James Cole Visual FX Reel

James Cole began his work fooling the eye at an early age with a fascination of magic tricks. He got his first box of tricks when he was about seven and by the time he was in his early teens, he was performing magic shows for children’s parties. It wasn’t long before his fascination had grown to incorporate a camera and taking photos of things that couldn’t be.
Flash forward fifteen years and although he is now using cutting edge computer technologies to fool the eye, he still uses his real-world understanding of trickery, physics and understanding of how the mind and eyes work, to take his digital work to a much higher level. He now works regularly with a team of visual effects artists as either the supervisor or producer and has a long list of exciting projects under his belt.
This visual effects demo reel is just a small collection of shots to showcase the variety of work that he has created under the Hysteria Productions umbrella. Each shot is numbered in the top left corner and is referenced in the list below.

Any feedback is welcome. Please leave any comments here.

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Shot: 01
Project Title: Lost:Black Earth
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Actors rotoscoped from one shot and placed into a digitally created environment and atmosphere.
Special Effects Elements: Fake snow and fog filmed against a black screen.
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, Commotion Pro

Shot: 02
Project Title: Nissan “Silver Lightning”
Project Type: Commercial
Original Format: XD Cam
Visual Effects: Sky was created from an original photo of clouds. Lightning and lens flares were digitally animated and the sphere was created using a series of particle and lighting effects. The cars were rotoscoped out of still photos then composited and animated to shoot out of the sphere
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 03
Project Title: Nissan “Silver Lightning”
Project Type: Commercial
Original Format: XD Cam
Visual Effects: The shot of the plane was stabilized, rotoscoped then composited into the shot of the car. The lightning was then created digitally and the plane was animated to react to being struck. The title graphics and logos were then added for the final touch.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used:

Shot: 04
Project Title: Nissan “Silver Lightning”
Project Type: Commercial
Original Format: XD Cam
Visual Effects: A heat ripple was created with particle effects and then applied as a distortion field behind the car. Digital lightning was created and animated to spark between the car and the ground. The logo “McRae” was composited into the surface of the road.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 05
Project Title: Nissan “Silver Lightning”
Project Type: Commercial
Original Format: XD Cam
Visual Effects: The nissan logo was created as a greyscale depth map and then used to generate a distortion effect on the sped up footage of clouds.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Corel Draw, Final Cut Pro, After Effects

Shot: 06
Project Title: Nissan “Silver Lightning”
Project Type: Commercial
Original Format: XD Cam
Visual Effects: The still photo of the cars taken in front of the dealership were rotoscoped out. The new background was created by using the same photo of clouds as used in shot 02. The watery ground was created by reflecting the clouds and adding a distortion effect. The lightning was animated digitally to arc over both the cars and their reflections.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects.

Shot: 07
Project Title: Life & Death
Project Type: Short Film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: The bright colours of the child’s yellow top and blue jeans were used to create a chroma key mask. Problem areas were then rotoscoped to create a perfect matte. This was then used to selectively convert the remaining areas into black and white.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Commotion Pro

Shot: 08
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: An original photo of the set that was taken during construction, was used as the base to create a detailed digital matte painting, separating depths within the image into individual layers. Interior photos of the car were taken and the windscreen was replaced with a digital transparent layer of dirt and grime. These were then reconstructed into a 3D space within After Effects and animated as a POV shot of the car approaching the gates.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 09
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: This fully digital shot used a number of still photos to create a digital puppet of the actress. This was then animated and composited into the shot along with blood effects.
Special Effects Elements: Blood elements filmed in front of a blue screen.
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 10
Project Title: Lost:Black Earth
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Shot of miniature was rotoscoped and then composited against a digital star field. Particle effects were generated to rush past the spaceship. The laser beams were added digitally with a combination of lighting effects and hand drawn elements.
Special Effects Elements: Miniatures built and filmed in front of a black screen.
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, Commotion Pro

Shot: 11
Project Title: Lost:Black Earth
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Miniature space station was rotoscoped from shot and composited onto a background star field. Individual parts were rotoscoped and then animated to break apart while other elements used particle effects to explode. Stock footage of fire and explosions were composited onto the model.
Special Effects Elements: Miniatures built and filmed in front of a black screen.
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, Commotion Pro

Shot: 12
Project Title: Lost:Black Earth
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: More of the same but with greater detail. Interiors of the space station were created from photographic elements to see inside the destroyed parts of the space station. Stock fire elements were also composited into the interiors and particle effects were used to create electrical sparks. The model was never harmed.
Special Effects Elements: Miniatures built and filmed in front of a black screen.
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, Commotion Pro

Shot: 13
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: The motion of the shot was tracked and then the tracking marker was painted out. A sky was created from several photographic elements and then animated to show the clouds lighting up with the lightning. This was then composited into the background of the shot with the tracking information used to match the camera movement. Some digital rain was created to blend it all together with the real rain filmed on set.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 14
Project Title: Lost:Black Earth
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Two shots were stitched together. One of the actors running up to a line in the sand and the other of a river. A series of tracking and hand animating was used along with rotoscoping the edges of the shots.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Commotion Pro

Shot: 15
Project Title: Hysteria Productions Wanted Tag
Project Type: ID Tag
Original Format: HDV
Visual Effects: A bolt of lightning was animated to strike the dead tree in frame. At the point of impact, a flock of birds were animated flying out of the tree. Particle effects were then used to simulate the sparking embers floating to the ground.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 16
Project Title: Hysteria Productions Wanted Tag
Project Type: ID Tag
Original Format: HDV
Visual Effects: A continuation of the previous shot as the digitally created embers continue to burn as they fall to the ground.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 17
Project Title: Silent Whispers
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: As the actor, in the foreground, walks past, a hole is rotoscoped out behind him. This is then filled with an empty frame taken from the same angle to cover up the actress in the background.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 18
Project Title: Silent Whispers
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: The graphic title “Mary Dern” was composited and hand animated to match the motion of the actors hands.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 19
Project Title: Addiction
Project Type: Trailer
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: We blew up the Dandenong Taxation office for real… (I wish). A still photo was used as the base. The glass window was rotoscoped and then shattered with a particle animator. Elements of real fire and and debris were combined with digitally created smoke and particle effects and then composited into the shot. These were then used to create a reflection in the glass building. A camera jolt was animated into the shot.
Special Effects Elements: Various fire elements and explosions were filmed.
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 20
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: A still frame was taken from the original footage (which was too shaky). The hand and phone were then rotoscoped and separated from the background with the whole being cloned back in. The graphic of the screen was created and composited into the phone. A little hand and camera movement were then animated into the shot.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 21
Project Title: Star Wars: Wrath of the Mandalorian
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: Dv Cam
Visual Effects: Various filters were used to degrade the footage so that it simulated looking through the view finder of Boba Fett’s helmet scanner. The actors were then outlined to show that they had been detected.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 22
Project Title: Star Wars: Wrath of the Mandalorian
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: Dv Cam
Visual Effects: Lightsabers were created by tracking the poles held by the actors and then compositing the beam of light and various glows on top. A number of tricks were used so that the lightsabers could be seen in the daylight scene.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 23
Project Title: Star Wars: Wrath of the Mandalorian
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: Dv Cam
Visual Effects: Very similar to the previous shot with the addition of hand painted motion blur in the fast movement of this action sequence.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used:

Shot: 24
Project Title:
Project Type: Short Film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: The window, doorway and actress were rotoscoped out. Digital rain was then composited behind them.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 25
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: A chroma key was applied to a blood element that was filmed in front of a blue screen. This element was then distorted and rotated to match the pull of gravity and then composited into the shot. Defocusing was applied to match the cameras changing focal point.
Special Effects Elements: Bluescreen blood elements
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 26
Project Title: Keith McNamara “Through Different Eyes”
Project Type: Music video
Original Format: HDV
Visual Effects: The singer was filmed seven times as different characters and then composited together so they all appeared in the one frame together.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 27
Project Title: Keith McNamara “I’m Not The One”
Project Type: Music Video
Original Format: HDV
Visual Effects: Singer removed from frame by hand painting and cloning him out.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects

Shot: 28
Project Title: Addiction
Project Type: Trailer
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Two shots were filmed from the same angle. One of the actors running across the road and the other of the cars driving past. The two were rotoscoped and composited together. Blood was hand painted onto the bonnet of the car and the actor was animated from the point of impact.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 29
Project Title: The Gates of Hell
Project Type: Feature film
Original Format: HD Cam
Visual Effects: This is a still photo taken on location. The image was first distorted to correct the curvature of the wide angle lens used. Lights on the building were then painted out to create a darker atmosphere. The moon and hand painted clouds were then composited into the shot. Particle effects were used to generate a distant camp fire burning. A slight camera push in was animated.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Particle Illusion

Shot: 30
Project Title: Soul To Keep
Project Type: Short film
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: A miniature was constructed of a canyon and then filmed to match the angle filmed with the actor. The two were then composited together. Digital water was created to run at the base of the canyon. A waterfall element was composited falling down the back of the canyon. The rainbow was created digitally as were particle effects for the rising mist. Various filmed elements were rotoscoped and composited into the digital water to show the white water. An actress was filmed laying on a green screen and composited as the body laying in the water.
Special Effects Elements: Miniature of the canyon was constructed and filmed. Waterfall was filmed by pouring salt in front of a black screen.
Software Used: Adobe photoshop, Commotion Pro

Shot: 31
Project Title: Keith McNamara “I’m Not The One”
Project Type: Music Video
Original Format: HDV
Visual Effects: Reflection in mirror was rotoscoped out and replaced with a different shot.
Special Effects Elements: N/A
Software Used: After Effects

Shot: 32
Project Title: Sparky Sprite
Project Type: Animated TV Series Pilot
Original Format: DV Cam
Visual Effects: Rocks that were used to create the splashes, were painted out of the shot. A light orb was then animated flying through the air and splashing into the water.
Special Effects Elements: Creating water splashes.
Software Used: After Effects