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Simple Paid Tutorial Request

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Renee MatthewsSimple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 1:27:39 am

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to pay someone to show me a step by step tutorial in after effects.

Here's what I'd like to do, and the problems I'm currently running into:

I need to blur multiple moving objects in multiple scenes of the same clip(s). In this case, it's names on the back of jerseys. Sometimes only 1 moving object in a scene needs to be blurred, sometimes none and sometimes multiple objects.

To be a little more detailed, here's an example:

Clip length is 5 minutes.
The first 10 seconds contain 3 moving objects that need to be blurred.
By second 7, 2 of those objects are out of the scene which leaves 1 left for the remainded 3 seconds.
After the 10 seconds, nothing needs to be blurred until minute 3, in which one moving object needs to be blurred for about 20 seconds.

I've followed several tutorials and recommendations on how to blur one object in one scene and I can do that very easily. I'm getting stuck in terms of how to blur multiple objects in multiple scenes.

Here's the way I'm doing it now (having problems with) that I would like the tutorial to elaborate on:

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...

My request for this paid tutorial is that it uses the same technique (animating however many masks on the adjustment layer using the tracker (can use tracker2mask, too if you're familiar)).

You don't have to spend forever writing it up. You can use Camtasia (full trial version avaiable) or ScreenFlow for mac... You won't even have to talk and I can just follow along (Preferably use the setting where it radiates or whatever when clicking).

Just name your price! I'll pay you before it's completed... - paid via paypal

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 2:09:51 am

I hate to turn down good money (I REALLY hate to turn down money), but:

As an ex-AE instructor, I recognize your problem. Rather than moving the mask LAYER, you want to animate the MASK SHAPE. The layer itself doesn't move at all.

OTOH, where you'll have trouble is when you accidentally select the layer, and IT'S INCREDIBLY EASY TO DO.

Select the masks by selecting them IN THE TIMELINE. this will prevent you from selecting and moving the layer. Make sure the mask nodes are highlighted. Save WITH INCREMENTS often, like every sixty seconds-- you do NOT want to re-do this. Check and recheck the layer coordinates to make sure you don't move it-- it may be ok, but best if it's locked down. (Which you can't literally do, just keep an eye on it.)

Move ONE mask at a time-- again, I feel your pain, and it's very very easy to get confused. You just have to take it slow and steady, and be prepared to spend a lot of time on it.

On the hopeful side, I find that by the time you reach the end of this kind of project, you will increase your speed on this task by a factor of 4, hurrah.

If you find this helpful and want to flip some bux my way, PM me and we'll work out something thru paypal. Maybe I can walk you thru it on skype.

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

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 2:10:34 am

BTW, in AE, Mask "shape" includes "mask position".

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

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Renee MatthewsRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 2:34:36 am

Forgot to add I googled mask nodes related keywords and found a thread from you from over a year ago, lol.

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Renee MatthewsRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 2:32:22 am

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my problems!

I'm still having problem, though :(

I would really love to pay you like $50 - $100 to make a quick vid tutorial on doing this.

The problems I'm having are the same:

1. The tracker only let's me select "Adjustment Layer 1". It doesn't matter how many masks I have, I still don't see where/how I can link up the tracker to each mask.

2. I tried (before I posted my last thread) selecting a mask under the Adjustment Layer in the left panel. The adjustment layer is still highlighted regardless of what mask I click on. It still moved the entire layer...

3. I don't know what mask nodes are :(

4. The only thing I see in the timeline are the two "bars" - the purple for the new layer and brown for the sequence I imported. Inbetween them are white ... "things" that seem to correlate to the masks but highlight them the same as clicking them in the panel, still with the adjustment layer highlighted.

Where can we go from here? Can you smell my money yet?

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 10:03:44 am

Yeah, what I'm suggesting (and others are suggesting might be the way to go) is to ABANDON the idea of motion tracking-- the nature of your footage is such that no labor is SAVED futzing around w/tracking, given the overhead in making it work, versus manually keyframing mask shapes.

Mask nodes are the Bezier points that define the mask: if you're familiar w/Photoshop, it's the points you lay down with the Pen Tool. A square mask has 4 nodes, but a mask can have, IIRC, up to 128 nodes. (Could be more.) The nodes are the little yellow squares. You move the whole mask by selecting it in the TIMELINE with the SELECTION TOOL. You must DRAG SELECT nodes inside the Composition window to adjust them. You can also drag parts of the masks between nodes to adjust the shape.

Here's a layer with 5 masks on it, on a red backdrop. Mask #5, the pentagon, is selected. Note how its nodes are slightly emphasized over the masks that are not selected.

For your needs, a square mask over the names & logos should do, with a slight amount of feathering to make the blur soft.

The work flow is:
IMPORT the FINISHED piece-- you do NOT want to do any more than you absolutely have to. LOCK that layer. Go to your first frame.
Make an adjustment layer with the Blur applied.
Decide where your first blur starts.
Make your mask using the Rectangular Mask tool at the appropriate spot.
Find the MASK in the Timeline (hit "m" with the adjustment layer selected). ENABLE ANIMATION on MASK SHAPE ( "click the stopwatch" ) for that mask. You can name masks if that makes your job easier. Click on the mask in the timeline and hit RETURN to rename a mask.

NOW, jump ten frames ahead ( Shift+PAGE DOWN ) and note where your area of interest has moved. IN THE TIMELINE, select the mask (click on MASK1). You'll see it light up in the Comp window.
Using the Select Tool, move the whole mask to a new position.
Using the Select Tool and DRAG-SELECT, select individual nodes to shape the mask to its needs.
Step backwards thru the comp (Page Up), to watch your mask move.
Use "k" to jump to the next keyframe, the one you made, then SHIFT+PAGE DOWN to jump another 10 frames forward. Move the Mask again. Repeat until done. Save every sixty seconds.

Obviously, this is incredibly tedious. Be very careful to move the masks, not the layer.

For two blurs, just add another mask. With multiple masks you may also find it useful to individually COLOR the masks, as shown below. Just click the swatch by the mask name.

When you need the blur to stop for a given mask, ANIMATE its Opacity to 0%. You can do this in one frame by making a keyframe at 100%, advancing one frame, and making a second keyframe at 0%.

So, you might have up to 4 masks, that you animate on/off with OPACITY, and move around with the SELECTION TOOL. The big mistake people make is forgetting to ENABLE animation by turning on the stopwatch.

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

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Renee MatthewsRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 5:50:48 pm

Thank you so much for the detailed response, I really appreciate it!

I can see what you're getting at here and it's a lot easier to understand.

My AE looks a little different from yours - my masks say "Mask Path" instead of "Mask Shape".

It took me forever to realize I needed to click and drag the top right square (node) in my masks to move them. I think it's because I was using the rectangular tool. When I used the pen tool then yeah, I need to drag and select all of the nodes before moving.

I see what you're getting at with keyframing. Every 10 frames is/would going to take eons (especially at 60fps)! I was toying around with it and it actually works great/smoothly even when keyframing in seconds instead of frames.

The pain in the a** is the scaling and rotation. That makes it take even longer.

I'd still like to know how to apply tracking data to the masks. I think doing it manually will be more efficient and make more sense on certain parts, but on the parts with a ton of zooming in and out and movement, I feel like the tracker could go through that a lot easier and quicker...

Anyways - ! I appreciate your help greatly. If you want to show me how to apply the tracker to the masks, I'd be more than happy to PayPal you $50 - $100 today - just name your price! Everyone has a price :D

You've been a great help

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 8:18:54 pm

I'll look into the Tracker/Mask question, but first:

Scaling/Rotation: the way you phrased this makes me suspect you are using MASK TRANSFORM to manipulate the masks.

Don't bother.

EACH node in a mask is separately animatable. If MASK PATH animation is enabled (click the stopwatch), when you select an individual node and move it, the mask will change shape over time.

To do this, use the SELECT Tool, not the Pen Tool, which will more likely start making a new mask. Select the mask you want to change in the Timeline (you could select in the Comp window, but DON'T: too easy to select the layer itself-- use the Timeline), then DRAG SELECT using the SELECT Tool to select a point or a group of points. Then move as usual.

Of course, MASK PATH animate must be ON for this to work.

One other pitfall: if you accidentally click on the stopwatch for any animation channel, you lose all your keyframes. UNDO to restore them.

AND SAVE WITH INCREMENT VERY VERY OFTEN. Like every minute, I'm not exaggerating here. With a timer to remind you, every five minutes.

And one thing I used to warn my students about: if AE starts 'acting weird' in any way, save, close, and reboot. You'll thank me in the long run.

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

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Renee MatthewsRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 8:22:53 pm

Thanks again for the response. I'm in the middle of doing some blurring right now and it seems to be going pretty fast. I actually think I could do it manually. I haven't really got to any tough parts, but we'll see.

With the scaling - I realized that I don't need to do it every frame and that if I just go to the very last frame of where the object is at and scale it down there, it will scale correctly by itself inbetween the keyframes (assuming it's not a long section that needs to be blurred (or I'll need more keyframes).

Anyways, I will report back! Thank you!

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 8:28:57 pm

Glad to hear it's going smoothly. >8^)

Every 10 frames was a suggestion, sometimes you can get by w/less, sometimes you will need more.

How can I contact you privately? Check my profile, my email should be in there now.

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

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Eric ChardRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request/Multi-track
by on Dec 19, 2010 at 12:31:42 am

I don't really see what the problem is with multiple tracking: observe the embedded image:

The deal here is, each blurred area gets its own Adjustment Layer. Each area is tracked individually using Motion Tracking, and then a Adjustment "Blur" layer is added to the Comp and attached to that track. Add a mask to the Adjustment layer to limit its effect to the area in question. Animate the layer opacity for when the area in question goes off screen or is obscured. Works fine.

BUT, it's just as much work, if not MORE, than simply using one layer, and manually keyframing the location of the mask. Plus, with only one layer you can adjust the blur amount globally, instead of on each layer.

Some tasks are just not worth automating.

PS: I made one mask star-shaped just to reinforce the idea that masks can be any shape.

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

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Renee MatthewsRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request/Multi-track
by on Dec 19, 2010 at 3:13:01 pm

Hey -

Not that I'm that skilled, but I think you're right. It would take way longer to set the track points and track, etc than to do it manually. I think of the whole clip or a long portion of it had one thing to track then that would be worth it but not for the quick blurs, etc...

I looked in your profile and couldn't find your email. I believe mine is at the bottom of the first post in this thread. I did notice you're from Seattle? I'm over in Redmond!

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Andrew DevisRe: Simple Paid Tutorial Request
by on Dec 18, 2010 at 9:43:14 am

Have you seen my recent tutorial about separating elects with mocha 2?

Using this method you can track several items at a time, create shapes, link then to the track and apply to a duplicate of your footage and the just blur that.

Have a look and see if you could use this technique.

Hope this helps

... because it's all about stories ...

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