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how can I make a tron suit glow?

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patrick collins
how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:26:52 pm

Hi,

I have some footage of a "tron" suit, and I want to make the lines of the suit glow like they did in the movie... I am wondering if there are any tricks or plugins that I can use to detect where solid blue is within a region of the video, and allow me to make those glow bright...

I was originally thinking I could just make paths and line them up frame by frame-- but, the more I look at the footage, the more I think it's going to be really hard to get that to look right... So I am hoping there is some tool out there that will let me specify a color range and a tolerance, and it can smartly select that and apply a filter for every frame... ?

-patrick



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Bruce Wainer
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:16:32 pm

I would make a duplicate of your video, apply levels or curves to where there is only blue showing (or use set channels to turn off the red and green channels). Next apply Tint to make it black and white. Adjust your levels or curves so blue becomes white and everything else become gray or black. Duplicate your original clip again, and set it to use the black and white layer as a luma matte. Apply glow to this layer and you should be done!

Let me know if this works. It may take some tweaking, but it should give OK results.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:42:01 pm

[Patrick Collins]"So I am hoping there is some tool out there that will let me specify a color range and a tolerance, and it can smartly select that and apply a filter for every frame?"

Chromakeying. :) Tons of different methods. It selects color and tolerance. Use it as a reverse track matte or invert the alpha and then you can apply glowing to your heart's content.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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patrick collins
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:40:57 am

Thank you for the replies, Bruce and Michael..

I tried your suggestion Bruce, but it doesn't seem to be working quite right-- Maybe I am doing something wrong? It seems like the white of the suit is showing up rather than the blue... And over all too many things in the environment are also glowing (the couch, the lamp, etc).

I have uploaded my project file with a few seconds of video hoping that you can take a look and see if there's something else you'd to get this set up right.

I was looking into chromakeying, since Michael recommended it, but I am not sure how you do that in After Effects CS3, which is the version I have.

Here is the project and media file:
http://collinatorstudios.com/www/tron_test.zip

Thank you in advance for any additional guidance/help.

-patrick



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Michael Szalapski
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 5:32:45 am

I'm doing this from my iPhone at a party in case you need this in a hurry otherwise I'd be ablt to get you a could of nice links. Just look at keying in the help files. Also, http://www.videocopilot.net has some great basics tutorials and one of them covers keying.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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patrick collins
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:05:29 am

Hi Michael,

No rush on this... I want to do this right, so I am willing to be as patient as necessary; so if you can point me to some other resources later, that would be cool.

Thanks, and in the meantime I will check out videocopilot.

-patrick



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Bruce Wainer
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 2:42:49 pm

I tried out my method...too many downsides to my plan. I stopped the white from glowing, but then his face turned blue! I'd try Michael's idea - use the blue as a reverse blue screen (screen out the blue, then invert alpha or use as an inverted alpha track matte, like he said). I did a quick attempt using Color Key. The main features turned out ok, but the dark, thin lines on his shirt sleeve and helmet were too similar in color to the background. If I tried to key it in Color Key, the background would disappear, too. I'd suggest using something a little more complex, unless this is good enough for you: http://brwainer.110mb.com/tron_test.htm.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:34:28 pm

Yes, you would probably find it useful to do a rough rotoscope (mask that follows the movements) to isolate the guy before you start keying.

I was going to get you several links on keying, but it turns out the Adobe help page on keying is full of links to great resources already.

And, since you are new to AE, I would suggest you check out all of the VideoCopilot.net Basics tutorials.
Also, here's a page put together by Adobe employee Todd Kopriva with tons of useful links and info for starting out in AE.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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patrick collins
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:38:44 am

Hi,

Well.. I am not sure if I did this as you were suggesting.. But I got a result that is pretty good... Not quite perfect, but it's getting there.

I have updated my project file:
http://collinatorstudios.com/www/tron_test.zip

I used keylight to remove the blue in the suit, and then placed an image of a blue gradient behind it.. Then I put another layer of the original video with a mask revealing the background (to cover up any parts of my background that were turning blue).

My question is: Did I do this right? I don't really have any way to add 'glow' to this, because it's a background color showing through the cut outs of the suit.. The best I could do was use keylight's edge softening to make it look sort of like it's glowing.

Another question I had is, if you are familiar with Tron, the color in the suits sort of have a lot of variations of shading, and when they move, it's extremely noticeable. This is the reason why I made my background solid color a gradient image... Though it's still a little too static feeling.. I am wondering if you have a suggestion for something I can do to give the color a little bit of life?

Here is a still shot of Tron:
http://collinatorstudios.com/www/tron_image.jpg

Thanks.

-patrick



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Michael Szalapski
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 4:32:57 pm

My suggestion was to use the they keyed layer as an inverse track matte. You would then have three layers:
Track Matte (keyed layer
Glow layer (either a solid with effects applied or a copy of original footage with effects applied)
Original footage
(although, you would probably want to precomp the track matte layer and the glow layer and apply glow to the precomp)

Or two layers:
Original footage with key effect(s) and Channel>Invert with the channel set to Alpha. Then glow effects applied.
Original footage

Assuming your key isn't a good one (which it probably won't be since you didn't really shoot well for it) you should have a nice amount of flicker in it already due to video noise depending on your keying settings :)

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Steve Roberts
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:06:58 am

Next time, try 3M Scotchlite or similar tape.



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patrick collins
Re: how can I make a tron suit glow?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:34:00 am

Hi MIchael.

Thank you very much for the help... I think I've pretty much got it...

One more question, how is the best way to keep the background from being affected?

My solution was to put a 3rd track of original footage as the top layer, and then make a mask around the tron character and set it to subtract... Just wondered if there is a better way to do this? I tried applying a mask to the layer with the keylight/invert/glow, but it didn't let the background of the layer beneath it to come through...

-patrick



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