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After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
Illustration by John Hersey

Choosing a base frame


From:

After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Choosing a base frame

Since we want a copy of this actor to appear in front of our new screen, we're going to need to duplicate this background footage so that we have a nice little rotoed out snippet that we could put in front. So I will select the Laptop.mov layer, Cmd+D or Ctrl+D to duplicate it. With it selected, press Return and rename it Actor Roto>Enter and drag it in front of my new Control Panel layer. Next, I need to double-click this layer to open it up in the Layer panel; all Roto Brush work takes place in the Layer panel.

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After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
3h 11m Intermediate Dec 21, 2011 Updated Dec 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Trish and Chris Meyer introduce a series of creative tools inside Adobe After Effects. The centerpiece is Paint, where Trish demonstrates how to use the Brush, Eraser, and Clone Stamp tools to draw on a layer, remove portions of it, or repeat elements around a composition. These tools can be used for artistic purposes as well as to repair problem areas in footage. Chris shows off the Puppet tools for distorting layers, and the incredible Roto Brush, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to separately define foreground and background elements so that you can replace backgrounds and selectively add special effects.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Creating, erasing, and animating brush and clone strokes
  • Using Paint to reveal a layer over time
  • Creating animated distortions to flat artwork with the Puppet tools
  • Replacing backgrounds with the Roto Brush
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Choosing a base frame

Since we want a copy of this actor to appear in front of our new screen, we're going to need to duplicate this background footage so that we have a nice little rotoed out snippet that we could put in front. So I will select the Laptop.mov layer, Cmd+D or Ctrl+D to duplicate it. With it selected, press Return and rename it Actor Roto>Enter and drag it in front of my new Control Panel layer. Next, I need to double-click this layer to open it up in the Layer panel; all Roto Brush work takes place in the Layer panel.

The other set of details that are important is you should be working at 100% magnification or larger, and I'll show you that in a second, and also you should definitely be at full resolution. So once I've verified those settings, I'll go back to my Layer panel and start looking at this actor's movements to determine what might make a good Base Frame. I'm looking for places with a maximum amount of the actor is exposed, and some compromises may be required. For example, this frame nicely shows both his little finger extended and also these gaps between his fingers that's a good starting point, but his other hand, his left hand, is somewhat closed.

I need to go a little bit later in time to get some good gaps between these fingers, so I want to compromise somewhere around here where I see a little bit of that pinky extension on the right but I haven't lost too much of my gap on the left. Just to give you an idea of how I would look for Base Frame's later in this footage, this would not make a good base frame because his hands are almost out of sight. We want to see the maximum amount of foreground that we are going to select, but somewhere around here, where more of his hands are exposed on the left and some good gaps between them are shown. And maybe some around say, there.

Again, where we're getting more of his hands exposed and gaps between the hands to help differentiate between the foreground and the background. But I'm going to go back to this earlier frame and time right around 104 and use this as my Base Frame.

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