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Cut out Effect

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Greg Ball
Cut out Effect
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:36:14 pm

Lots of shows use the following technique the introduce a person in the show.

Show the person in action, then freeze frame it, cut the background out of the shot or change the background, and have the person still in the shot with their names and title on screen. Then their action resumes.

Is this done by masking out the background on the freeze? Or is there some really quick way to do this in FCP 7 or Motion? What is this effect called? Have you seen a tuturial of this that you can point me towards?
Thanks much.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Cut out Effect
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:21:14 pm

The term for what you want to do is "rotoscoping" - it's very easy to do on a still or on a freeze frame, but not easy on live action material, as you have to do it frame by frame.

Roto work is considerably easier when using a dedicated compositing and/or paint program, but you can do it with any app or plugin that allows for creation free-form masks or matts.

The easiest way to do it is simply to add as many keyframes as it takes, around the persons face, to cut them out. When you add the last keyframe the completes the entire outline around the face, the app will automatically create either a transparent black background or a transparent black hole where the face was, and you can reverse that is necessary. You then add a soft edge, and that allows you to super the face seamlessly over any background you choose.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Nikolas Bäurle
Re: Cut out Effect
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:32:11 pm

This is a pretty simple effect you would need to do in Motion or After Effects. I guess you could call it a cutout animation, don't know if there's another specific term for it.

All you have to do is freeze and mask out your subject. Then you can add a different background, some titles, flares, particles and other stuff to pimp it out.

I don't know of any tutorials for Motion. You should find more info on the Motion forum.

"Always look on the bright side of life" - Monty Python



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Roger Poole
Re: Cut out Effect
on Oct 26, 2014 at 11:06:16 pm

I would make a freeze frame, export it then take it into Photoshop. Add a transparency layer, cut out the object, select inverse then delete. Save the image as a tiff and in the second dialogue box "Preserve transparency". Bring it back into FCP and place it above your desired background video.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Cut out Effect
on Oct 27, 2014 at 2:10:06 pm

Roger's method is what I do for this effect. Pick the freeze point on the timelne, make it a freeze via modify> make freeze frame, export the freeze frame as a tif or targa. Open it in Photoshop, GIMP, or another image editor, make it a layered image with 32-bit alpha channel, cut the guy out and erase the background. save the file with a new name, import it back to FCP, lay it in with whatever duration you need.


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Greg Ball
Re: Cut out Effect
on Oct 27, 2014 at 9:38:43 pm

Thanks everyone! Too bad there's not a plugin for this! LOL!



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