.2015 - no teaching due to Eastern) Advanced AE Tools: 3d Cameras and 3d Compositions Digital Data Explained: Formats and Compression, DataRates, Production and Distribution Formats, Image Sequences

Introduction to 3d Space

Work on the final project
Week 10 15.+16.04.2015 THEORETICAL TEST THEORETICAL TEST Study for the theoretical test
Week 11 22.+23.04.2015 Project Supervision Project Supervision Work on the final project
Week 12 29.+30.04.2015 Graded Presentation: Project Development Last day of teaching (!) -------
Week 14 07.+08.05.2015 FINAL DEADLINE (!) Mandatory Final Project PRESENTATION


  • Ron Brinkman: The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Second Edition: Techniques for Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics, 2008 (Morgan Kaufmann)
  • Jeffery A. Okun, Susan Zwerman: The VES Handbook of Visual Effects: Industry Standard VFX Practices and Procedures, 2010 (Focal Press)
  • Mark Christiansen, Adobe After Effects CS5 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques, 2010 (Adobe Press)
  • Tim Dobbert, Matchmoving, The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking, Sybex 2005

Web References:

Class materials: