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I've deleted mask points and ruined my project. What can I do?

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Tim Shundler
I've deleted mask points and ruined my project. What can I do?
on Dec 4, 2011 at 10:16:32 pm

I am a beginner with AE.

I've been working for weels on a project that involved masking out a moving subject in preperation for a background replacement. I've been doing so by using the pen tool to create a mask around the subject, and moving the individual mask points frame by frame to accomplish an extremely accurate mask.

I've been saving the project about every 5-10 frames.

As I approached the end of the clip, my subject began to move partially off screen, leaving behind a good amount of extra pen points that I no longer needed. Naturally, I decide to delete the points.

This completely destroyed my project, as I discovered later that in deleting said points, I deleted all past references to them as well - so now, my project only has half of the points it did before.

Please tell me there is something I can do. I've literally spent weeks on this project.


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: I've deleted mask points and ruined my project. What can I do?
on Dec 5, 2011 at 2:25:11 am

Ctrl-Z if the project is still open. Or go to your project folder and see if one of the autosaves still has what you need.

Chances are you'll have to redo your work, but keep in mind you shouldn't be masking frame by frame (it sounds like you are). Why? It takes way too much work and it's usually horrible looking because it introduces so much edge jitter. You should use key frames to automate the movement of the mask points as much as possible; once that is set, you can go in and correct for drift.


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Walter Soyka
Re: I've deleted mask points and ruined my project. What can I do?
on Dec 5, 2011 at 2:34:59 am

In addition to Angelo's advice, change your workflow going forward: turn autosave on (if it is off), and use Increment and Save instead of Save to avoid overwriting your project file.

If you must redo some of this work, and if you have AE CS5 or CS5.5, consider using Rotobrush [link].

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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