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Trevor Hands
Working with graphics
on Mar 25, 2010 at 8:44:44 pm

Hey y'all -

I'm a pretty intermediate Avid Media Composer/Adrenaline user who is now forced to work on a Final Cut Pro system as we are transitioning to Final Cut from now on.

I was given a graphics package for a show with two files for each: one of the graphic, and one of the alpha.

In the Avid, my workflow went something like this:

V3: Alpha
V2: Graphic
V1: Video Layer

On V3, I put a Matte Key, and then clicked on "Reverse Animation" so that this graphic that contains the letter "O" allows video to be shown through.

I've handed everything over to a co-worker who is a Final Cut editor, but he says the graphics package is "old school" because the graphics he is used to working with have the alpha channel embedded in the actual graphic and so, we're both at a loss at how to make all this work like I did in Alpha.

And the way I would do it in Avid apparently is nothing like Final Cut...

Anybody?

Thanks so much.





Trevor Hands

"Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." -- Murphy's Law


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Rob Grauert
Re: Working with graphics
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:02:21 pm

If this is a still graphic:

Bring your graphic into Photoshop.

In the Actions Palate,bring up the Video Actions Folder. If you don't see the video actions folder, there is a hidden button kind of thing in the top right corner of the palate that looks like 3 horizontal lines, click on that and choose Video Actions.

Once you open video actions, Click on Alpha Channel from Visible Layers. This puts a perfect alpha channel on your graphic, even if there is gradual/fading transparency. Make sure you click on the play button at the bottom of the palate to actually perform the action.

Go into the Channels Palate and turn on your alpha channel to make sure it looks right.

Then save it as a .tif. DO NOT check the Save Transparency box in the options window that appears. That will confuse it and the alpha wont work

Then bring that tif into FCP. The tif is great because you can still save the layers, so if you need to edit the file, you still can.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Thax Clave
Re: Working with graphics
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:04:17 pm

FCP can work in a very similar fashion-

ALPHA:
You can use any alpha channel image (a Title, a Photoshop image with alpha, etc) to cut a HOLE (in it's exact shape) and "Fill" it with other moving (or static) video... all "keyed over" another video track.

V3: Fill clip (what you want to be "inside" alpha)
- Select (highlight) THIS clip on V3, then:
Modify (menu) > Composite Mode > Travel Matte - Alpha

V2: Any "Alpha-channeled" clip (or title generator)

V1: Background clip (will be seen outside the "hole(s)")

If you end up with the "reverse" of what you want, swap the clips on V1 and V3.
Remember to change the settings (Modify (menu) > Composite Mode > Travel Matte - Alpha) on the clip that is now on V3.

You can move/expand/reposition the V2 clip or even use it as a custom "wipe".
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LUMA:
You can use any high-contrast image (a Title, a Photoshop image, a moving video clip, etc) to cut a HOLE (in it's exact shape) and "Fill" it with other moving (or static) video... all "keyed over" another video track.

V3: Fill clip. What you want to be "inside" the "hole(s)". (Where the WHITE area of the V2 clip is.)
- Select (highlight) THIS clip on V3, then:
Modify (menu) > Composite Mode > Travel Matte - Luma

V2: "Hole-cutter" clip or title
V2 can be any HIGH-CONTRAST (B&W preferred) video or CG.

V1: Background clip. Will be seen outside the "hole(s)". (Where the BLACK area of the V2 clip is.)
V1 can be a VIDEO CLIP or a MATTE COLOR.

If you end up with the "reverse" of what you want, swap the clips on V1 and V3.
Remember to change the settings (Modify (menu) > Composite Mode > Travel Matte - Luma) on the clip that is now on V3.

You can move/expand/reposition the V2 clip or even use it as a custom "wipe".



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Working with graphics
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:09:57 pm

Watch the following tutorial: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/FCPTravelMat1.php

There are two others in the series as well.

[Trevor Hands] "I've handed everything over to a co-worker who is a Final Cut editor, but he says the graphics package is "old school" because the graphics he is used to working with have the alpha channel embedded in the actual graphic"

Your co-worker calls it "old school" because he/she doesn't know the fundamentals of video graphics, effects, and compositing. You could both just leave that to someone else, or just take a few minutes to learn the fundamentals, and you will both understand how the process works. If you learn it you will both become far better editors, because understanding these things will empower you.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Trevor Hands
Re: Working with graphics
on Mar 26, 2010 at 12:03:17 am

Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

But I just want to make sure I'm understanding all this correctly.

These graphics I'm referring to are animations; i.e., lower thirds, show open text that flies in, a background for credits, etc...

For a really simple example, we have these lower third graphics.

I placed my source footage on V1, and then the Alpha graphic that was provided I placed on V2 (this is the exact same shape as my lower third graphic...I'm not needing to make an oval or rectangle shape or anything like that being that the alpha has already been made.) Then my lower third graphic I put on V3.

When I go into the Composite mode, I made sure my Alpha graphic was on Travel Matte - Alpha and V1 and V3 were "Normal".

But this just essentially gave me my raw graphic on V3 and I couldn't see any video from V1.

I tried overlaying V3 which cleaned up the graphic when it mixed with the Alpha, but still, no video.

I tried messing around with the item properties, tried reversing alpha...

I know I'm missing something here and/or have some settings wrong.

Thanks again.

Trevor Hands

"Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." -- Murphy's Law


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Trevor Hands
Re: Working with graphics
on Mar 26, 2010 at 3:33:10 am

So it turns out that my "alpha" graphic, even though it was labeled as such, was actually a luma graphic and therefore needed a luma key thrown on...that seemed to fix the problem. :)

Trevor Hands

"Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." -- Murphy's Law


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