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How to Composite Like a Pro

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From keying to tracking, there’s a lot to learn from these inspiring compositing breakdowns.

Is there anything more incredible than a compositing breakdown? There’s a lot of impressive work that goes into the process of creating professional Motion Design, but there’s just something about the composting process that seems like science fiction.

It seems like every week a new studio is dropping a new compositing breakdown showing off the latest Game of Thrones or Star Wars effects. And without fail, we compulsively watch each one. However, for this week’s roundup we thought it’d be fun to take a look at a few compositing breakdowns that you’ve probably never seen before. These compositing breakdowns aren’t your average VFX reel. Get ready to have your mind blown.


If you were to go watch the Third and The Seventh right now you’d probably be impressed by the rendering, lighting, and texturing. The scenes look better than real, but the most incredible part is the film was created 8 years ago… What were you doing 8 years ago?

This breakdown shows us how the original film was created. There’s some really helpful insight about using lighting and depth of field to sell realism.


We always hear that you can tell the difference between real life and VFX, but the majority of VFX in film go completely unnoticed. In this short film Roy Peker walks us through a world full of unnoticed CGI. See if you can spot the CGI elements before he reveals them at the end.


You’ve probably heard that there’s a debate between using Nuke or After Effects for compositing work. Well this video proves that in Hollywood there’s really no debate, Nuke reigns supreme. This breakdown created by Franklin Toussaint shows us the process of compositing with Nuke. Just check out that 3D mesh. Try doing that in After Effects...


If you haven’t heard of Hugo Guerra it's time to get acquainted. Hugo is a director and VFX supervisor that’s worked on giant projects all over the world. He was even led the Nuke department at The Mill, so in-short, he’s legit. Hugo has an entire channel dedicated to sharing compositing and VFX techniques he’s learned over the years.

If you’re interested we actually interviewed Hugo on the School of Motion podcast. Give it a listen if you’re interested.


It’s the age old question, Nuke or After Effects? Nodes vs Layers. Complex vs less-complex. Determining which software is right for you is super important, but not easily explained. To help share some of the differences we’ve put together a tutorial comparing the two apps. If you’ve ever been curious about the difference this is the best place to start.

Now that you’re inspired to work on your compositing skills go check out our compositing and keying tutorial here on School of Motion. With enough practice you’ll become a compositing master, or at the very least realize that it’s harder than it looks.


Dive into real-time 3D with our Unreal Engine beginner's course by Jonathan Winbush. Master importing assets, world-building, animation, and cinematic sequences to create stunning 3D renders in no time! Perfect for motion designers ready to level up.

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Unlock the secrets of character design in this dynamic course! Explore shape language, anatomy rules, and motifs to craft animation-ready characters. Gain drawing tips, hacks, and Procreate mastery (or any drawing app). Ideal for artists seeking to elevate their craft.

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Rev up your editing skills with After Effects! Learn to use it for everyday needs and craft dynamic templates (Mogrts) for smarter teamwork. You'll master creating animated graphics, removing unwanted elements, tracking graphics, and making customizable templates.

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Stand out with Demo Reel Dash! Learn to spotlight your best work and market your unique brand of magic. By the end, you'll have a brand new demo reel and a custom campaign to showcase yourself to an audience aligned with your career goals.

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Illuminate your 3D skills with Lights, Camera, Render! Dive deep into advanced Cinema 4D techniques with David Ariew. Master core cinematography skills, gain valuable assets, and learn tools and best practices to create stunning work that wows clients.

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Master After Effects at your own pace with Jake Bartlett's beginner course. Perfect for video editors, you'll learn to create stylish animated graphics, remove unwanted elements, and track graphics into shots. By the end, you'll be equipped for everyday AE needs and more.

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Revolutionize your Premiere workflow with customizable AE templates! Master creating dynamic Motion Graphics Templates (Mogrts) in After Effects to speed up your team's work. By the end, you'll craft easily-customizable templates for seamless use in Premiere Pro.

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Not sure where to start?

If you’re a beginner, here are some great courses to help you get started:

After Effects Kickstart

Dive into the fundamentals of motion design with our most popular (and recently updated) After Effects course.


Photoshop + Illustrator Unleashed

Master the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator and gain invaluable insights in this introductory level course.


Design Kickstart

An introduction to the design principles behind all great work.


More Advanced?

If you’re a more advanced student looking to up your game, here are some great options:

Animation Bootcamp

Learn the art and principles of creating beautiful movements in Adobe After Effects.


Design Bootcamp

Learn to design for motion in this intermediate-level, project-based course.


Cinema 4D Basecamp

Learn Cinema 4D from the ground up in this exciting introductory C4D course.


Now is the time to learn the skills you need to advance in your motion design career: