Blackmagic Design Fusion has long been known as an incredibly powerful node-based 3D compositing and VFX environment, responsible for some of the most indelible cinematic imagery of our time. Tokyo Productions Creative Director Simon Ubsdell has been a Fusion fan and user for years, and here provides a dramatic introduction to Fusion's interface and toolset, as well as a closer look at the motion graphics prowess in Fusion that you may not have been expecting!
Blackmagic Design Fusion has long been known as an incredibly powerful node-based compositing and VFX environment, responsible for some of the most indelible cinematic imagery of our time. Tokyo Productions Creative Director Simon Ubsdell has been a Fusion fan and user for years, and here provides a dramatic introduction to Fusion's interface and toolset, as well as a closer look at the motion graphics prowess in Fusion that you may not have been expecting!
When we asked Simon to tell us more about how this particular tutorial came to be, here's what he told us.
I started using Eyeon Digital Fusion, as it used to be called, back in the last century when it was still very new, and doing visual effects on the desktop was still something of a novelty. Shake and After Effects were both still in their infancy, and Nuke was still a long way off. Even then, Fusion was a very serious contender with a toolset and and image pipeline that meant it could compete at the highest level.
I stopped using Fusion for a few years because most of my work was on the Mac, and Shake and then Nuke did everything I needed. In that time, though, Fusion continued to develop impressively to keep pace with the fast-moving changes in the visual effects world. Blackmagic’s acquisition of Fusion and subsequent release of an entry level free version on the PC and now on the Mac (in Beta at this point) is a complete game-changer, which means that Fusions’s premium quality feature set is now available to a much wider user-base.
Having a mature user community means there are a great many outstanding tutorials and support resources for Fusion available at this time (Eric Westphal’s tutorials for Eyeon deserve a special mention for their outstanding quality), but by and large the tutorials are created by experienced visual effects professionals and addressed at the needs and skill levels of other visual effects professionals.
As a user returning to Fusion, there was a lot that was new to me, especially in terms of Fusion’s 3D capabilities (and of course stereoscopic features), so I wanted to try and share my own journey of rediscovery in such a way that it would help users who are completely new to Fusion.
I’ve tried to explain not just the use of the toolset but also give some background on some of the concepts that may be new to users not versed in the world of visual effects. A lot of new users have opened up Fusion and been intimidated by what looks like a complex and alien interface and toolset, and many are very confused as to what it actually does and is capable of doing, so I wanted to show that it’s really not that difficult to get started and benefit immediately from some of the amazing power that Fusion offers, not just for visual effects but also for motion graphics.
Before you begin, you can download the textures that Simon uses in these tutorials here.
Hi, I'm Simon Ubsdell, Creative Director of TOKYO PRODUCTIONS, a UK-based boutique creative shop specializing in movie trailers, sales promos and TV Spots for the independent film sector both in the UK and across Europe.
I've been a film and video editor for over 25 years as well as being involved in motion graphics, sound design and mixing, music composition, visual effects and compositing, 3D modelling and animation, and colour grading, not to mention writing, directing and producing, and most recently, software development.
I am also a developer of plug-ins for the video post-production market having released a range of successful and acclaimed products both under the Tokyo brand and as Hawaiki with Robert Mackintosh.
Meet The Custom Tool, the most powerful and versatile tool in Blackmagic Fusion's entire toolbox ??" which ironically appears to do nothing when you first apply it. That’s because it’s a tool designed for building your own tools from scratch. That may sound daunting, but under the guiding hand of longtime VFX artist, editor, and business owner Simon Ubsdell, it’s engaging, empowering, and just plain fun. If you are new to Fusion and to compositing you'll find plenty of useful information here, including how to work with channels to create complex effects surprisingly simply. Bonus tips on expressions and keying, too!
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Christina Rzewucki is a Texture and Look Development Artist at Rising Sun Pictures. A 2016 graduate of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Adelaide, she began her career with the game company Monkeystack. Since joining RSP in 2017, she has applied her diverse technical and creative skills to projects including the blockbusters Thor: Ragnarok and Tomb Raider. Next month, she will be teaching the texturing component of ‘Look Development and Lighting,’ a new second year elective course associated with UniSA’s Media Arts degree.