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AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting

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Ben GraceAE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:11:05 pm

Hey guys-

This is my first time posting and am in a bit of a bind. I got an unpaid internship at this motion graphics company and they having me do a lot of keying for MLB baseball teams like the Royals and Pirates. It's a cool gig and i'm hoping to learn a lot by being around people in this type of work.

I come from a graphic design background and am a major beginner in After Effects. I'm quickly learning it's really nothing like Photoshop, and it's taking me a little longer than usual to adapt to it.

Throw in the fact that I've never keyed anything in my life before, and well, i'm having a little trouble. Also, I'm not being babysat (not complaining) so if I have a question, I'm a little hesitant to ask my coworkers since they are busy with their own work anyhow. SO I turn to the forum!

Basically, I'm keying out a sequence with like 10 dancers. They project shadows onto the ground and behind them, so the green is anything but constant. I did ask a VFX coworker and he told me to divide the video into sections based on their light, and key them out individially that way.

Trouble is, I can't figure out how to do this. When I mask something out, I obviously can't apply the keylight plugin on just that mask. I thought maybe several adjustment layers would be the answer, but I'm really struggling.


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Michael BanksRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:52:16 am

Hi, Ben. While I haven't had the opportunity or need to do the kind of keying you are asking about, it sounds to me like you simply need to:

1)Pull the footage into your comp (or duplicate your video layer) as many times as you have elements which you need to key.

2)Matte each element (dancer) with one matte per dancer per layer.

3)Apply KeyLight to each layer to make your individual key adjustments.

I think that should get you going in the right direction. Welcome to After Effects! It's great, and there IS a lot you can learn/do with it. I hope the project turns out great!

Mike Banks

Video Production Specialist
MarCom Video Room
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
*****
Avid Media Composer 5 (HP Z400 Workstation: Windows 7 64-bit; Intel Xeon 6 Core W3680 CPU; 6 GB RAM); Adobe CS4; DepthQ Stereoscopic; Digital Rapids StreamZHD v.3.3.3.b47


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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:48:02 am

Your goal is to build up a good matte. Doing so may (and likely will) take several passes. Your goal is to end up with a precomposition layer that can be used as a track matte over the main footage layer. The precomposition may contain many duplicates of the original layer, with each duplicate cut up with masks and various keying effects and such applied as appropriate for just that piece.

There are some resources linked to from this page that should give you a good start, including some free sample chapters from Mark Christiansen's book (which you should get).

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


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Ben GraceRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:26:46 pm

Thanks so much for the help guys! Unfortunately, I don't fully understand what 'mattes' or 'comps' are exactly. I've worked in adobe premiere but AE is definitely a different animal.

The main two problems I'm having are this:

I have to reduce the clip whites to a ridiculously low level to get the dancers to be completely white. Even then, they still have quite a bit of transparency and look awful.

The other problem is the shadows on the green. The first reply in this thread was a good suggestion- i'm going to just copy the video several times and mask each video file and apply a seperate keylight. I think the problem is that the dancers are wearing shiny boots, pom poms, and other reflective things. They are absorbing so much green that AE can't tell what's what.

Anyone have an okay solution for this? It's really tough because I would just ask my co-workers, but then they just end up doing it for me or basically taking me step by step. I'm also being asked to do professional level keying when I've never keyed anything before...definitely tough stuff.

By the way, this forum seems awesome and i look forward to posting on here!


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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:35:16 pm

> Unfortunately, I don't fully understand what 'mattes' or 'comps' are exactly.


Those are very basic terms in After Effects, which means that you really need to take a couple of steps back and begin at the beginning. Please start here:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

If you don't know what a term means, please look it up in After Effects Help:


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


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Ben GraceRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:55:29 pm

Yeah I definitely need to start at the basics; not blaming you guys for not knowing the terms, haha. Just need to learn more about AE.

I'm actually thinking I'm just going to have to tell my boss I can't do this...I tried dividing the videos into sections and masking each video file in one comp. However, when I key out the greens, the dancers take on a different lighting/in the diff mattes. You can clearly tell where they were divided into sections. Very frustrating.


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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 3:02:30 pm

Regarding the dancers taking on different colors:

You shouldn't be seeing the isntances of the layers that you're using to generate the mattes. You are fre to utterly wreck the colors of the copy (or copies) of the layers that you're using to generate the mattes, because that's all that you're using them for. The end result will be a track matte on top of a pristine copy of the layer with the dancers.

This is covered in the page that I linked to earlier and the various resources that it points to.

You _really_ need to buy and study the Mark Christiansen book _After Effects CS5 Studio Techniques: Visual Effects and Compositing_.

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


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Ben GraceRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 3:10:16 pm

Yeah, I'll look into that book. Not your fault at all, i just have no idea what you're talking about, haha. I'll read the book but i'm giving up on this project..


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Michael BanksRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 4:24:27 pm

You're the man, Todd! Sounds like I could use an After Effects reference book, too. LOL!

Video Production Specialist
MarCom Video Room
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
*****
Avid Media Composer 5 (HP Z400 Workstation: Windows 7 64-bit; Intel Xeon 6 Core W3680 CPU; 6 GB RAM); Adobe CS4; DepthQ Stereoscopic; Digital Rapids StreamZHD v.3.3.3.b47


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 4:55:29 pm

....and while Todd may be reluctant to mention it, here's an extremely good AE learning resource for about the same the price as a video game:

http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321734866

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


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Michael BanksRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 4:58:22 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the revelation, Dave. Todd's being so discrete while he represents his employer in the forums here apparently. ;)

Video Production Specialist
MarCom Video Room
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
*****
Avid Media Composer 5 (HP Z400 Workstation: Windows 7 64-bit; Intel Xeon 6 Core W3680 CPU; 6 GB RAM); Adobe CS4; DepthQ Stereoscopic; Digital Rapids StreamZHD v.3.3.3.b47


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Todd KoprivaRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 5:16:56 pm

I don't like to do anything that might appear to show a conflict of interests. But, yes, I do recommend that DVD and book set that Angie and I made. I have a keying tutorial in that set that shows how to use three different mattes to key out a person from a green screen.

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


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Michael BanksRe: AE Assistance: Keying Images with shadows/unstable lighting
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 5:32:50 pm

Completely understandable, Todd. It's folks like you who provide learning and craft resources on the web that help make it worthwhile. Thanks!

Video Production Specialist
MarCom Video Room
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
*****
Avid Media Composer 5 (HP Z400 Workstation: Windows 7 64-bit; Intel Xeon 6 Core W3680 CPU; 6 GB RAM); Adobe CS4; DepthQ Stereoscopic; Digital Rapids StreamZHD v.3.3.3.b47


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