Using VDMX to create online profile pictures

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If you have been on the internet this last week, you may have heard about GDPR, a new set of base guidelines from the European Union for companies and other entities to follow when dealing with personal information from their customers.

As we've been updating our own privacy policy and server to meet these standards, one of the most important details we ran into was picking just the right animated graphic to go with our new privacy policy page and we thought why not give the image a personal touch and make it with VDMX?

In this quick video tutorial we'll be demonstrating how to create a hacker and glitch visual style that can be used to create still images or short video loops as source material for animated gifs to use for profile pics online in situations where you want to apply some digital processing on your face for privacy or for fun.

For this tutorial you'll either need a webcam, or some pre-recorded material (videos or still images) of the person or object who will be the subject in the final result.

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Making the template

One aspect of VDMX is that it can be used to create custom workflows for projects, even if you are just capturing still images to use online. If you'd like to skip to the next section, you can download the completed template from this lesson.

In this example we will begin by building a setup that allows us to load in media files, apply styling by using FX and then capture the output, along with preview windows to visualize what is happening at each stage. As an extension to that a second media bin, page and a hidden layer can be added to the workspace as a way to reload the final results, so that they can be previewed without having to switch between software, or for further remixing. After we complete a good baseline configuration, the layout can be stored as a preset that can be later restored as a starting point.

Tip: In addition to the Poly Glitch FX demonstrated in this video, you may want to try other filters. In particular check out the Glitch, Retro, Film categories to obscure your identity online. Try the LUT section for specialized color palette tinting styling.

Stylizing the output

Once our basic workflow template is prepared, we can spend some time trying out a few different styles of output. This part involves more of a bit of play and you can load in additional media or try out different FX to get your own unique styling. Here we will walk through a few different stylings and techniques that might be useful as starting points.

The first uses a still image as a source, applying a Duotone to separate some of the facial features from the background and a Mirror to duplicate the visible half to create a whole face. The ASCII Art and Sphere Map FX are then added to create a retro hacker styling.

To get this same style with a live camera input, instead of using a Duotone, a Motion Mask can be used to separate a moving face from the background, which also works nicely with this retro style. Another layer can be used to add a bit of noise as texturing.

For the final version demonstrated, instead of a secondary layer for a noise, a colored line generator with filters can be used to make a laser background that can be masked by the shape of the face from the top layer. A Vignette or Shape Mask FX can be useful to create a circular result.

Tips and Notes

Set the canvas size to match the resolution of the images you plan to upload.

Use the Movie Recorder to capture video and images to disk.

Right-click on media files to locate them in the Finder.


Make GIFs

Upload movies files to or use other free tools to create animated GIF files.