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Home ? How Do I ...? ? Creating drop shadows

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14/11/2015 04:32:35

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Hi. I am placing my Muvizu characters in 'real life' environments so drop shadows are critical. I've watched the Render Layers tutorial repeatedly, most of it baffles me but I love it's opening sequence by the fountain with the drops shadows. This is what I want to do, exactly!

I do all my animating against the included green-screen backdrop, I noticed that drop shadows do not work with it so I created a green ground plane. This seems to have solved the problem with shadows on the ground, or floor, but I'd like to cast shadows on walls etc. like in your intro. How would I do that?
thanks in advance
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14/11/2015 07:26:24

ukBertyMuvizu mogulExperimental user
ukBerty
Posts: 976
Tog,

You don't need greenscreen with layers - that's one of the beauties about it....

Just create a layer and put your characters on it.

If you select "separate shadows" when you edit the layer then you get two TARGA sequences when you render- one of the colour for that layer and one of the shadows that fall on that layer.

Therefore you will want to set layer 1(your characters) without separate shadows but your background with separate shadows.

Here's a set...



I have a single layer containing my character which is not set to separate shadows but my background is set to separate shadows

Here's what a layer1 TGA file looks like



Notice that this is a single layer and the character has shadows on him. These are the shadows falling on Layer 1 objects and you don't need these separated out, in fact it's simpler if they are not.

The background shadow layer looks like this...



Once you realise that the shadow layer contains the shadows that are cast on that layer and not by that layer it all falls into place.

Remember - you must use TARGA sequences for any of this to work - forget AVI.

In HitFilm I then assemble the layers thus....



You need to set the blend mode on your shadow layer to "darken". You can then adjust the opacity to change the shadow intensity.

So you end up with....



Obviously other compositors will have something equivalent.

It took me a while to get my head round it....

Hope this helps.....
edited by ukBerty on 14/11/2015
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14/11/2015 20:39:37

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks UK Bertie. However, staring with a blank set I inserted two characters, I then opened up the layers menu, the characters were on the background layer so I created a new layer and put them on THAT layer. I selected the now EMPTY background layer and checked the separate shadows box. I added a directional light and set it so the shadows would be very prominent.

That's about it, I don't know how to generate the layered TGA files like you have shown so I can't look at the separate images to see if everything is correct. I have used TARGA sequences many times before and my video editor Vegas Pro handles them nicely. I'm kind of at a loss as what I'm to do now.
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14/11/2015 23:18:23

MrDrWho13Muvizu mogulExperimental user
MrDrWho13
Posts: 2221
Did you render both layers? Have you tried separating the shadows on both layers?
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15/11/2015 12:25:18

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks MrDrWho13, but I'm unsure how to render layers.

The only method of rendering anything as far as I'm aware is to go to 'Make Video' - I then go to 'Advanced' to select 'Image sequence', there are three check boxes under 'Image sequence options' - Depth pass, flatten layers, and Cutout occluders, the Cutout occluders is checked by default as is Anti-aliasing on the top right -

Under the 'Layers' tab there are check boxes by the two layers, background and Layer 1

How should I proceed?
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15/11/2015 12:27:06

MrDrWho13Muvizu mogulExperimental user
MrDrWho13
Posts: 2221
theotherguy wrote:
The only method of rendering anything as far as I'm aware is to go to 'Make Video' - I then go to 'Advanced' to select 'Image sequence', there are three check boxes under 'Image sequence options' - Depth pass, flatten layers, and Cutout occluders, the Cutout occluders is checked by default as is Anti-aliasing on the top right -

I'll play around with it now, but I think "flatten layers" is not something that should be ticked for the shadows.
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15/11/2015 13:12:44

MrDrWho13Muvizu mogulExperimental user
MrDrWho13
Posts: 2221
Hopefully this can point anyone who's wondering about render layers and drop shadows in the right direction.

So I've set up my character on layer 1, with the shadow sharpness whacked up to 100%. Separate shadows are enabled on both layers.


I'm rendering both layers



oo-er, my pc is struggling with 1080p sharp shadows lol


4 folders have been rendered:


As Berty's said, the shadows are for what falls on the layer, so layer 1s shadows are like this:

And the background's shadows are like this:


I'm using Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11.
So we import the sequence as we would with any other image sequence. (selecting the first frame and ticking the image sequence box)


Repeat for all layers apart from the background colour.

Now I've come across a problem, my shadow layers have solid white which is especially odd since my colour layers have transparency. I'll key it out for now but I'll have to look into it.
I've set up the layers like this:


And this is the result:


You can see the problems with keying out the colour - Berty do you have any advice?

Conclusion: To get the drop shadow you need to only separate the background shadows, and I need to look into why my shadow layers are not rendering with transparency.



2nd attempt:
This time I tried with not separating the shadows on layer 1, and using a mask for the shadow layer:

The shadow is still too light.
edited by MrDrWho13 on 15/11/2015
edited by MrDrWho13 on 15/11/2015
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15/11/2015 14:30:02

ukBertyMuvizu mogulExperimental user
ukBerty
Posts: 976
MDW - the shadow layers are not rendered with transparency - that is correct.

When importing the layers in Hitfilm I have to set the blend mode to darken. This will darken the layers below it where there is grey or black on the image sequence. Any white areas will be unaffected. This means that white is effectively the same as transparent.

Not sure how you would do this in Sony Vegas.

I use Sony Vegas for all my editing, but Hitfilm for compositing. I like to have my shots rendered out before I put them in the editor as rendering them on the fly is slow and jumpy. I think you can do all the layering you need in the free version of HitFilm - https://hitfilm.com/express

If you download the free version and follow the instructions I posted earlier on this thread I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about.
edited by ukBerty on 15/11/2015
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15/11/2015 17:39:50

Clam
Clam
Posts: 51
To render the targas' transparency in Vegas, do these two things:

1. When you import the sequence you'll get a properties window. Make sure the Alpha Channel is set to "Straight (unmatted)."

2. Right click on the video track header and choose "Set default track properties." Make sure "Composite mode" is checked.

That should do it--I assume your version works the same as 13, mine. It took me literally weeks before I figured this out!!

Of course you'll need to duplicate as many video tracks as you have layers, and arrange the layers in the proper order on those tracks.

Tom
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15/11/2015 19:32:21

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks Tom, I use Vegas Pro 13. I followed your instructions when importing the background shadow sequence, the settings you describe are in fact the track defaults. This does not give me the shadow on a transparent background. Perhaps there is something else that needs to be done?
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15/11/2015 20:18:17

Clam
Clam
Posts: 51
Hi, otherguy. Give me a half a day or so to get back to my office to check on that. My thots above were for alpha transparency only, so let me set up a shadow test and see what I can find. I'm in Hawaii so it's still mid-morning here; my answer may be the middle of the night depending on where you are! That's one reason I love the Internet--worldwide contacts.
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15/11/2015 23:36:48

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks Tom! I will also try the Vegas forums on the off chance that someone knows what I'm talking about.
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16/11/2015 00:41:37

Clam
Clam
Posts: 51
OK...think I found something that will do what you want it to do. When you click on the FX icon on the clip, you get the long list of Sony effects. I tried channel blend...and tried and tried and tried. I swear I got it to work one time, but never again. So then I just tested the chroma keyer and that works perfectly. Set the color to key out the targa's white (of course), then you have three sliders to adjust various things. I rendered the background shadow layer in Muvizu twice--once with the shadow 100 percent black and one with dark gray. The chroma keyer sliders behaved a bit differently depending on which clip I used, so experiment with this.

I hope this is what you are asking for. If the chroma keyer is not what you are looking for, try the channel blend and let me know if you get it figured!

Or, go with the HitFilm. I have it and it does work. I'm just much more used to my beloved Vegas.

Tom
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16/11/2015 00:58:04

Clam
Clam
Posts: 51
@MrDoctorWho13: Make the shadows darker in Muvizu. Sorry, that's all I got.
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16/11/2015 01:50:04

Clam
Clam
Posts: 51
SORRY--one more thing about transparent layers. I did not realize that the latest couple of Muvizu versions allow you to export image sequences in .png as well as the old .tga format. I just now noticed the .png extensions on my images (I have a tga thumbnail viewer so they both look the same to me). Everything I wrote above works with .png but likely not with the tga! :P
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17/11/2015 14:42:03

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks again Tom. I haven't heard a peep from the Vegas forums, I don't think it's a very common problem. Hopefully I'll get an answer from a moderator or technician after a week or two. In the meantime I downloaded and installed Hitfilm, my least preferred option, I'll play around with that.
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18/11/2015 01:01:10

mrmuviz
mrmuviz
Posts: 51
If I'm following you guys right, this will work.
The white shadow layer should be set to Multiply.
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18/11/2015 02:08:50

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
Thanks MrMuvizu, you seem to be on to something. Here is the response I got from Sony

"Thank you for contacting Sony Creative Software.
After importing the image sequences, set the compositing mode of the shadow track to "Multiply (Mask)" rather than the default "Source Alpha". This should make it behave as expected. Depending on your workflow, you may also wish to make the shadow track a compositing child of the object track."

You know it's the first thing I'll do when I get home tomorrow!
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18/11/2015 03:03:44

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 176
It WORKS! (couldn't wait til tomorrow to try it!) The shadow colour is a little off but I'm sure I can adjust it, now I can do everything in Vegas! Thanks for the help everyone. I must say I am very relieved to not have to learn new software (Hitfilm) right now, although it's definitely on the agenda when my characters start shooting fireballs at each other.
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