In our Basics series, we look at the fundamentals of a wide range of different topics in CGI to break it down into the core elements. This month we delve into compositing.
Why does an artist need compositing? Surely everything can now be done in a render? The latest generation of render software can now create imagery on a laptop in minutes, which five years ago would have taken hours on a workstation costing the same price as a nice car.
The answer to why we need compositing is straightforward. Compositing allows a level of refinement of the imagery or animation that is still hard to achieve in 3D software. A decent compositing application also possesses an NLE (non-linear editor) which allows shots to be stitched together, retimed, colour matched and reordered according to the needs of an artist, as well as the client.
A well-managed composite can change a colour in a sequence of shots or pop out a specific reflective highlight in less time than any 3D software could manage. Compositing software also offers a wide range of effects, enabling you to add particles, glows and text in a quicker and more adaptable way than with 3D software. Some compositing software can also take the raw building blocks of a 3D scene and import it as a 3D file via formats such as Alembic, which can be used to create new elements and masks for existing footage.
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