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TUTORIAL: Chromanator Misc: Classic hologram effect

Posted: Fri, 21st May 2004, 3:08pm

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Simon K Jones

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Chromanator Tutorials: Chromanator Misc

Classic hologram effect

Projected holograms are a staple of science fiction and, after a few requests, I thought I'd throw together a quick tutorial showing how to create them in Chromanator.

I'll aim to create the traditional blue-tinted hologram with the fuzzy interference, but the techniques should be useful for all kinds of effects. As you can see from this picture, the effect requires several layers:

Filming
First I need to some source material, which in this case includes a background plate and whatever is supposed to be displayed in the hologram. The contents of the hologram need to be filmed against a greenscreen, unless you want to spend a long time masking it manually.

Signal interference
For this example I'll use a pre-generated sample of interference, created by none other than Andreas, everyone's favourite Swede.

Click here to download Andreas' interference clip.

I need to create a stencil which I can then use to apply the interference directly onto the hologram, without affecting the surroundings.

The first step is to key the greenscreen clip as normal, using the Colour Difference tool:

Now I need to invert the matte so that the green remains, while the actor is cut out.

  • The Invert Matte option can be found just below the black and white point sliders of the Colour Difference tool.

Andreas' interference clip now needs to be placed on the track directly beneath the keyed greenscreen clip.

  • The interference will now show through the ‘hole', surrounded perfectly by the greenscreen.
  • You may need to enlarge or move the interference to make sure it fills the hole completely.

Now I can render this out to create new version of the interference, which can then be imported into the Media Browser and used like any other clip.

Stage one: The hologram subject
Now that all the source material is ready, I can start creating the hologram itself.

The first step is to composite the greenscreen clip of the actor onto the background as normal:

  • I also applied an Erode Alpha at strength 2 and a Box Blur Alpha at level 5. These tools help to give the hologram a softer edge.

The grading and effects tools can now be used to make the actor look less real.

  • Holograms tend to be see-through, so the Transparency tool is vital.
  • The Super-Contrast and Saturation tools can be used to give the actor a harsher appearance.
  • If the Super-Contrast tool is keyframed, I can create the effect of the hologram fluctuating and flashing every few frames, as if it is a little unstable.

Stage two: Background glow
I want to create a subtle glow around the edges of the hologram, so first I copy the composited greenscreen clip and place it on a track just below – but above the background, of course.

  • By displaying the clip's Properties I can switch it to Add composite mode.
  • The Properties can be found from the clip's menu on the Project View timeline.

I don't want it to have the same grading and effects tools as the main clip, so I remove those from the tool inspectors, then add two new ones.

  • A Brightness of 39 will create the required glow.
  • A Box Blur RGBA of 21 will disperse the clip, giving it a ghostly appearance.

As this clip is directly underneath the main clip, it creates the illusion of the main clip having a slight glow around the edges.

Stage three: Foreground glow
A third copy of the greenscreen clip placed on the track above can be used to give a glowing appearance to the actor. This also needs to use the Add composite mode, accessible from the clip's Properties.

A different combination of grading and effects tools will give a suitable look:

  • Super Contrast can be used to enhance the white areas, which will show up as glowing highlights when composited.
  • Saturation can be used to remove some colour from the clip so that it functions only as additional light.
  • Box Blur RGBA diffuses the clip, creating the main ‘glow' appearance.

When combined with the other tracks, the effect is now beginning to look something like a projected hologram.

Stage four: Signal interference

Now I can use the signal interference greenscreen clip that I created at the start of the tutorial. As it now has a convenient greenscreen, it can be keyed using the Colour Difference tool as I would with any normal greenscreen clip.

This leaves the interference neatly animated to the same shape as the actor:

  • A little added transparency completes the effect.

When composited together, the end result is very effective:

Stage five: Blue
Using the same techniques used at the start to create the stencil for the interference, I can take a simple blue plate and create an overlay for the hologram.

With the addition of the Transparency tool, this can be composited over the top of the rest of the tracks for the final touch:

Click here to download an example clip.

Posted: Fri, 21st May 2004, 8:31pm

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av11d

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sweet
Posted: Fri, 21st May 2004, 11:02pm

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Andreas

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dubblesweet
Posted: Fri, 21st May 2004, 11:06pm

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averagejoe

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Sweet Leia Organa its a hologram!!!

Nice work Tarn!
Posted: Mon, 24th May 2004, 11:35am

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Brettsta

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thats a great tut. For the blue, do you overlay a blue clip, or use the grading tools to make it blue. That parts a little unclear to me.
Posted: Mon, 24th May 2004, 2:23pm

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Axeman

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Rating: +1

He used a clip that was just solid blue as an overlay. The trouble with using the grading tools at this point is that you can't colorize the clip first, so if you shift some of it to blue, other parts are going to shift to all sorts of colors. So the easiest way to get the whole thing tinted blue is just to throw a solid blue clip over the top of it and bring down the transparency.
Posted: Mon, 24th May 2004, 7:31pm

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Brettsta

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Okay, so I keyed my footage, inverted it and it looked good. Then, I went back to project mode and it asked if i wanted to render. I said yeah, and it rendered. BUT, the green turned to a weird brown yellowish color. What happened? Can someone help
Posted: Mon, 24th May 2004, 7:33pm

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Simon K Jones

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Had you applied spill suppression? Because that would make the green go a funny colour.
Posted: Mon, 24th May 2004, 7:33pm

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Brettsta

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redface yeah, that was it heh
Posted: Wed, 26th May 2004, 1:30am

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Brettsta

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My go at it

here

some things could be a little more transparent, but i think its pretty good otherwise. The tut was very precise and easy to follow. Good job tarn.
Posted: Wed, 26th May 2004, 1:39am

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Pooky

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It's too yellowish on the edges. Make it white. And increase that skin glow thing. And a hologram is supposed to be all blue. Otherwise it's good.
Posted: Fri, 28th May 2004, 8:25pm

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Evman

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every time I try to do this, I always end up not being able to see through the hologram. I have followed this tut exactly each time and I always come out wih an opaque hologram, even when transparency is set!
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jun 2004, 1:36am

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Brettsta

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I've made a biography video in school, giving an award to a person. I made the person in heaven, because he died 7 years back. I was wondering how to get a cool heaven effect, and chromy was the way. I used the first half of this tut basically, to do background glow, and transparency. Gif compression doesnt give it the nicest look that it had, but here is a frame anyway.