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Choosing a base frame

From: After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

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.

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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