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Animating Masks and Tracking

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Renee Matthews
Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 16, 2010 at 11:21:25 pm

Hey Everyone,

Here's what I'd like to do:

I have about 20 videos, cut, in sequences in Premiere Pro, with sports footage. I have to blur out names on jerseys.

Here's an example of one clip:

8 minutes long
bunch of zooming in and out
some scenes in the clip have multiple jerseys
some scenes have nothing to blur, etc

A response I received on another forum said this:

"You could have an adjustment layer with a blur effect and many masks on it. One mask for each jersey.

Then you need to animate the masks which you could do either by hand or using the AE tracker and the Tracker2Mask script. You can also track with Mocha, turn the tracking data into AE trackpoints with the Mocha Import script and then use Tracker2Mask with it."

I'd like to do the first option he gave, adjustment layer with a blur effect and using masks. Then use the AE tracker and Tracker2Mask.

I understand some of you may not be familiar with the script he made or whatever, and if I can go without using it that's okay. The tut video he has for it makes it seem important though.

Anyways, if someone can help me do this, as in, step by step, I would be more than happy to pay good money!

I'm a noob at AE so I need my hand held. For example, if telling to make a mask, tell me exactly step by step, how to do that.

The problems I'm running into are:

I don't know how to "stop" the masks. Like if I want to blur 6 seconds, I don't know how to keep it at that 6 seconds. There's no "split clip at playhead" type of option like there is in premiere.

Also when I added the masks in the adjustment layer, I don't know how to link the tracking up to the masks, and make the masks scale/rotate, etc.

Anyways, I'd really appreciate the help and would have no problem paying for it.

THANKS!

- Jennifer


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 3:53:57 am

Here's a video tutorial that shows how to do this:
"Motion tracking and rotoscoping"
The effect applied in the tutorial is a color-correction effect, but the same thing could be done with a blur effect instead.

And here's a way to remove the numbers with motion tracking and the Clone Stamp tool:
"Removing an object with Clone Stamp"

Here's a more advanced tutorial from the same series that shows how to do the same thing with Roto Brush instead of rotoscoping:
"Isolating a subject with Roto Brush"
I don't recommend that you try the more advanced way first, but know that there are many ways to do this kind of thing in After Effects.

If you're having trouble with something like this, you should probably begin at the beginning:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 10:55:57 pm

I went through the video tutorial. I thought it was very informative but it's exactly like all the other tutorials that I went through. It only covers one object, in one scene.

I am more than happy to pay good money to someone who wants to show me how to do this. It would take much less time to simply to a camtasia recording or something than to have someone do this to hours of footage. I'd also learn how to do it myself...

Here's what I'm doing that's getting me stuck:

1. Import the sequence, drag to timeline
2. Layer > New > Adjustment Layer
3. On first frame, use the rectangular tool to cover 3 objects that need to be blurred which creates the 3 masks.
4. Add the guassian blur to my liking

5. (Problem). I have to select the original sequence to start tracking. Ok, so I track one of the objects. The only thing I can apply it to is "Adjustment Layer 1". So, I do that. Well, that moves every single one of the masks I just created. So, skipping back to the first frame, my masks are now on completely different parts, not in the position they should be.

So, back to my original concern - applying the tracking data to each individual mask, instead of the entire adjustment layer?

Lastly, my other problem is removing masks when they're not blurring anything. I know someone said to just turn down the opacity all the way, but where? I turn down the opacity and it does that for every part of the video for that mask...

Anyways, I don't expect anyone to hold my hand for free and come up with a highly detailed lengthy step by step response on how to do this, but I'd be more than happy to generously pay to someone who does... I'll make it worth your time!


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 11:05:26 pm

> I thought it was very informative but it's exactly like all the other tutorials that I went through. It only covers one object, in one scene.


I think that you're missing a fundamental aspect of how this kind of post-production work works: Complex jobs are usually done by repeating simple techniques. If you know how to blur a single object in a single scene, then you can use that process repeatedly to blur multiple objects in multiple scenes. That's what any of us would do. It's hard, repetitive work. That's why the credits at the end of a movie are so long; compositing/VFX is a lot of repetitive tedium.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 11:09:51 pm

I definitely understand what you're saying - it's repetitive work and I'm more than okay with doing hours of work assuming I know what I'm doing.

I can't repeat the process of a one blur, one scene tutorial because there's missing steps. I don't know how to match up tracking data to each mask. Having multiple masks messes up the entire video. Etc - everything I covered in my last post about getting stuck isn't covered in the one blur, one scene tutorials and isn't capable of just repeating over again...


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:12:17 am

I'd like to reiterate what Todd said.

AE is NOT the kind of application that lets you learn a couple of tricks, and you're done. You have to know the basics. If you don't, AE will become nothing but a source of endless frustration.

But there's a cure.

So far, the most cost-effective way I've discovered to learn basics --and advanced stuff as well -- is to get this:
http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0132616440

You get densely-packed information. You get project files to follow along at home. It's all in one place, so you don't have to go searching around the web for information. It's all right there.
I personally have a copy, and I use it. A lot.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eric Chard
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:57:29 am

8 minutes.... man....

I'm not sure it's even worthwhile to jump thru all the hoops to track everything-- maybe it'd be a snap, but what with players turning around, running in front, etc., I just dunno.

FWIW, here's what I'd do:
Take the FINISHED CUT,
add an adjustment layer that blurs, and
add multiple masks to it, and
just animate them by hand.
Start w/just one, and have it jump around to whenever it needs to switch to another player/whatever. If you don't need ANY blur, drop the layer opacity to zero.
After you've animated Mask#1 for the entire thing, go back and add Mask #2 to the same layer to cover up additional blur areas.
You can turn off Blur#2 by animating the mask opacity.

repeat until done.
Welcome to editing.

++++++++++++++++
"Putting the HARM in 'harmonica' since 2005."
++++++++++++++++


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 2:41:58 pm

Another thought would be to make as many solids as you'd need. Mask them to be smaller and track those solids to cover the names, then precomp all those tracked solids and use that precomp as a track matte for the adjustment layer. It makes it so you can avoid the whole tracker to mask ballet.

- 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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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 3:22:19 pm

Hey -

Thanks for the response!

It's not like a whole football team of jerseys or anything like that. It's mainly just 1 - 3 players at a time, up close - so it's not that bad.

The problem I'm having is I don't know how to animate the masks - whether by tracking or by hand - that's where I'm stuck. I googled animating masks related keywords and couldn't find any information that suits my needs...


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 3:47:07 pm

Then you should definitely start here as Todd suggested: http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h... and/or get that great training resource that Dave mentioned.

- 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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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:01:29 pm

All I need to know how to do is animate the mask - I really don't have time to go through a course on AE.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:36:16 pm

[Renee Matthews] "I really don't have time to go through a course on AE."

Okay, that's the most telling remark you've made so far. If you don't have the time to do what the pros recommend as the way you have to do it, then you need to hire someone to do it for you.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:11:32 pm

[Renee Matthews] "I don't know how to animate the masks - whether by tracking or by hand - that's where I'm stuck."

This will be neither fast nor easy for you, sorry to say. Here's the easiest-to-understand way to do it:
  • Put your footage in a comp and double-click on the layer to open the footage window.
  • Using the pen tool, click four points around a name to create a mask, set the mask mode to none, and click on the stopwatch to create a mask path keyframe.
  • Continue down the timeline and analyze the motion of the subject, and note where you get extremes of motion. Then go back and move your mask vertices to surround the name again, creating new mask path keyframes.
  • Repeat the process as necessary on intermediate frames on the timeline to make the mask move with the name. Hours pass.

Then you repeat that process for all the names. Once you have all the masks done, create a solid that's the exact same H&V resolution & pixel aspect ratio as the footage. Copy all the animated masks and paste them on the solid. Change the masks' mode to add. Turn the solid into an adjustment layer and add a blur effect. The names are now blurred as the players move.

Expect to spend a couple of 8-hour days doing a single shot.

Now you COULD try using Mocha, a planar tracker bundled with AE, to create the masks... but it's more intermediate-to-advanced stuff. Right now, you're counting your time using AE in minutes, not months.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:19:14 pm

Thanks for the reply.

LOL @ "Hours pass."

Okay so that's the manual way of doing that. This is why I had to leave Premiere Pro. I can do it manually in there, too...

So, isn't that what "Tracker" and "Tracker2Mask" will automate for me?

So I guess the confusing part for me right now is how to link up the trackers with the masks.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:31:44 pm

To use the technique you describe, you need constantly-visible points surrounding the names for AE's Motion Tracker. If a point can no longer be seen, the track goes wacky. Do any of these players turn, for example? You've lost your track.

I don't think you appreciate how tough a job you face here. It is NOT for the faint of heart, there is NO automated way to do it, and the sophisticated, but still time-consuming ways of doing it are beyond your meager knowledge.

Hire it done. Bite the bullet. You ain't up to this task, ma'am, at least not yet. You will be in time.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:23:11 pm

[Renee Matthews] "There's no "split clip at playhead" type of option like there is in premiere. "

Sure there is: position the playhead and use the split clip command. Or use the keyboard shortcut: cmd-shift-d (mac) or ctl-shift-d (win).

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:44:37 pm

> The problem I'm having is I don't know how to animate the masks - whether by tracking or by hand - that's where I'm stuck.


Did you not watch the video that I linked to in my first post ("Motion tracking and rotoscoping") that I said showed how to do exactly that?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Renee Matthews
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:52:47 pm

"Did you not watch the video that I linked to in my first post ("Motion tracking and rotoscoping") that I said showed how to do exactly that?"

I tried playing the video at 3 separate times so far and each time it doesn't load/play.

I also wasn't sure whether you were talking about an alternative way of blurring the jerseys.

Just tried the link again and it's loading so I'll watch it - thank you!


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Eric Chard
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 7:10:33 pm

What kind of job throws this task at you without adequate training or time?

++++++++++++++++
"Putting the HARM in 'harmonica' since 2005."
++++++++++++++++


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Animating Masks and Tracking
on Dec 17, 2010 at 7:43:43 pm

[Eric Chard] "What kind of job throws this task at you without adequate training or time?"
One with a businessman/administrative-type in charge. :) "Why aren't you making magic happen instantly?!?!?!" is a question artists often get from that type. They assume it's one-button push to make magic happen.
Either that or a salesperson promised something: "Sure we can make your product/logo/CEO do/look/be ________. And you want this on the air tomorrow? No problem."

- 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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