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Tips for this key anyone?

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Christopher Travis
Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 11, 2013 at 4:35:10 pm

Hi there,

I'm not a hot-shot VFX guy, so my keying skills are pretty weak. Can someone suggest the best course of action to sort out the horrible edge I'm getting on this woman's hair? I'm using Primatte RT in Motion 4, and have fiddled with the noise reduction and matte density untill I have a clean edge around her shoulders, but by the time I get there, her hair is looking rubbish. Any tips?

6622_screenshot2013101117.27.57.png.zip


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Mark Spencer
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 11, 2013 at 4:39:12 pm

The keyer in Motion 5 is significantly better than the one in 4, I'd highly recommend you upgrade. For $50, it's worth it for the keyer alone.

Or, if you have FCP X, it contains the same keyer.

We've got a bunch of free tips on MacBreak Studio for how to use it.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Greg Merkes
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 11, 2013 at 7:52:01 pm

Hi Christopher,
I use PHYX Keyer. Its a plug-in from FX Factory and it does wonders. It has many controls to correct most keys. I think it cost about $49. I hope this helps.
Greg Merkes
Salty Dog Films

Its easier to ask for forgiveness. . .


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Mark Spencer
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 11, 2013 at 7:59:09 pm

For that price you should buy Motion - in addition to an outstanding keyer, you get a full-fledged motion graphics application.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 12, 2013 at 7:19:18 am

Keying a scene with Hair almost always requires multiple keys. In your shot, you'll need one key focused on extracting her body properly and another one for the head. Then you can layer the 2 mattes over each other to get a pleasing key.

As far as pushing the buttons on the Keyer, stay away from any Shrink or Erode controls in general, but especially on the hair key. I don't do any keying inside of Motion, so I only have a rudimentary knowledge of it's keyer, so I'm afraid I can't give you a step by step guide.

But in general this is the process:

Body Key:
- Pick a Key color close to the body. The actual color of the background that you choose is important, so once you've made your selection, switch into Matte View and examine the quality of your Matte. You want large areas of white and black. There will always be areas of grey, always, so don't worry about them yet. Pick a couple of other Key colors and see which one gives you the best Matte. Use this as your starting point.
- Once you've got a good base Matte, the next step is to refine it. In general this involves adding softness/tolerance and masking out areas to be white or black. Some keyers even give you the option to Patch different regions of your Matte, I don't believe Motion lets you do this, check and see if Primatte does.
- Tweak until you get a nice matte for her body. Ignore what these settings do to her hair.

Hair Key:
- Repeat the process, but focus on her hair and ignore the body. You might need multiple keys for this, picking different key colors close to different parts of her hair.

Once you have both Body and Hair Mattes looking clean, then you need to add a Lightwrap to blend her into the new background. In general, a Matte Edge operation followed by a Blur operation should give you a nice soft edge.

EDIT: Forgot to add: Use one Layer just for Despill if you're finding it problematic getting a good despill result. This way you can go in and use Color Curves for more control if necessary.

Does that help?

Sandeep.


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Christopher Travis
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 12, 2013 at 9:32:05 am

Thanks you so much for your detailed response Sandeep. I will give this a try first thing on Monday and let you know how it went.

As for purchasing Motion 5. It certainly is good value and I will think about it. But I so rarely use my own equipment for paid work, I wouldn't get that much use out of it. Also, my iMac is about 6 years old so not exactly ideal for doing lots of vfx work. If I can just get by with what I have for now it would suit me better.


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Christopher Travis
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 14, 2013 at 9:41:55 am

Sandeep, thanks again. I'm getting a much better result by doubling up the layer, and using two different keys, with a mask to separate the head from the shoulders.

I have two further questions;

a) is there a way of doing this without using a duplicate layer? I now have a much messier timeline and I'm always keen to find out more efficient ways of doing things. My comp looks a little like this; Bottom layer - White Solid. Next up - Clip with shoulder key, Above that - Clip with hair key, and rectangle mask to reveal clip below.

b) having 2 layers is causing me another problem; I want each clip to fade in and fade out, and for this I'm using the fade in/out behaviour. However, if I apply this to both top and bottom layers; I can see the edge of the mask during the fade. Instead I'm now using a white solid colour on a new layer at the top and fading that in and out. As you can imagine this is always quite messy as I'm making a new solid block for each fade. This bothers me as I'm sure there must be a more elegant way of doing this.

I can definitely get this one out of the door as is, but if you have the time I'd love to hear some tips for simplifying this comp.

Thanks,
Chris


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:02:54 am

[Christopher Travis] "a) is there a way of doing this without using a duplicate layer?"

Hey Chris,

I don't know of any way to get this done properly on one layer in any application to be honest, so doubt that Motion is any different. Btw, Macbreak Studio just put out a podcast on Keying inside FCPX. Motion 5 uses the same keyer, so check it out and see if your keyer inside Motion 4 has similar options.



[Christopher Travis] "b) having 2 layers is causing me another problem; I want each clip to fade in and fade out, and for this I'm using the fade in/out behaviour. However, if I apply this to both top and bottom layers...."

You've tried Grouping your key layers and then adding the Fade Behaviour to the Group, as opposed to each individual layer? Another way, and one that we used to do quite often in the old days, is to render out your keyed comp once you're happy with it and then bring it back in as a clip. Saves the system from having to calculate the key while you work. You can just hide the Key Comp Group so you access it later if you need to. Or maybe create a folder in Favorites name it after your project, create another folder in there for Keys, and drag your groups in there. Check this before you delete anything from your project though, i think it should work well, but test!

Best,
Sandeep


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Christopher Travis
Re: Tips for this key anyone?
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:14:34 am

Thanks for the fast response. I'll check out the macbreak studio podcast today.

I'll also have a look into baking the keyed comps into one track. Then I could just use opacity keyframes on that layer which should improve performance and tidy up my comp a bit.

Thanks again for taking the time to edify an ignoramus like me. I'm an editor by trade but do like getting my hands dirty in vfx / mograph when I get the chance and people like you on creative cow have always been a godsend.


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