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Animate a blurred patch across the timeline

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Jackie Brown
Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 10, 2014 at 1:38:07 am

Hello there

I have footage of a boat sailing across the screen. What is the best way to blur the sail numbers so that they are unreadable? I have copied a still from the footage into Photoshop and cut out the numbers and blurred them. However, when I import the PSD file into FCP7 - either the full 1920 x 1080, or just the smart object, I can't get it to animate. I can put some different start and stop point in the time line of the PSD itself, which gets the blurred numbers to move, but I can't get them to animate in the boat timeline where I can see where they need to go. Does anyone have any suggestions how to do this?

With many thanks for your time

Jackie


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:35:11 pm

Motion.

After Effects.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Mark Suszko
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:37:59 pm

Here's how I do this, right inside FCP7.

Make a duplicate video timeline and stack it above the original one.

Go to EFFECTS>VIDEO FILTERS> BLUR, select Gaussian Blur, set it to something like 25. Adjust to taste later.

Now go to EFFECTS>VIDEO FILTERS> MATTES, and select the "4-point garbage matte".

This is the control panel for it:



See the boxes that say Point1, point2, etc? Click the + plus sign next to point 1, and a little red marker appears in your viewer window. Steer that point with your mouse to get it close to the sail number, left corner. Do the same with points 2, 3, and 4. If you make a mistake you can select the + button and re-position. Adjust the SMOOTH slider and FEATHER sliders to make a softer transition.

What you should have now is a blur just over the sail numbers.

But how do you make that move along with the boat? Keyframing!

In that same control panel for the 4-point matte, there is a mini-timeline on the right-hand side for every variable. The round button with the diamond in it is a keyframe setting button.

Start at the first frame of the stacked video tracks and move your points 1,2,3,4, to the right places. Press the diamond button for each of those, one time. Now, advance the main timeline by about a second. The boat has moved. Is the matte still centered over the numbers? Yes? then hit the diamond buttons to lock in a keyframe for points 1,2,3,4. If no, adjust the 4 points, THEN hit their keyframe buttons, and repeat this process as needed.


Here's a tip that greatly speed the process:

Keyframe the very first and very last needed frame.
Go to the half-way point between them. Keyframe that point.
Pick a point mid-way between the first frame and the middle frame. Adjust and keyframe that point.
Do the same for the point mid-way between the original middle and the end point.

Now, play the whole thing, and ONLY make adjustments in areas where the computer's automatic ion-betweeing is not perfectly done. By dividing the gaps in half each time, you make the minimum number of needed keyframe settings, letting the computer fill in the rest, as much as possible.


Variation:

You don't want a blurred number: you want NO number at all?
You could sample the color of the sail, using the eyedropper tool in your color solids tool, to get a close match to the sail color. mask the color to the hole made by your 4-point matte.

Even sneakier: scale up the layer underneath a few percent, and offset it vertically so there is actual sail canvas from just below the numbers, moving in synchronization with the original sail. Treat this layer like the blurred solid color layer, and now the sail color should match even more closely. Think about how you would do this with layers in photoshop, and you're doing the same basic thing in the timeline, only your layers are the video tracks, and to keep the mattes aligned, you have to keyframe their motion.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:48:26 pm

Jeeze Mark, you did everything but except get Jackie a blessing from the pope, and not even a thank you. A job well done...

David


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Mark Suszko
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 3:23:31 pm

The recognition of peers like yourself is reward enough. Also, I feel like I'm not just helping HIM, but any other person who stumbles across the thread in a search with the same problem.

Philo knows, other people have helped me, and continue to, daily. Not to mention all the knowledge I sponge up lurking - I lurk even more than I post, if you can believe it.


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Jackie Brown
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:31:26 pm

Hi Mark

Many thanks for this wonderful in-depth reply, which I have only just seen. Guys, I am in Sydney, it's morning here :).

I am very much looking forward to following your instructions, because I did try using a garbage matte before, and got nowhere. i will let you know how I get on.

PS Jackie is a she

Have a great day!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:39:43 pm

No Worries, Jackie... I'll keep an eye out for you this weekend, post pictures if you get into trouble.


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Jackie Brown
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:45:43 pm

Great, thanks Mark. I will probably only be able to try it tomorrow night, but will let you know how I get on. Reading your notes, I think I already know what I did wrong. I must have animated the time-line not the matte. Interestingly, I did mange to animate the blurred photoshop fragments successfully, but then it stopped working. I shouldn't need to go into AE, because its a simple animation, the boat is on a single tack, literally sailing horizontally across the frame.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Animate a blurred patch across the timeline
on Jul 12, 2014 at 5:46:23 pm

If you edit as well as Aussies sail, we're ALL in trouble:-)

Post a still or clip here when you've done it.


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