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Tracking masks

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Tracking masks

Earlier in this chapter we talked about using a mask to isolate an object on screen for purposes of making a secondary correction here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade, but what we didn't talk about is what happens when that object on screen moves. Of course in the real world objects move around on screen all the time, and in this movie I want to talk about tracking a mask to isolate a moving object on screen. Okay, before we do that let's go ahead and take a look at what's going on with this shot. Down here in my Layers area, you can see that I have three different corrections applied to this shot. And let me use the 0 key on the number pad on my keyboard to toggle the entire grade on and off. Here is the original shot and the corrected shot; the original shot and the corrected shot.

Tracking masks

Earlier in this chapter we talked about using a mask to isolate an object on screen for purposes of making a secondary correction here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade, but what we didn't talk about is what happens when that object on screen moves. Of course in the real world objects move around on screen all the time, and in this movie I want to talk about tracking a mask to isolate a moving object on screen. Okay, before we do that let's go ahead and take a look at what's going on with this shot. Down here in my Layers area, you can see that I have three different corrections applied to this shot. And let me use the 0 key on the number pad on my keyboard to toggle the entire grade on and off. Here is the original shot and the corrected shot; the original shot and the corrected shot.

What I did with this first primary correction was I neutralized that yellow colorcast in the shot, and I also increased the contrast of the shot ever so slightly. Then what I did with these two other primary corrections was I applied a mask to each one, affecting the inside and the outside of the mask that I created. And the result of this was I darkened the edges of the shot ever so slightly and brightened up the center portion of the shot right around this tool that the guy is using to carve out his guitar. Of course I created the mask over here on the Mask tab, and you can see that this is just a simple circular mask around the object or the tool that the guy is using to carve out his guitar.

Now earlier in this chapter when we created a mask, we used a Mask Preset, the Circle Preset right here. That's in fact what I did on this shot as well, but I do want to point out that anytime you can grab any of the control points for the actual shape of the mask or for the softness of the mask, and you can also use these Bezier controls, these guys right here, to adjust the shape of the curve at a particular point. You don't have to just use presets when you're creating a mask. Okay, let me go ahead and scrub through the shot, and you can see that the guy is moving around and the tool is moving around just a little bit, but what is not moving? Well, that's the mask.

The mask is not actually following the tool or the object on screen as it moves around, and I want to remedy that. So the first thing I'm going to do is press the Home key on my keyboard to go back to the beginning of the shot. When you track a mask, you track from wherever your current playhead position is for, and since I want to track the entire shot, I want to go back to the beginning of the shot. Then down here in my Mask controls, there is a button right here called Track Object. Now before I go ahead and click Track Object, I just want to be clear that tracking an object can take a little bit of time depending on the length of the shot and the resolution of your shot, so what we're going to do is begin tracking and then we'll come back after tracking has completed on the shot.

Okay, so the mask has finished tracking. Let me go ahead and grab my playhead and scrub back through this, and now you can see that the mask actually moves with that tool or that object on screen. And you can see what SpeedGrade did here on the track above my actual clip. It applied keyframes and then tweening between those keyframes to follow the object around on screen and to move the mask in the same way that the object moves.

Let me go back to my Look tab here so you don't see the outline of the mask, and then let me scrub through again, and yeah, that's looking pretty good! Okay, so there you go, tracking masks. Tracking masks is a great way to follow an object around screen that you're trying to isolate with a secondary correction. Just avoid the temptation to do it on every single shot, as you can waste valuable time tracking objects. A lot of times you might be able to get away with just increasing the overall size of your mask instead of actually tracking the object. In a lot of cases though, tracking an object is necessary and it's pretty easy to do here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7565 viewers

Robbie Carman
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