… for Visual Effects

Tip #1561: How to Get Started in Motion Capture – FREE

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Motion capture doesn’t need to be expensive when you first start.

Image courtesy of Todd Blankenship.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in RocketStock.com. This is a summary.

After spending the past few months learning 3D, one of the biggest challenges (after making a decent looking 3D scene) was animating. Well, there are two good ways to do this. The better solution, yet requires a pretty serious investment, is using a motion capture suit. As for the no-budget option? I’ve turned to animation libraries from sites like Mixamo and Rokoko Motion Library.

If you want to get started learning motion capture for free, check out these free tools and assets. You can even see them in action in this video from Am I A Filmmaker?, where you will see the progression of learning motion capture with some really cool examples.

Here’s the video link.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1501: Get Rid of a White Background

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Removing a white background is easy, just hard to find.

Luma keyer settings (top), original image (lower left) and final.

Topic $TipTopic

Removing a white background in Motion is easy, but the settings are hard to find. This is one of those tips that, if you know it, seems easy. And, if you don’t, drives you nuts.

  • Import an element that has a white background into Motion and select it.
  • Apply Filters > Keying > Luma Keyer
  • Check the Invert checkbox to key on white (second red arrow).
  • Slide the top Luma slider to the right until the foreground is as solid as possible (top red arrow). Click the View > Matte icon to make sure the foreground is solid white.
  • To get rid of white edges, slide Matte Tools > Shrink/Expand to the right a pixel or two; I used 2.0 (bottom red arrow).

Done.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1504: New Feature: Media Replacement

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This trick is to use the Essential Graphics panel to replace media.

Replacing media in the Essentials Graphics panel.

Topic $TipTopic

The new replaceable media feature in Motion Graphic templates (.mogrt) created in After Effects for use in Premiere Pro is very cool – and easy to use. Once you know one trick. And that trick is HOW to replace the media.

Let me show you.

  • Switch to the Graphics workspace.
  • Using the Browser feature in the Essential Graphics panel, find the template you want to use and drag it into the timeline.
  • Select the template in the Timeline, then click the Edit button in the Essential Graphics panel.
  • Twirl down MEDIA REPLACEMENT, then twirl down Media Replacement (yup, it’s listed twice) until you see the placeholder graphic.
  • Drag the image you want to insert from the Project/Bin panel on top of the placeholder graphic in the Essential Graphics panel.
  • To change the starting time of the inserted video, change the timecode setting for the In, below the image. (Not illustrated in screen shot.)

EXTRA CREDIT

  • This will need plenty of time to render.
  • You can change the image at any time by dragging a different image on top of the placeholder.
  • Trying to change graphics in the Effect Controls panel won’t work.
  • For those that know Apple Motion, this feature is the same as using Drop Zones in Motion.

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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1500: Detached vs. Expanded Audio in FCP

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The big difference between these two is sync.

Expanded audio (left) vs. detached audio.

Topic $TipTopic

What’s the difference between “expanded” vs. “detached” audio, and does it make a difference? To answer the second question first: Yes, it makes a big difference.

EXPANDED AUDIO

Double-click the audio for a synced clip (or, select the clip and choose Clip > Expand Audio). This slightly separates the audio from the video without unlinking it; but leaves both clips in the Primary Storyline.

  • When you select either the video or the audio, the entire clip is selected.
  • When you move one side of the clip, the other side moves with it. You can’t get an expanded clip out of sync.
  • What you CAN do, however, is trim each side of the clip differently, which is the essence of a split edit.

NOTE: When you expand an audio clip, there is no connecting line between the audio and video clips.

DETACHED AUDIO

Select a synced clip and choose Clip > Detach audio. The audio separates into a discreet clip, connected via a link to the video clip (see screen shot). This separates the two clips and moves the audio out of the Primary Storyline and turns it into a Connected clip.

A detached audio clip can be selected, moved, deleted, or trimmed without affecting the video clip.

HOWEVER, if a detached audio clip is moved, such that it is out of sync with the video clip, there is no indicator these two clips are out of sync and there is no way – short of Undo – to get the two clips back into sync.

SUMMARY

If you need a standalone audio clip, detach it.

If you need a clip to remain in sync with the video, expand it.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1493: How to Create a Split Edit

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Split edits solve many editing problems.

An example of a split edit, where audio and video edit at different times.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar presenting Audio in Apple Final Cut Pro.)

A split edit is where the audio and video edit at different places in the timeline. It is a workhorse in editing, where you want to linger on the video while hearing different audio (see screen shot). Or vice-versa.

To create a split edit:

  • Double-click the audio portion of a clip in the Final Cut timeline (Shortcut: Control +S). This separates it from the video without unlinking it.
  • Select the Trim tool (Shortcut: T) from the Tools menu.
  • Click and drag the audio edit point to a new location. The audio edit point moves, without altering the video. (This type of edit is called a “Roll” trim.)

NOTE: You can do the same with the video edit point. Click and drag with the Trim tool.

EXTRA CREDIT

You can move the selected edit point multiple ways:

  • Type Control + [comma] / [period] to move left/right one frame.
  • Type Shift + Control + [comma] / [period] to move left/right ten frames
  • Type Shift + X to jump the edit point to the position of the playhead (assuming you have sufficient handles and are not jumping over other clips).

To remove a split edit, select the clip and choose Trim > Align Audio to Video. This trims (not moves) the audio to match the timing of the video for that clip.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1494: How to Use Clip Skimming

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Clip skimming enables high-speed audio review.

Here the cursor is skimming only the “Space Exterior” audio clip.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar presenting Audio in Apple Final Cut Pro.)

You probably use skimming – the ability to drag the mouse over a clip in the Browser or Timeline to quickly review its contents – when trying to decide which shot to use next. What you may not know is that clip skimming provides even more precise listening in the timeline where many clips are often stacked above or below each other.

Clip skimming is a high-speed way to listen to the sound of a single audio clip in the timeline, without hearing any other clips above or below it.

NOTE: If you only have one layer of video or one layer of audio in the timeline, clip skimming will be the same as skimming and, therefore, not particularly helpful.

To turn on clip skimming either:

  • Choose: View > Clip Skimming
  • Type: Option + Cmd + S

Then drag the cursor across the clip in the timeline you want to hear.

Repeat this process to turn off clip skimming.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1440: How to Export a Partial Motion Project

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Play ranges make it easy to focus on small sections of your project.

Keyboard shortcuts associated with play ranges.

Topic $TipTopic

Most of the time, when you finish a Motion project, you want to export all of it. But, what do you do if you only want to export some of it? Easy. Watch.

The area just above the mini-timeline, where the playhead slides back and forth, is home to two other icons:

  • Play Range In
  • Play Range Out

Many times, when you are working on somewhat longer projects, you may want to focus just on playback within a portion of the timeline. These play range markers make that happen.

But, they also control what gets exported.

Set these, either by dragging or typing Shift + Cmd + I or O, to set a play range In and/or Out.

NOTE: Using the keyboard shortcuts jumps the appropriate play range marker to the position of the playhead.

Then, choose Share > Export Selection to Movie. Only that portion of the project contained between those two markers export.

To reset the markers, type Option + X.

EXTRA CREDIT

The screen shot shows other shortcuts for working with these markers.

These markers do not support saving a portion of a project as a Final Cut template. To retime a template, you would need to reconstruct it.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1469: Set a Marker Range

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Marker durations are very useful for transcripts.

Set a marker duration in the Edit Marker dialog. A range marker is illustrated below.

Topic $TipTopic

Normally, a marker in Premiere indicates a specific point in time. However, you can extend a marker to cover a range in the timeline. This technique is good for adding transcriptions, marking selected regions of a quote, or whenever you need to indicate something that takes time.

Here’s how:

  • Add a marker to a clip or timeline.
  • Double-click the marker to open the Edit Marker dialog.
  • Change the Duration (top red arrow) timecode to reflect the duration of the marker.

NOTE: This measures the duration of a marker, not the marker’s location in the timeline.

EXTRA CREDIT

Once a duration is applied to a marker, you can change it by dragging either the start or ending marker to a new timeline location (bottom red arrow).


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1448: 3D Navigation Controls

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These navigation controls appear once you add a camera to your project.

Enlarged view of the 3D navigation controls in Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar illustrating Cameras, Sets & Drop Zones in Apple Motion 5.5.)

Once you add a camera to a Motion project, three new navigation controls appear in the top right corner of the Canvas (Viewer). Here’s what they do.

The three controls – indicated by the red arrow in the screen shot – are designed to be clicked and dragged with the mouse. In all cases, these shift the display in the Canvas, they do not change the composition of elements in the project.

From left to right:

  • Move the Canvas up/down/left right.
  • Rotate the Canvas on the Z axis. (This is the traditional way to rotate anything.)
  • Move view either closer or farther away, again, along the Z axis.

EXTRA CREDIT

Double-click any icon to reset the screen to the default 0,0,0 centered location.

You can experiment with these by adding a camera (Object > New Camera), switch the Canvas from Active Camera to, say, Top view then tweak one of these controls.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1449: Add Depth of Field to a Camera

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Rendering Depth-of-Field is very processor intensive. Turn it off when you don’t need it.

Top view showing camera angle, far and near focus. Text displaying resulting depth of field.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar illustrating Cameras, Sets & Drop Zones in Apple Motion 5.5.)

Depth of field (focus) can be added to any camera in Motion; though it is off by default. Here’s how to turn it on and adjust it.

  • Go to the Render menu in the top right corner of the Canvas (Viewer) and enable Depth of Field.
  • Add a camera to your project.
  • Select the camera, then, in Inspector > Camera, twirl down Depth of Field.
  • DOF Blur Amount. The amount of blurriness.
  • Near Focus. Indicated by a yellow line nearest the camera. This represents the nearest an object can be to the camera and still be in focus.
  • Far Focus. Indicated by a yellow line farthest from the camera. This represents the farthest an object can be to the camera and still be in focus.
  • Focus Offset. Drag this setting to roll the focus from foreground to background.

In this screen shot:

  • DOF Blur Amount: 60
  • Focus Offset: -2.0
  • Near Focus: 311
  • Far Focus: 0 (This is, generally, left at 0)
  • Camera Angle of View: 74°

EXTRA CREDIT

Use keyframes to animate Focus Offset to create a real-time roll focus.

Rendering depth-of-field is processor intensive. If playback is too slow, turn it on to set values, then turn off until ready to create final exports.


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