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View Full Version : How to create mattes and masks in SpeedEDIT



Shabazzy
01-17-2014, 08:29 AM
Ok first off, I'd just like to make a couple of things clear to anyone who has certain expectations from this tutorial.

First, it's important that you appreciate that SpeedEDIT:

Doesn't do everything the same way as other more commonly used editors do. So you need to be a bit open minded.
Is not a compositing program



Secondly, compromises will have to be made to achieve this effect due to the limitations of the program. More on this at the end of the tutorial.

That said, let's start.

For this tutorial you will need to have a strong fundamental knowledge of SpeedEDIT's basic editing workflow and a good knowledge of the Control Tree.

Limitations:
SpeedEDIT's masks are pretty much non-existent and therefore workarounds with the Control Tree are necessary to setup some of the more basic masking procedures.

Matte creation in SpeedEDIT is a lot better with the help of SpeedEDIT's keying tools, however trying to get varying degrees of transparency from

the greyscales of imported third party mattes can be quite problematic as SpeedEDIT doesn't seem to have any way of recognising a clip as a matte.

Tools used:

Sub-Project
Alias
Control Tree
Filebin
Title Page.cg
Draw Tab
Text Tab
Luma keying



Understanding how to use these tools will help you follow this tutorial.

Objective:
The idea behind this tutorial is to create an animated text based matte that will scroll or crawl revealing a video clip within the text while moving across video clip.

The techniques learned here can be applied to many other situations.

WORKFLOW

BRINGING IN THE PLATES

Matte Background Plate
First off we're going to create the fill for the text. This will be the clip that's shown through the 'hole' of the matte that will be soon defined. Start by dragging a clip into the Storyboard or top layer of the timeline. Give it the alias 'Matte Background Plate'.

Background Plate
Now we're going to create our background plate. This will be the video clip that the text travels over. It will give the impression that this clip is in the background, even though it's really on top of the background clip as viewed from the SpeedEDIT timeline.

Drag a clip under the 'Matte Background Plate' clip and then give it an alias named 'Background Plate'.

MATTE/MASK CREATION
Click on the Filebin tab and navigate to the "Titles" directory. Drag a "Title Page.cg" under the 'Background Plate' clip and check the 'Overlay' box.

With the "Title Page.cg" selected, change the alias to something like 'My First Title Matte', then click on it's Control Tree and click on the 'Draw' tabbed pane. Create a black rectangle that covers the entire video area.

Now click on the 'Title' tabbed pane (if you wanted, you could remain in the 'Draw' tabbed pane instead and draw shapes that will define a mask, since the principles are the same) and type some text of your choosing. I recommend typing 'Shabazzy is a GENIUS'.

Make sure of the following:

The text is solid white (or a colour that doesn't appear in the 'Background Plate' clip).
The font chosen is of a strong, bold, clearly legible type.



The similarly, if you're going to draw a shape make sure it's white or a colour that doesn't appear in the 'Background Plate' clip.

Making the motion
Now you could manually set keyframes to move the text around the screen as you wish or you can just go to the Control Tree and open up the 'Page Properties' menu and select one of scrolling or crawling options in the 'Page Styles' drop-down selections.

Setting up the keys
At this point make sure the black rectangle is under the text or shape.

When done, move over to the Control Tree and open the 'Layer Properties'.

Scroll down and open the 'Chroma/Luma Keying' options and select black as the colour to key.

Enable the 'Luma key' check box and make sure the 'Chroma/Luma Keying' check box is enabled also.

The black background should have disappeared showing the 'Background Plate' clip under the white text.

Select the title clip and the 'Background Plate' clip and create a 'Sub-project'. Give it an alias with '_sub-project' on the end of whatever you call it. That way you'll know it's a sub-project.

Open up the Control Tree for this sub-project and key out the white. Now provided the 'Background Plate' clip hasn't any colours that have a similar luma strength to white you should see the white text disappear and the 'Matte Background Plate' clip appear inside the text.

If the 'Background Plate' clip has 'holes' in it and it too is showing the 'Matte Background Plate' through it, you can try changing the keying colour for the text to one that doesn't appear in the 'Background Plate' clip, keying it out and then changing the keying from 'Luma' to 'Chroma' instead.

Be prepared to tweak the 'Key Tolerance' and maybe 'Key Smoothing' settings for the 'whatever-you-called-it_sub-project' clip to find the spot that eliminates any holes showing through the 'Background Plate' clip, as well as to remove the aliasing on the edges of the text or shape.

Stop re-inventing the wheel
Once done, create an instance of the 'whatever-you-called-it_sub-project' clip by dragging it into an appropriate folder in the 'Add Media' window. Probably a folder called 'Mattes' or something.

That way, whenever you need a matte or mask like this, you can just drag it onto the timeline under your new 'Matte Background Plate' clip and easily change the 'Background Plate' clip of the sub-project using SpeedEDIT's inherit feature if you want, as well as it's text/shape.

And we're done.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The masking workflow works pretty much the same way, except you probably don't need it to scroll/crawl.

The only problem with this technique is that it's virtually impossible to feather the edges of the matte/mask. SpeedEDIT doesn't seem to be able to create semi transparent luma keys. It seems to be very binary, i.e., your chosen colour is either fully transparent or it's not. Which is an unfortunate limitation on it's flexiblity.

That's one good reason it may be better to bring in a 32bit image/video clip with the masking/matting done in another program like Aura or TVPaint if feathering or various semi-transparent areas are required, since that seems to work wonderfully.

However, don't be afraid to experiment and tailor this workflow for your purposes. This is just a foundation on which you can build.

And don't forget to save regularly. If SpeedEDIT crashes on you, you'll be glad you did.

Let me know if you found this useful.

Enjoy

Shabazzy

Shabazzy
01-17-2014, 09:42 AM
To shed a bit more light to the approach of bringing in a 32bit image/video, I've attached a file that contains a sequence of stills from an animated motion graphic that I created in TVPaint that, when brought into SpeedEDIT, demonstates how it's possible to use files that contain semi transparent pixels.

The files are in PAL DV1 format (720x576 at 25fps) so you'll need to set up a project to match it.

If you replace the 'My First Title Matte' clip with this file by first unzipping it to an appropriate folder, then alt-click and drag the first image into the timeline, you'll see it in action. Adding to that, if you were to replace the 'Background Plate' clip with an animated backdrop or even apply my post on how to achieve a pseudo layer blending mode effect in SpeedEDIT tutorial (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?137785-Achieving-a-pseudo-layer-blending-mode-effect-in-SpeedEDIT&p=1349311&viewfull=1#post1349311) to the existing 'Background Plate', you may begin to see the possibilities for doing 'semi' compositing within SpeedEDIT. :)

Shabazzy

Mutley Eugenius
03-20-2014, 08:43 PM
And don't forget to save regularly. If SpeedEDIT crashes on you, you'll be glad you did.

Actually it is not necessary to save in SE at all, hardly. If it ever crashes, just restart the program, open the last project (it will be in the Projects folder and it will have the time you started working on it as it's creation time) and as soon as it opens, before you do ANYTHING else, put the mouse at the top of the SE interface, right click, snd select 'Redo all actions' and it will instantly load to the point of the last click before the crash. SE saves every single thing you do into a series of temp file in the projects folder, in a folder with the same name as the project file.

I almost never save until I'm done with the project and I don't have any problems, despite the fact that SE crashes on me 10 times a week.

Shabazzy
03-21-2014, 07:41 AM
Absolutely agree with that, but my view is for those not in the know (of which there seem to be many) that the practice of saving regularly goes beyond SE and is a good autopilot habit to have.

For me, having it as a reflex action has saved my rear end on many projects when using multiple applications.

But you are absolutely right about that ultra cool feature.

Mutley Eugenius
03-21-2014, 08:29 AM
Shabazzy! In the immortal words of Alexander Graeme Bell: "Hello!" (with telephone EQ, slight distortion, and a Scottish accent)

OK, I won't argue with that.

Shabazzy
03-21-2014, 10:53 AM
Mutley! To use Thomas Watson's nineteenth century parlance, "Wassup baby. It's cold jammin' to hear from you again." :D

Mutley Eugenius
03-21-2014, 02:04 PM
Yes, I've been off discovering far lands, known as Costa Rica, HitFilm 2 and a programming language called Python. Just surfaced for air though, before I head back in, and I found SE 2.6. Any major improvements since January 2013?

Shabazzy
03-22-2014, 06:30 AM
Wow. You've been quite the busy little bee haven't you?

I downloaded HitFilm2 Express a couple of months ago. I still haven't installed it to check it out yet. It's really quite interesting to me that quite a few people I know have turned their attention to Python. What was your reason?

Like HitFilm I downloaded SE2.6 but haven't had a chance to install it yet. Too busy.

Btw. What are you shooting with these days?

I'm glad that you're still around. Don't be a stranger.

Mutley Eugenius
03-22-2014, 06:47 AM
I used to write my programming in VisualBasic but every time MS comes out with a new suite of Office, they would chenge the commande in VB, and worse, they would remove functionality. But the real clincher was that you couldn't create .exe files with it without drawing a pentogram on the floor of a temple & killing a chicken.

So I went to Python. Pretty damn cool! I have finished writing and am now beta-testing a program called ShotLogPro that enables me to automatically find and then log all the shots in a directory or on a chip, then save the shotlog as an HTML file. Its awesome, and Now I can Shot log a days shoot in about half an hour, as opposed to the 2 hours that It used to take me.

And I can make .exe files very easily, and have made a number of little apps that can do all kinds of fun functions that I always had to do manually.

HitFilm2 is pretty awesome. They were giving away the free version of the lite verson at Christmas, and I got it. I LOVE the pixel tracking function which is primarily what I have used it for, and it's actually a ridiculously capable program. You'll love it. And they you'll start splurging all over their forum, I'm sure.

I am running SE2.6 now. I haven't noticed anything different except for the fact that it seems to be quite a bit snappier and faster on my machine.

I hope it's the same for you when you get it installed.

Mutley Eugenius
03-22-2014, 07:13 AM
Oh, and I'm shooting with an EX-3s. I don't like them. They have a sticky lens that can't do a slow zoom to save its life, and colorwise the picture is natively too cold, and noisy, particularly if you use any kind of gain on it at all. But I have 3 of them and I won't be getting anything else any time soon, so I'm stuck with them for now.

Shabazzy
03-25-2014, 12:08 PM
I used to write my programming in VisualBasic but every time MS comes out with a new suite of Office, they would chenge the commande in VB, and worse, they would remove functionality. But the real clincher was that you couldn't create .exe files with it without drawing a pentogram on the floor of a temple & killing a chicken.

I'm LMFAO at that. That's one of the funniest statements I've heard in a long time. I think that's why I like the open source platforms, yes it can be a bit bleeding edge, but I like that there's that basic stability that underlines projects. Chicken killing is ofcourse optional. :D


So I went to Python. Pretty damn cool! I have finished writing and am now beta-testing a program called ShotLogPro that enables me to automatically find and then log all the shots in a directory or on a chip, then save the shotlog as an HTML file. Its awesome, and Now I can Shot log a days shoot in about half an hour, as opposed to the 2 hours that It used to take me.

This sounds VERY interesting. What's your intention for ShotLogPro? Private use for you only or will this be commercially available? Depending on features, it sounds like something I'd want.


HitFilm2 is pretty awesome. ... You'll love it. And they you'll start splurging all over their forum, I'm sure.

LOL. I think you give me far too much credit. I'm sure HitFilm have a support network that far exceeds my minor knowledge base.


Oh, and I'm shooting with an EX-3s. I don't like them. They have a sticky lens that can't do a slow zoom to save its life, and colorwise the picture is natively too cold, and noisy, particularly if you use any kind of gain on it at all. But I have 3 of them and I won't be getting anything else any time soon, so I'm stuck with them for now.

Although I know you won't, but if you were to be granted a camera upgrade wish, what would you upgrade to?

All the best

Shabazzy

Mutley Eugenius
03-25-2014, 02:14 PM
Although I know you won't, but if you were to be granted a camera upgrade wish, what would you upgrade to?


Well it's funny you should ask that, I live on a cruise ship in the Caribbean where I have a basic zero of exposure to any up-to-date markets of what's out there, and a similar budget. I don't FB, I don't tweet, I don't google much, I don't subscribe to magazines, although a friend has tried to throw his old 'American Cinematographers' at me but I somehow find it hard to become enthusiastic about reading something written about how many millions were spent on producing something by those who have such millions to spend, basically just rubbing my nose in my inablilty to have what I would want if I read it.

Which makes me think of the old joke, What's the definition of Ignorance & Apathy?

I don't know and I don't care.

So basically that's my answer.



Shot Log Pro, when it's finished, will absolutely rock!!! It already does. Its existing operational functions are like something out of a dream. It is currently private. If I decide to distribute it, it will be free. But that will only happen at a time when it is debugged enough to not fill my inbox with complaints, blame, damages claims, and summons'.

lcress
03-25-2014, 03:06 PM
Mutley, you crack me up.

In a perfect world (where I was rich, of course), I'd book your cruise ship and invite everyone on the list along for an SE Users Group outing.

It would be glorious.

Shabazzy
03-25-2014, 03:29 PM
Lynn, I think I'd do the same, except we'd be there to be entertained by Mutley himself.

He'd make you laugh yourself silly wouldn't he? He really is a classic.

Mutley Eugenius
03-25-2014, 07:56 PM
Lynn, I think I'd do the same, except we'd be there to be entertained by Mutley himself.

He'd make you laugh yourself silly wouldn't he? He really is a classic.



You guys are way too kind.

No really, stop it.

Shut UP!