Artist C.M. De La Vega shares his motion graphics/VFX playbook and how he helps coach artists looking to score creative touchdowns in After Effects.
YouTube Meme Creator Jonkari P. Rotoscopes with Mocha Pro
6 minute read
How the VFX artist with 115 million views uses the award-winning motion tracking tools on his wildly popular videos.
Ryan Gosling in Grand Theft Auto? The Top Gear team in Skyrim? A Super Mario Bros. movie leaked scene with Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise? Step into the clever mind of YouTuber Jonkari P. His meme/mash-up videos are entertaining, inventive, and involve massive amounts of rotoscoping and visual effects using Boris FX’s Mocha Pro plugin inside Adobe After Effects together with Blender.
Psst...It's Jonkari P.!
His Origin Story
“I’ve been on a road of creating projects and videos that require learning something new every time since then,” says Jonkari. “Whether that is a new program, or just a new technique, to help bring my craft to the next level. That style of learning is the easiest and also the fastest (for me).”
He first discovered Mocha AE (the free bundled lite version of Mocha Pro included inside After Effects) while watching rotoscoping tutorials on YouTube. “It gave me the best tools to get the job done, and the only limiting factor was my own patience. Now Mocha Pro is my go-to plugin for roto work,” notes Jonkari. “It’s important to learn the basics first before getting into the nitty gritty. The Boris FX YouTube channel has multiple tutorials for every situation you might face."
Ryan Gosling in GTA V (Total roto time: 9 hours, 25 minutes)
The Power of Rotoscoping
Almost every shot in each video requires motion tracking as Jonkari often mixes together acting performances from multiple films and TV shows to help build his stories.
“Mocha Pro is probably the most used program in my workflow since most of my videos are based on isolating objects and putting them in a different context,” comments Jonkari. “It works so well together with compositing in After Effects. I would recommend any starting VFX artist to add these programs to their toolbox.”
Jonkari typically begins his roto process by isolating the easiest parts of the clips first, i.e., a face. Next, he moves on to the trickiest elements, including clothing, hands, and so forth.
One of the most difficult shots he’s ever had to track and roto was for his video "Breaking Bad in Rust Goes Wrong"(warning: NSFW). The shot features 3 characters interacting and overlapping each other multiple times. “I’ve worked on similar shots before, but having two extra people in it makes the whole process much harder,” states Jonkari. “The clip was also a bit blurry, and the shutter speed was extremely low, causing tons of motion blur. I am quite confident that I couldn’t have achieved the quality I got without using Mocha Pro.”
In addition to rotoscoping, Jonkari also relies on Mocha Pro’s PowerMesh warp to track challenging surfaces such as clothing when he needs to quickly attach images and text, as well as Remove Module to get rid of elements from scenes and objects.
Before and After, Adding Prison Numbers to Shirt, Danny Devito in Squid Game
Behind His Creative Process
“I try not to stress about finding new ideas for videos because, more often than not, that actually makes it even more difficult to do so. I just like to look around at videos and movies to see if there is some interesting material there,” says Jonkari. “If I happen to come across something I like, then it becomes a process of figuring out funny ways to remove the original context and adding something totally new to its place.”
To accomplish this, Jonkari works on one video at a time to maintain complete focus. He typically starts with a script (even if it's just in his head), or if it’s a more complicated idea, he draws a storyboard. Then he gathers elements and edits a rough cut to test timings. Once everything is locked, he moves on to rotoscoping with Mocha Pro and cleaning up chromakeying if needed.
“As tedious as it might be, I find rotoscoping quite relaxing. After finishing the roto work, things speed up drastically,” remarks Jonkari. “I record any footage needed for the video and then put it together in the comp. This part goes by fast, and before I even know it, I’m adding the final touches to the audio.” On average, each video takes around 2-3 weeks to complete.
Top Gear in Skyrim Disaster
“I find it brilliant to learn new things and bring my wacky ideas to life. It’s almost borderline disappointing when it comes time to upload the video,” ends Jonkari. “Having said that, I love reading all the comments and getting feedback on how I did.”
New to Mocha tracking? Watch our FREE Essentials training series.