Background actors, or “Extras” as they’re often called in the biz, are the icing on the cake of a well-executed scene. When careful attention is paid to layering, animation, movement and scale, background actors can create a rich and filmic atmosphere. Though the process of populating a scene with extras can be time-consuming, the payoff is usually worth it.
To populate a scene with extras, you’ll use the following Donacode command...
Spot Placement Syntax:
@CHARACTER spot % X Y in zone # at layer X
*As we learned above, layer 0 is closest to the background.
Characters in layer 1, 2, etc. will be on top of characters in layer 0.
Let’s look at 2 examples, one being how this should be done, and the other being what happens when the commands are in the wrong order...
Open the story “Advanced Directing Guide” and click button “3.1 Background Actors Overview”
*To follow along in the script, open:
Then jump to “label threeone”
Example A: This is the right way to layer characters over background actors.
Example B: This is the wrong way to layer characters over background actors. As you can see, the background actors are accidentally layered over the foreground actors, which looks very weird.