Hi! 

I was wondering if anyone could tell me or point me in the direction of a tutorial for animating a matte for rig removal in Adobe Premiere or After Effects? Here's a quickie little test I did of my puppet just to dip my feet into how his rig might work - http://youtu.be/JCu7V7AV19U

I could try wrapping green foam around the rig, but I have also been told that perhaps there is a way to animate a matte around the walking puppet? Any tips you could share would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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In After Effects you can animate masks to hide the rig. Take a look at the tutorials on Video Copilot.

When I looked for AE tutorials I found one on wire removal from Creative Cow, that clones pixels from either side of the wire to match the colour.  That wouldn't work so well with a complex background, over time you would get a sense of something almost invisible moving where the rig used to be.  But against a greenscreen it would work perfectly.  As shown here it draws a straight line between two points, so it may not be so good for that twisty wire rig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLnvwUqABG4

I googled Video Copilot to see if I could find what Scottie was referring to -  a lot there but I didn't find anything on rig removal or masks.   https://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/

But yes, I have heard there is a way to draw a mask and make keyframes in AE so it follows where your rig goes, but I didn't find any tutorials about that.  I am not that good with AE and I pretty well only use it for keying from a greenscreen.  I don't use animated masks, I erase the rig by hand, frame by frame, in TV Paint Animation (a bit like Photoshop but with the whole sequence of images).  I place a clean background shot in a layer underneath, so when I erase the wire on the top layer, the matching part of the background shows through.  With greenscreen, instead of erasing, you can just paint green over the wire, then it should key out with the rest.

I see a possible problem in your test animation - a dark shadow on the greenscreen may be difficult to key out.  And it is probably better not to have the wire go in front of it.  It would be a problem with my method, because the puppet, rig, and shadow are not there in the clean background image.  If I erased the wire in the middle of the shadow, it wold show  the same part of the set, but with no shadow, underneath.  With a greenscreen it would be bright green.  I put my greenscreen much further away so the puppet does not throw a shadow on it.

Try this Tut, which is nice and clear:
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-after-effects-cc/using-the-pen-tool...

When you have created a mask, you can animate it by moving along the timeline until you find a place where the mask does not cover the rig, then add a keyframe and pull the mask out until it covers, then move along a bit more and so on. If you have a layer underneath with the background, then by inverting the mask (so you get rid of what's inside it, not what's outside it), you are cutting through to see the layer underneath, exactly like Photoshop.

My bad, I should've been more specific about Video Copilot. The tutorial titles suggest what the end result will be, but each one covers a huge amount of AE tips, tricks, tools and effects. Andrew Kramer covers animated masks in a number of tutorials, for example, about a minute into the Light Saber tutorial: https://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/light_sabers/


StopmoNick said:

When I looked for AE tutorials I found one on wire removal from Creative Cow, that clones pixels from either side of the wire to match the colour.  That wouldn't work so well with a complex background, over time you would get a sense of something almost invisible moving where the rig used to be.  But against a greenscreen it would work perfectly.  As shown here it draws a straight line between two points, so it may not be so good for that twisty wire rig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLnvwUqABG4

I googled Video Copilot to see if I could find what Scottie was referring to -  a lot there but I didn't find anything on rig removal or masks.   https://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/

But yes, I have heard there is a way to draw a mask and make keyframes in AE so it follows where your rig goes, but I didn't find any tutorials about that.  I am not that good with AE and I pretty well only use it for keying from a greenscreen.  I don't use animated masks, I erase the rig by hand, frame by frame, in TV Paint Animation (a bit like Photoshop but with the whole sequence of images).  I place a clean background shot in a layer underneath, so when I erase the wire on the top layer, the matching part of the background shows through.  With greenscreen, instead of erasing, you can just paint green over the wire, then it should key out with the rest.

I see a possible problem in your test animation - a dark shadow on the greenscreen may be difficult to key out.  And it is probably better not to have the wire go in front of it.  It would be a problem with my method, because the puppet, rig, and shadow are not there in the clean background image.  If I erased the wire in the middle of the shadow, it wold show  the same part of the set, but with no shadow, underneath.  With a greenscreen it would be bright green.  I put my greenscreen much further away so the puppet does not throw a shadow on it.

This is great, thank you Simon! I still have a lot to learn in After Effects, but this looks like it's the closest to what I want to try out.

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Try this Tut, which is nice and clear:
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-after-effects-cc/using-the-pen-tool...

When you have created a mask, you can animate it by moving along the timeline until you find a place where the mask does not cover the rig, then add a keyframe and pull the mask out until it covers, then move along a bit more and so on. If you have a layer underneath with the background, then by inverting the mask (so you get rid of what's inside it, not what's outside it), you are cutting through to see the layer underneath, exactly like Photoshop.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm still in the very early stages of experimentation with this puppet. I did a VERY rough test walking the puppet through my in progress set, and seeing what it might look like if I wrapped the rig in green. http://youtu.be/pyR8_eSYe8U Of course, I bumped the set towards the end so things don't line up, haha! Also, I didn't pay very much attention to the lighting, but I see now what the challenges are of using chroma key and a rig. 

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