How to Add 3D Objects to Your Videos with Blender & After Effects

In this 2 part series we will look at how to add realistic looking 3D objects to your videos using Blender and Adobe After Effects.

In the first part we will work in Blender. You will learn how to set up your 3D scene and set up your lights and environment maps. We will cover how to use Shadow Catchers to create transparent surface areas that capture the shadow of our 3D objects.

We will then add some physics to our scene to make it feel a little bit more interactive. Finally, I will cover the render settings you need to render out the final image sequence.

In part 2 we will cover how to composite these rendered elements back onto your video using Adobe After Effects. Stay tuned, I hope to release the second part within a week or two :)

Advanced Materials in Blender 2.8 – The Shader Editor

Learn how to create advanced materials for your 3D models using the Shader Editor in Blender 2.8! The Shader Editor offers a procedural approach to generating complex shaders for anything from lava to organic looking dragon scales.

For this tutorial we are going to start out with a free 3D model of the Stanford Dragon.

We will import an environment map and then create a basic material for our dragon. Next, you will learn about how to access and use the Shader Editor in Blender.

This editor works by connecting different nodes together to define how your model will be shaded. You can plug together different functional nodes for math operations, ambient occlusion and much more!

At the end of this tutorial you will have created a complex half-glass, half-marble material shader with some highlighted edges and green ambient occlusion. It might not be the most ‘functional’ shader, but hopefully the tutorial will show you what is possible with the Shader Editor in Blender!

All comments, questions and suggestions are welcome :)

BorisFX Black Friday Sale 40-65% OFF

BorisFX are having a HUGE Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale. Get up to 65% OFF Mocha Pro, Sapphire, Continuum and SilhouetteFX. The sale runs from the 25th November to the 2nd December 2019.

All products are 25% off and all bundles are 50% off during this period. On top of that you can use my custom coupon code ‘SURFACEDSTUDIO’ to get an additional 15% off! The coupon code will also work once the sale has ended.

And, for full transparency, if you use my discount code, I will also get a little bit of a kickback which I always really appreciate :D

Mocha Pro

Mocha Pro is an academy award winning planar tracker. It has been used in countless Hollywood movies and TV shows all over the world. You can use Mocha Pro for screen replacements, object and people removal, lens correction, 2D and 3D motion tracking and much more.

Check out some of the Mocha Pro tutorials on my YouTube channel to get you started!

Sapphire

BorisFX Sapphire is a popular effects and plugin collection that gives you access to thousands of effects & presets within your favourite editing software. Anything from lens flares, glows, lighting, loooks and generated motion graphics to professional looking transitions.

What’s cool about Sapphire is that it allows you to create your own custom transitions and effects from scratch using the powerful node-based S_Transition and S_Effect builders. Here is a tutorial on how to create custom transitions using Sapphire inside Premiere Pro.

Continuum

Continuum Complete is another industry leading effects and plugin collection from BorisFX. It includes very different effects from Sapphire and contains some powerful tools for working with 3D objects, creating professional titles and generating (and tracking) cool looking particle effects into your shots using Particle Illusion

Here is a tutorial on how to use Particle Illusion within Premiere Pro to add some exciting particle effects to your shot.

SilhouetteFX

BorisFX recently purchased SilhouetteFX which gives you access to paint, roto and compositing tools. It has been used in popular movies such as Avengers, Black Panther and Avengers: End Game.

I have to admit I am not particularly familiar with this product yet so best check out the BorisFX Silhouette website to see whether it is the right product for you!

Licenses & Compatibility

BorisFX Mocha Pro, Sapphire and Continuum are compatible with Adobe, Avid, Apple and other OFX hosts. This means, these plugins will work with Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Apple Motion, Nuke, Blackmagic Fusion, HitFilm, Sony Vegas and many other popular video editing and compositing tools.

The discounts apply to all new licenses, upgrades and subscriptions. Be sure to check out the BorisFX store for more details!

If you’ve been holding out to snatch yourself up a deal with BorisFX, now might be a good time to pull the trigger!

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED 4K Review

The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED is a lightweight laptop aimed at content creators. It features a 4K AMOLED display, fast SSDs, 9th Generation Intel CPUs and NVIDIA RTX graphics cards. Let’s see how it performs in the real world for video editing, VFX & 3D!

Time Stamps

  • 02:01 NVIDIA RTX Studio
  • 03:25 Raytracing & Tensor Cores
  • 05:19 Technical Specifications
  • 08:01 Real World Performance
  • 08:28 4K OLED Display
  • 09:08 Form Factor & Weight
  • 09:34 Performance (Video Editing/VFX/3D)
  • 10:02 Working with 4K
  • 11:15 RTX in the Real World (Blender)
  • 13:01 Noise
  • 13:58 Keyboard & Touchpad
  • 14:35 Inputs & Outputs
  • 15:06 Webcam
  • 15:23 Speakers
  • 15:45 Battery Life
  • 16:37 Price & Configuration
  • 17:14 Verdict & Final Thoughts

*Corrections

  • The i9-9980HK is an 8 Core Processor
  • The screen is rated at 400nits. Some online tests place it at 283nits though :)

AERO 15 OLED Technical Specifications

  • 4.4lbs (2kg) weight
  • 15.6” Thin Bezel 4K AMOLED Display
  • 9th Generation Intel CPU (i7-9750H – i9-9980HK)
  • 2 SODIMM slots for up to 64GB DDR4RAM at 2666Mhz
  • Support for 2 NVMe SSD drives
  • 3 USB 3.0, 1 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), UHS-II SD Card Reader
  • HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, Microphone/Headphone Combo Jack, Ethernet
  • 94Wh Battery

NVIDIA RTX Studio

The NVIDIA RTX Studio initiative is focused on providing laptops that are aimed at creators rather than gamers. They usually come with 60Hz 4K screens. They come with more RAM, stronger CPUs and larger SSDs. And they come with the new NVIDIA RTX graphics cards.

What’s so special about RTX cards? Besides CUDA cores, which are great for general GPU acceleration, they also contain Raytracing Cores and Tensor Cores.
Raytracing Cores can be utilised in 3D applications and rendering to offload path tracing processing onto your graphics card.
Tensor Cores are great for executing Machine Learning models. As such they can be leverage for AI based tasks such as smart sharpening and other image processing.

RTX technology is still in it’s early stages, but it is increasingly being integrated into professional software such as 3dsMax, Maya, Blender, Da Vinci Resolve, Lightroom and many other creative tools.

NVIDIA is working together with a lot of companies to create ‘RTX Studio’ laptops. These laptops are certified by NVIDIA to meet a set of minimum requirements to be considered a part of the RTX Studio laptop series.

You can visit the official NVIDIA website to learn more about NVIDIA RTX Studio.

Recommendation for Gamers

If you’re after a gaming laptop and are considering the AERO 15 I recommend going with a 1080p IPS panel instead that runs at 144Hz or even at 240Hz. You will enjoy your gaming experience a whole lot more :)

If this laptop looks like something you are considering, be sure to check out the GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED SALE

Mocha Pro Edge Snapping & Magnetic Layer Tool – Rotoscoping Tutorial

Mocha Pro from BorisFX is an academy award winning planar tracker. You can use it to track and insert new images or videos into your footage. You can use it to remove people from moving shots. And you can use it for rotoscoping work.

With version 2019.5, Mocha Pro has added some exciting new features that I want to show you in this tutorial.

  • Magnetic Layer Tool: create a new spline quickly using the magnetic layer tool to easily trace the outline of your subject.
  • Freehand Tool: switch to the Freehand tool to draw any shape you want. Mocha Pro will convert the path to a spline for you automatically.
  • Edge Snapping: automatically snap the points of your spline to the nearest identifiable edge.

You can purchase Mocha Pro for $295 USD on an annual subscription from the Boris FX store. If you use coupon code SURFACEDSTUDIO at checkout you will get 15% OFF your purchase price – and support me in the process :)

Mivitar Boling P1 RGB Video Light Review

The Mivitar Boling P1 is a pocket sized RGB video light. It is a sturdy aluminium construction, plenty of light output and lots of different modes to easily control the colour. In this quick video review I want to talk about this nifty little light.

TIME STAMPS

  • 1:06 Introduction
  • 1:39 Specs & Features
  • 5:04 Thoughts & Verdict

The Mivitar Boling P1 has a sturdy, full aluminum body and a solid weight of 260g. It has 3 different modes to control the color, intensity and behaviour of the light. You can set the colour temperature to anything between 2500K – 8500K or set the colour directly via HSI.

There are additional effect settings for blinking, cycling and flashing modes. The LED light charges via USB-C and lasts over 2 hours at full brightness. And yes, you can use the light while it’s plugged in and charging :)

If you are looking for a great small RGB video light to carry around with you at all times, check out the Mivitar Boling P1.

Affiliate Links

Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB DSLR Gimbal Review

The Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB is a professional grade camera stabilizer. It has a load capacity of up to 10 lbs (4.5kg) and can carry a mirrorles, DSLR or small cinema camera.

In this review I take the Crane 3 LAB for a spin, talk about the technical specifications and show you what sorts of shots you can create with it.

Time Stamps

  • 02:28 Technical Specification
  • 04:32 Field Test & Sample Footage
  • 06:53 Verdict
  • 14:55 Recommendations

Affiliate Links

Street Fighter Energy Ball VFX Tutorial

Learn how to create an exciting Hadouken VFX from Street Fighter using Adobe After Effects and the RTFX Generator.

To win 1 of 5 licenses to the RTFX Generator simply

  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel
  • Leave a comment on the video explaining what VFX you want to create with the assets from the RTFX Generator

Good luck and have fun!

Premiere Pro SPEED RAMP & SMOOTH SLOW MOTION Tutorial

Learn how to speed ramp your video and how to create smooth slow motion by using Time Remapping in Adobe Premiere Pro.

There are 3 different ways that you can control the speed of your video in Adobe Premiere Pro.

  1. You can use the Rate Stretch tool
  2. You can define the playback speed of your clip using the Speed/Duration settings
  3. You can use Time Remapping

Let’s talk about how to use each of these options.

Using the Rate Stretch Tool

One of the easiest way to speed up or slow down your video is with the Rate Stretch tool. You can find this tool in your toolbar. It might be hidden behind one of the other editing tools so simply click and hold to access it.

With the Rate Stretch tool selected, simply click on the end of your clip and shorten or extend it to speed up or slow down your video.

Specifying the Playback Speed of your Video Clips

Another option is to right click on your clip in the Editor Timeline and go to the ‘Speed/Duration…’ settings.

This will open up the Speed and Duration settings for the clip. In her you can specify the percentage speed of your video. You can also Reverse the video, select to Maintain Audio Pitch and Ripple Edit or Shift any clips further in the timeline.

Using Time Remapping

All of the previous options affect the entire clip. If you need more control you can use Time Remapping. With Time Remapping you can create speed ramps where you ramp up or down the speed of your video smoothly.

You can enable Time Remapping by right clicking on your clip and going to Show Clip Keyframes -> Time Remapping -> Speed.

This will add a horizontal white line to the clip on your timeline that represents the playback speed. You can drag this line up or down to speed up or slow down the clip.

You can also create keyframes (with CTRL/CMD + click) and animate the speed of the clip. In order to smoothen out the transition you can drag the handles of the keyframes left and right to create interesting speed ramp effects.

Time Interpolation & Creating Smooth Slow Motion

When you slow down a video in Adobe Premiere Pro, you stretch out the content. Premiere Pro needs to figure out where to get the additional frames to extend your video duration.

If you want smooth slow motion you need to film your video at a high frame rate. If your clip is filmed at 60 FPS, your sequence is set to 30 FPS and you are playing your clip back at 50% speed, Premiere Pro has enough additional frames in the video to give you perfectly smooth motion.

However, if your video was shot at 30 FPS, Premiere Pro needs to figure out where to get those additional frames from to play back at 50% speed.

This is where Time Interpolation becomes important. Time Interpolation allows you to control how Premiere Pro generates the frames required to let you slow down your video.

You can access this option by right clicking the clip and going into the Speed/Duration settings.

Time Interpolation gives you 3 options.

Frame Sampling

Premiere Pro will source the frame from the video. If there are not enough frames in the video (e.g. not shot at a high enough frame rate), the nearest frame will be used. This can lead to duplicated frames and stuttering video if you slow down your video.

Frame Blending

Premiere Pro will generate a blended frame to fill the extra space. This frame is a mix between consecutive frames in the source video. You will likely see duplicated edges and a motion trail where there is movement.

This can be an interesting effect if you want to convey the feeling of someone being a bit disoriented, drunk or zoned out.

Optical Flow

Optical Flow looks ahead and back to guess the movement of the objects in your scene based on their pixels. Premiere Pro will try to generate frames that fill in the missing movement.

This option will look closest to true slow motion. However you may see little artefacts or glitches and it will likely not be quite as perfect as shooting your video at a high frame rate.

DJI Osmo Pocket In-Depth Review

The DJI Osmo Pocket is DJI’s smallest handheld video stabiliser.

The pocket-sized device is easy to take with you on any adventure. It promises easy, high quality and smooth video no matter where you go.

But does it deliver?

Technical Specifications

Don’t bore me with the details! Just give me the facts!

[table
headings=”Feature|Value”
rowA=”Release Date|December 2018″
rowB=”Price|Approx $350 USD”
rowC=”Dimensions|12.19cm x 3.69cm x 2.8cm (4.8” x 1.45” x 1.1”)”
rowD=”Weight|116g (4oz)”
rowE=”Sensor|1/2.3” CMOS (same as iPhone XS)”
rowF=”Field of View (FOV)|80″
rowG=”Megapixels|12″
rowH=”Aperture|F/2″
rowI=”Video Capabilities|4K @ 60 FPS, 1080p at 120 FPS”
rowJ=”Image Capabilities|JPEG + DNG RAW, max 4000 x 3000 pixels”
rowK=”Additional Capabilities|Panorama,Timelapse,Motion Lapse,Active Track”
rowL=”Stabilization|3-Axis Mechanical Stabilisation”
rowM=”Screen|2.74cm (1.08”) Touch Screen LCD”
rowN=”Audio|2 Microphones (bottom + front)”
rowO=”Storage|Micro SD, 256GB Max”
rowP=”Battery Life|140 minutes”
rowQ=”Charging|USB-C”
rowR=”App|DJI Mimo App (free)”
rowS=”Case|Soft Shell Protective Case”
]

The DJI Osmo Pocket is a tiny device, measuring in at only 12.19cm x 3.69cm x 2.8cm (4.8” x 1.45” x 1.1”) and weighing 116g (4oz). Here it is next to a ruler.

The DJI Osmo Pocket features a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, which is the same size as the iPhone XS. It can capture 4K video at a frame rate of up to 60FPS. You can also shoot slow motion videos with up to 120FPS if you go down to 1080p.

It can capture images in JPEG or RAW (DNG) file format at a resolution of up to 4000×3000.

The sensor sits behind a lens with a Field of View of 80°. The lens is mounted on a mechanically stabilised 3-axis gimbal, promising smooth motion and sharp images no matter where you go.

On the front of the DJI Osmo Pocket you will find a 2.74cm (1.08”) Touch Screen LCD. This touch screen allows you to quickly adjust your settings or review your videos and images without having to attach a camera or a mobile phone.

The DJI Osmo Pocket has 2 microphones for audio. One is located at the bottom of the device and one sits at the front, just below the display.

All media is recorded to a Micro SD card that slots in on the side and the maximum supported capacity is 256GB.

The battery life of the DJI Osmo Pocket is rated to last 140 minutes and you can charge the device up via a USB-C connector. The connector is located at the bottom of the Osmo Pocket.

When you buy the DJI Osmo Pocket, you will also receive a small protective case. The case is made from rubber and protects the gimbal when you stuff it into your pocket or into your bag. The flap is easy to use and it only takes a few seconds to free the Osmo Pocket from the case or put it back in.

Field Test

In order to put the DJI Osmo Pocket through it’s paces, I have been using it extensively over the last few months.

I took it with me on weekend trips and outings with friends. It came along when we went to the United States. I also spent a couple of days out, specifically testing how the Osmo would handle certain situations.

Here’s what I found!

Usability

In terms of usability, the DJI Osmo Pocket is hard to beat. It takes me less than 10 seconds to get set up. Just pull it out of your pocket and out of the protective case. Turn it on – takes about 5 seconds. Press the record button. And that’s it!

Especially compared to my other Gimbals (DJI Osmo, Zhiyun-Tech Crane), the Osmo Pocket is ridiculously easy to use. The touch screen is also a nice ‘touch’ and makes adjusting settings or reviewing your footage easy. However, if you have fat fingers like myself you may find the small size a little fiddly at times.

Battery life is a decent 2 hours. For most of our outings that is plenty of time to shoot plenty of video footage or take a large number of photos. I only ran up against this limit when I tried to capture motionlapses over a long period of time. Carrying a charger along with you if you’re gone for a weekend is recommended.

Video Quality & Stabilization

The video quality at 4K is fantastic. The image comes out nice and crisp and, shooting at 60FPS, gives you buttery smooth slow motion. In low-light situations I did notice a fair amount of grain. This is caused by the DJI Osmo Pocket’s rather small sensor. However, I did not find this to be a deal breaker.

While slow motion at 120 FPS in 1080p gave great slow motion, the image quality did start to suffer. The video turned out fairly grainy and just not as crisp as what I would have expected when shooting FHD (1080p) video.

I am pretty happy with the stabilization of the DJI Osmo Pocket. Panning and tilting movements are amazingly smooth due to the mechanically stabilised gimbal.

When walking, you will notice a fair amount of up-and-down movement. It was definitely not as smooth as footage from my DJI Osmo, but I didn’t mind. Reminded me more of a 3D shooter than a flying-drone shot.

Occasionally I also noticed the gimbal head ‘adjusting’ the direction with a bit of a jerky movement, but again, for the most part, the video was surprisingly smooth. Best check the sample videos in the review above :)

Image Quality

The image quality of the DJI Osmo Pocket is OK. The device is definitely designated for video rather than photography, but you can get some decent shots.

Here is an example fully zoomed out of Degraves street in Melbourne.

JPEG, 4×3, Full Size

And here is the same image zoomed in and cropped to 100%.

JPEG, 4×3, 100% Crop

While you can take nice photos on the DJI Osmo Pocket, if you are into photography, I would recommend getting a compact camera or even using your phone instead.

You can shoot in RAW with the Osmo Pocket which gives you a lot of control if you want to post process your images. However, the quality did not hold up well if compared to a RAW image shot on a mirrorless camera or a DSLR.

Active Track, Motionlapses and Additional Features

If you find the small LCD screen to fiddly or you want access to more options, you can connect your phone to the DJI Osmo Pocket. A small adapter connects your iPhone or Android phone directly to the device.

To access the Osmo Pocket’s interface you need to use the free DJI Mimo app. The app is easy to use and unlocks a number of additional features such as Active Track.

Active Track allows you to tap and drag an outline around an object on your phone and the Osmo Pocket will try to follow the movement of this object automatically.

While this sounded great in theory, the practice did not hold up quite as well. We tried tracking our cats (as well as other moving objects), and the DJI Osmo Pocket lost track of it constantly.

It might work better if you have very simple objects against clear backgrounds that aren’t moving too fast, but I personally wouldn’t make this feature my main reason for purchase.

One feature I really enjoyed using though on the DJI Osmo Pocket is Motionlapses. Motionlapses are timelapses where the gimbal is moving. They are super easy to set up, you just define the duration and the interval, and you’re good to go! Check out the video above for some examples :)

The Issue With the Battery

One concern that I failed to address in the video is the issue with the battery. A big limitation of the DJI Osmo Pocket is that the battery is inbuilt into the device. While this gives it more portability, it means that you can’t just bring spares with you. It also means that if the battery every fails, you can’t replace it.

The battery is rated to last about 400 charges. This is a lot of recording time, but eventually you might get to a point where the battery’s capacity drops below a level you’re happy with.

At that point you will have to bring the DJI Osmo Pocket back to DJI to have the battery replaced. With the battery warranty only lasting 6 months, it is then likely you may have to pay for the favour.

I am still far off from the 400 charges and will likely be able to use the DJI Osmo Pocket for years before I get there, but it is good to be aware of the limitations of the inbuilt battery.

Verdict

The main reason I like the DJI Osmo pocket is simply lack of friction. It is just so easy to use. Less than 10 seconds from your pocket to shooting fully stabilised video. I can’t claim that of any of our other camera stabilisers.

The video footage at 4K, 60FPS looks great. Stabilisation works well and you can capture some really nice, organic looking shots without much effort at all.

Personally I would avoid shooting in 1080p though unless I was in a very well lit area to make sure the quality does not drop too low. If you are in a good spot though with lots of light, shooting slow motion at 120FPS is a lot of fun!

The LCD display on the back can be a little bit fiddly (if you have fat fingers), but I am just grateful that I can even see what I am recording without much setup cost. No need to attach my phone. No need to mount a camera or an external monitor. The touch was very responsive though and the menus are very logically laid out. I had no problem with the usability of the DJI Osmo Pocket at all.

In terms of photos, I likely will be using my phone instead (iPhone XS) as it just captures better images. However, if the DJI Osmo Pocket is all you have on you, it will do a decent job, especially for wider shots such as landscapes.

I enjoyed using the DJI Mimo app, though the additional features such as Active Track didn’t really work as well as expected. On the other hand, motionlapses were amazing and are super simple to setup and shoot.

If you are looking for a device to make shooting high quality handheld video easy, go and check out the DJI Osmo Pocket. I certainly know it has limitations, but I appreciate it for being the most easy-to-use gimbal I have ever owned.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is available on Amazon for around $350.