I want to return to the main issues that keep people from using A:M composite.
I always gets confused by the order in which one does a composite, specifically how to add/combine hierarchy of post effects. Very confusing to me, so I am missing something critical in understanding the workflow.
I'm going to write this toward the complete newbie... hopefully we'll get some more folks to use A:M Composite this way.
As near as I can tell the required components of a Composite are:
- Composite container
- Post Effect(s)
Steps to an effective composite
Note: There are other ways to composite images in A:M. We are discussing A:M Composite here. One of the benefits to using A:M Composite over other methods is that you can bypass the rendering process and save a lot of time re-rendering images. To save time: Render once. Convert and Composite.
1. Right Click in PWS and create a new Composite container
2. Create a Post Effect (any effect will do but I often use Mix)
3. Open/Add your imagery in A:M (If you've just rendered a sequence it may show up as available but it's better to use images your brought into A:M)
* Once you get a setup you like... save your Project. If something goes wrong you can then return to that saved state again.
Note that at this point we haven't actually created a composite. We are just set up for success. Composite container. Post Effect. Images. Saved Project. We are set.
- Drag and Drop the Post Effect onto the Composite
- Because this is a Mix Effect it'll have two image buffers which await files to be dragged/dropped onto them.
- Underneath the Image container should be a subimage container. These are the nodes you drag and drop into the image buffers.
Note: If the subimage containers do not show up something has to trigger them. Saving the Project might work but often just clicking around in the PWS will as well. This may be a screen refresh issue but I think A:M is just being resourceful in what it is drawing to the screen and only wants to show this container when you need it. Once A:M knows you need it... it will appear.
- Once the images are in the buffer containers I tend to click up at each stage of the hierarchy to refresh the thumbnail image at that level. This clues me into the fact that the settings at that level have properly effected the imagery. It can also clue us in when something is amiss... for instance, if no tiny image shows up at all then a setting may have been missed. Double clicking on the Composite container will of course open the final result for viewing in the main window.
* Here I like to open the Properties panel and Time Line. This will be needed if you are animating effects over time even if dealing with only one still frame it can help to see how the effect is being set. For animation it shows you where your effects have been keyframed.
* If you want to add another image into the composite there are several ways to do it but I like to add a second Mix Effect. This use of the same effect more than once is key to really diving deeply into compositing. It's also useful for effects like Blur which by themselves will only produce a limited blur effect but when nested under additional blur nodes can increase a blur to the nth degree.
Okay... we've played enough for the moment. Time to save our Composite (name the files something useful and number them incrementally... MyFirstComposite001.cmp... for instance). Save the Project file too if you feel the need.
But saving isn't the most important thing. The results of the composite was what we were after and even if we lose everything we need that! So, Right Click on the Composite container and select 'Save As Animation' and save your newly composited image, movie or sequence of images.
Note: If currently using 64bit A:M the .MOV option will not be available. For compositing/converting to .MOV format you'll want to launch 32bit A:M. Run both at the same time if that helps.
Note: When saving to .MOV format the default compression (codec) will be 'Animation'. This is no compression and will produce large files. You may want to choose a compression such as H.264. When you click on 'Compression' in the Save As Animation dialog it may take a little while for the settings to appear.