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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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.
Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for a look at Blackmagic Fusion's Custom Vertex tool. It's a lot simpler than you'd think at first sight, and it's a lot of fun to experiment with. Here, Simon explores using it to bevel a 3D cube, but this is less a design tutorial than a dive into the theory so you can more easily get to grips with what it's actually doing. As always with Simon's tutorials, you'll come away with more of the tools you need to master your own creativity.
Discover the basics of creating a powerful Color Difference Keyer in Blackmagic Design Fusion using some very simple tools. Longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell shows how, once you understand the basic principles, there are countless ways to apply them to a wide variety of shots you’re working on. It’s also just plain interesting to understand what’s going on when you key.
Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for a look at the useful things you can do in Blackmagic Design Fusion with world coordinates data using the Volume Mask tool. It offers very handy way of applying 2D processing to 3D scenes generated either within Fusion or rendered from your favourite 3D application.
Blackmagic Fusion offers a variety of powerful retouching tools (as does DaVinci Resolve of course), so why would you want to build your own? As longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell explains, once you understand the underlying principles of the tools, you can use them better! In this tutorial, he shows how building a custom 3D keyer and a custom Linear Light Blend Mode allows a Low Frequency pass to smooth imperfections in the footage, and a High Frequency Pass to restore detail, allowing exceptional control, and producing outstanding results.
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!
Editor, VFX artist, post-house owner, and plug-in developer Simon Ubsdell draws on over 25 years of experience to dig deep into the compelling features found in the new Planar Tracker found in Blackmagic Fusion. Along the way, Simon offers a wide range of tips and tricks, as well as new perspectives on the relationship between tracking and compositing: in short, tracking done right.
In this two-part guide to some of Blackmagic Design Fusion's most powerful compositing and effects features, visual effects veteran Simon Ubsdell offers an easy-to-follow introduction to using basic expressions and creating macros in Fusion -- with some very useful tips for After Effects users along the way. In Part 1, you'll create a chromatic aberration effect with these techniques, and in Part 2, you'll work with bounce/spring, orbit and "look at" expressions. No matter what your level of experience (or inexperience!) with After Effects or Fusion, you're in for quite a ride!
Following his well-received exploration of the power of customized keying inside Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell goes even further into his look at the liberation from the inevitable limitations of other people's keyers by building your own inside Fusion. Along the way, you'll learn about Channel Booleans and many other insights that you'll be able to use in all of your Fusion projects.
In his latest tutorial for Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell points out that you can of course simply use Fusion's built-in keyer, and quickly get a good result, but here he shows how combining visual effects nodes to build your own keyer helps you understand the processes to refine trouble keys. Even if you'd prefer not to build your own, you will gain practical insights into channel operations and other techniques to help you unlock Fusion's unique visual effects power.