Hi all, I have been trying out Stop Motion Studio on the iPad/iPod which is a great app. I'd like to try green screen but I'm not quite sure where to start with it. Does anyone know of a good tutorial?

Also, this is our first animation:

https://stimsonstopmotion.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/pac-man-the-movie/

And this is how we made it..

https://stimsonstopmotion.wordpress.com/making-of-pac-man/

I hope it's useful to someone just starting out, and I would love to get any feedback on from some experienced animators.

Cheers,
Richard.

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There are a few video tutorials on Youtube.  Here is one for doing green screen with iMovie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q64NAQsoUZg

In general principles -

I start with a big piece of green cloth on the wall, and light it as evenly as possible.  You will be telling the keying software to remove anything green so you end up with a clear background.  Usually you can pick how many shades of green to remove.   The more different shades of green you need to remove, from highlights and areas where the light falls off, or from shadows cast on the green cloth, or from folds and wrinkles, the harder it is to avoid making parts of the puppet disappear because they might be just a little bit greenish.

Then, I have my puppets and set a metre or more in front of that, so the lights for the green backdrop don't hit the puppets, and the lights for the puppets don't hit the background.  I avoid green colours in the set and puppets.  Making sure they are not too close to the backcloth helps avoid green light bouncing back onto them and making them greenish.

Then I use After Effects to key out the green area to see through to the layer underneath where I have the background image.  So I can't give any tips for using iMovie, since I don't use that myself.   But maybe some of the tutorials will help.

Hi Nick

Thank you for the advice and the vid. I'll give it a try. Have you ever used Stop Motion Studio? IT appears to be fairly similar, but it would be good if there any specific tips with this app.

Cheers

Richard.


StopmoNick said:

There are a few video tutorials on Youtube.  Here is one for doing green screen with iMovie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q64NAQsoUZg

In general principles -

I start with a big piece of green cloth on the wall, and light it as evenly as possible.  You will be telling the keying software to remove anything green so you end up with a clear background.  Usually you can pick how many shades of green to remove.   The more different shades of green you need to remove, from highlights and areas where the light falls off, or from shadows cast on the green cloth, or from folds and wrinkles, the harder it is to avoid making parts of the puppet disappear because they might be just a little bit greenish.

Then, I have my puppets and set a metre or more in front of that, so the lights for the green backdrop don't hit the puppets, and the lights for the puppets don't hit the background.  I avoid green colours in the set and puppets.  Making sure they are not too close to the backcloth helps avoid green light bouncing back onto them and making them greenish.

Then I use After Effects to key out the green area to see through to the layer underneath where I have the background image.  So I can't give any tips for using iMovie, since I don't use that myself.   But maybe some of the tutorials will help.

Sorry, never used Stopmotion Studio.  I don't use the iPad for animation at all.  I animate with a Canon DSLR connected to a computer with a framegrabber like Stop Motion Pro or Dragonframe.  Trouble is, I did my starting out so long ago (on film), the stuff I used then is all obsolete, and I am not so familiar with cheap beginner's software that you would use today.  Google or search on Youtube for terms like Stop Motion Studio Greenscreen and see if anything comes up.

Ok thanks Nick.

Hey Nick, I been looking up GREEN SCREEN stuff lately.. and done some tests... I watched one YouTube video today and they said that the subject should be 10 / 15 feet away from the green screen, it's different for stopmotion right.. doesn't have to be that far away.. you would have to have such a big space to work that out.. I can barely get my animation 9xft away - what I really wanted to ask, haven't found anything so far, is what is the best background for the green screen?  cloth, muslim, or paper, or why not just paint the wall, if you can do that.. I could do that, in fact I did try spraying the wall green, and it works fine, just not big enough, so why are so many people using the cloth, is there a reason why it's preferred to having a solid painted wall  - baring in mind that wrinkles and folds and loose cloth causes problems right.. and what shade of green, does it even matter... I used a can of GLOSS MEADOW GREEN off amazon... never again, it went everywhere, I had a fine dust of green over all the surfaces in my whole flat.. some of the crazy things we do hey... 



StopmoNick said:

There are a few video tutorials on Youtube.  Here is one for doing green screen with iMovie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q64NAQsoUZg

In general principles -

I start with a big piece of green cloth on the wall, and light it as evenly as possible.  You will be telling the keying software to remove anything green so you end up with a clear background.  Usually you can pick how many shades of green to remove.   The more different shades of green you need to remove, from highlights and areas where the light falls off, or from shadows cast on the green cloth, or from folds and wrinkles, the harder it is to avoid making parts of the puppet disappear because they might be just a little bit greenish.

Then, I have my puppets and set a metre or more in front of that, so the lights for the green backdrop don't hit the puppets, and the lights for the puppets don't hit the background.  I avoid green colours in the set and puppets.  Making sure they are not too close to the backcloth helps avoid green light bouncing back onto them and making them greenish.

Then I use After Effects to key out the green area to see through to the layer underneath where I have the background image.  So I can't give any tips for using iMovie, since I don't use that myself.   But maybe some of the tutorials will help.

10 to 15 feet, that would be for full size actors!  My set would be outside my studio if it was that far away from the backing.

I have used green paint on card, that worked ok.  I once tried some green vinyl because there was a 3 ft wide roll of it lying around, but it was a sort of satin sheen, and it reflected the light in hot spots.  I fixed that by putting a polarising filter on the camera, but it is best to keep it matte.  So matte wall paint, applied to card, canvas, or the wall with a roller is good.

Currently I have a big piece of fabric stapled onto my backdrop frame.  It is a brushed cotton cloth called  Molton (aka Duvetyne), cut from a 3 metre wide roll, and came from a theatrical supplier.  Also comes in blue, white, and black, but the blue looks a bit dull, not as bright as the green.   I got a 2 metre length but have cut some off the bottom to use on a platform for the puppet.  But that looked several shades lighter, so I ended up mixing paint to a darker shade of green than the backcloth, in order to make it look roughly the same on camera.

After Effects has a built-in plugin called Keylight that I use for the keying.  It is good with edges, you can expand the edge of the keyed area by a couple of pixels, and then soften the edge a touch, which is important because you tend to get a 2 pixel border of mixed colour around the edge of the puppet with a DSLR.  AE also can grey any slightly greenish bits left over on the puppet.  It is still best to have even lighting on the green screen and very un-green colours on the puppet, but in the hands of an expert like Peter Montgomery (but not me) some fairly dodgy shots can be fixed.  I have to read my notes again every time I use AE, somehow it doesn't think like I do and I have to re-learn every time, so I can't offer more detail without finding those notes. 

https://youtu.be/1K9jEimni1E 

Much love my feloow animators

I left a comment on your YOUTUBE link ok.. excellent.. well done.. 

thanks for all your feedback Nick..   I understood everything you said... I read that it all started with BLUE screen, because BLUE is the opposite of RED tones in humans.. but DSLR's nowadays are more sensitive to Green, that's why we switched to GreenScreen.. if that's right... I have heard of KEYLIGHT in AfterEffects... haven't made the time to use ADOBE yet... I wish I can apply myself more balanced.. there's so much to learn isn't there... Yeah I'm learning about the issues with the edges.. I can relate now.. I now about that on FCP.. I guess that's why the green screen should be so far away from the subject, and lit separately and evenly, so there's no spill is that what they call it.. makes sense..  I can relate to the re-reading the notes on using software lol.. it can be such a nightmare at times... I seem to be getting better at certain things.. like using FCP to edit.. I'm like a whiz on there now.. I noticed.. it's all more natural for me.. but stick me on PS or AE of any of them omg I'm a nightmare atm.. need time to learn it all.. I really want to keep more my focus on doing physical stuff. animating and green screen work now.. so much room for creativity here.. but learning software is necessary.. just have to be more disciplined I guess.. I do enjoy it, just not as much as other things.. maybe because of the frustration associated with learning new software...  

on a totally different issue here..can I ask what's your view if any on connecting up devices.. like your DSLR or HD's for storage / backup / external monitors or anything else to your MAC.. do you have any connection issues.. I'm having issues atm.. I'm just wondering what the idea setup would be, I know it depends on what Mac or pc you have, and so on.. but Apple changed all the connections didn't they.. with thunderbolt 3 or usb c I have to use this external hub to connect all my leads.. camera.. 2xHD's.. monitor.. sd card from the camera..etc... and it's saying I'm not ejecting the drives all the time.. so I'm sending it back but wondering what device or setup I should go for next.. should I buy 3xapple usb-C to usb2or3 or another hub like the one I had 11 in 1 usb c hub.. it's really making me stressed.. not knowing if my files are saving properly now.. we can all get ourselves into such a disorganises state so easily with files right... it's like a paper trail.. I can't keep track of what I got so far.. and it's only going to get worst, starting to do all these video effects using adobe and FCP.. can you relate to this issue... 

re-learning the software can be frustrating too.. I can relate to that.. 


StopmoNick said:

10 to 15 feet, that would be for full size actors!  My set would be outside my studio if it was that far away from the backing.

I have used green paint on card, that worked ok.  I once tried some green vinyl because there was a 3 ft wide roll of it lying around, but it was a sort of satin sheen, and it reflected the light in hot spots.  I fixed that by putting a polarising filter on the camera, but it is best to keep it matte.  So matte wall paint, applied to card, canvas, or the wall with a roller is good.

Currently I have a big piece of fabric stapled onto my backdrop frame.  It is a brushed cotton cloth called  Molton (aka Duvetyne), cut from a 3 metre wide roll, and came from a theatrical supplier.  Also comes in blue, white, and black, but the blue looks a bit dull, not as bright as the green.   I got a 2 metre length but have cut some off the bottom to use on a platform for the puppet.  But that looked several shades lighter, so I ended up mixing paint to a darker shade of green than the backcloth, in order to make it look roughly the same on camera.

After Effects has a built-in plugin called Keylight that I use for the keying.  It is good with edges, you can expand the edge of the keyed area by a couple of pixels, and then soften the edge a touch, which is important because you tend to get a 2 pixel border of mixed colour around the edge of the puppet with a DSLR.  AE also can grey any slightly greenish bits left over on the puppet.  It is still best to have even lighting on the green screen and very un-green colours on the puppet, but in the hands of an expert like Peter Montgomery (but not me) some fairly dodgy shots can be fixed.  I have to read my notes again every time I use AE, somehow it doesn't think like I do and I have to re-learn every time, so I can't offer more detail without finding those notes. 

Hi James,

I have no problems connecting my DSLRs (Canon 40d and 7d) to either my old 2008 Mac Pro or my not quite as old 2013 iMac.  They don't use USB C, just the old USB ports.  But a lot of devices need to connect directly to the computer, they don't like to plug into the  port on the side of the keyboard or into a hub.  And there are never enough ports.  

Backup drives: My old PC died 2 years ago, it was what I did most of my animation on, but I wasn't worried because I had backed it up to a portable hard drive.  But late last year I plugged it in and found it had died, and couldn't be recovered.  So that's all the HD files of my animation from 5 years or more ago, gone forever.  So now I am backing up twice, onto 2 seperate drives, especially files on the old Mac because a couple of drives on it have failed and been replaced (it has 4 internal drives) and it is showing signs that it may be getting weary of life on this plane of existence.  So you can't have too many backups.  As well as the standard back-up-the-computer, I also just copy folders full of image files onto a portable drive.  Then I usually open one or two of them to make sure they read ok.  They can also be opened on another computer to check them, if you aren't sure your files are saving correctly.

But neither of my computers is completely up to date so I don't know about anything after USB2 really.  The macs do have Lightning ports I think, but I've never used them.  No devices that connect via lightning.  Never connected a second monitor either.

I have some green screen shots coming up for a little Ray Harryhausen 100th birthday tribute I've been making stuff for, for the past 2 weeks.  3 puppets of similar size need to appear as 3 very different sizes so they will have to be animated individually and composited.  So that means I'll be re-learning how to key in AE again, probably next week.  Oh joy.  The last composite i did  (a wolf) was Frontlight-Backlight, and I didn't need to use AE for that, so I didn't.  

I did enjoy my first day of animating today, so that part of it was good.  Every time I checked the clock, after about 10 minutes I thought, an hour had passed, so I was in the zone. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07VQMP152/ref=ox_sc_saved_titl...

Hi Nick, thanks for explaining all that.. and sharing.. I realise today that it's just the one HD WD Elements that has issues connecting to my AZDOME usb - C HUB.. I got that device connected directly now using a proper apple lead not a cheap one.. and it's fine haven't had that eject warning message since... strange... so I'm wondering now wheat I should keep the HUB - because it is convenient having it underneath the laptop with all the leads out the back.. I got my Mac powerlead, my dslr, my 8TB HD for timemachine. my HDMI for external monitor.. so I got extended display, which is great, and my sd card, all in there.. and they all fine.. it's just when I plug the two HD's in the same time.. this hub is £80, not a cheap one.. the reviews were excellent on amazon.. and the apple leads are £16 each.. so they not cheap but I could connect the two HD drives and the Camera that way, but I will still lose my HDMI display and my sd Card reader.. 

did you know that iCloud Drive isn't a back up for your files and folders.. it's designed for sharing between your devices.. and if your device got lost or stolen, everything is archived so you can put it back onto your computer.. so it is backing everything up but not for daily use... like I wanted to get one of my FCP library's off there, because I couldn't access the file on my HD because the connection issues lately.. and FCP wouldn't access the library from the iCloud.. it told me to save it to a local location.. I think Adobe Creative Cloud works differently.. 

and I'm so sorry to hear that you lost 5xyears of HD data.. that sucks.. I do the double back thing now like you.. but it can make you feel like you have to back up the back up and repeat lol.. how many backups are necessary.. photographers for example, in the old days didn't think this way did they.. seems like since we all gone digital they getting us to become more ocd.. I don't know... 

owe you been busy bee doing the puppets for the tribute.. that's so cool..  fun and games with AE next week hey.. yeah me too when I make the time to do it.. or commit. at moment I'm trying to set up for GREEN SCREEN.. done a lot of research yesterday and Simon T. helped - some people are totally against the cloth, and saying painting the wall is best.. but not just any paint.. got to be the right shade of bright green.. one expert said get a piece of  the foam backed material they sell which is really expensive to use, and take that sample to your paint mixing shop and get them to mix up to that shade.. I almost bought this £180 chroma key foldaway wrinkle free roller thing on a stand with gas powered extending arms to lift it up.. but expensive and I wanted just a little bit bigger.. to take it upto the ceiling and wall to wall..

- Luxburg 220x200cm Pro portable Green Backdrop, Chromakey Background for Photo, Video, Live Game, Virtual

Studio..https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07VQMP152/ref=ox_sc_saved_titl...

people are saying it's amazing.. would you buy something like this... ??

although no good to get your feet in there, if your doing any live acting in front of it.. it is restrictive..

James.

StopmoNick said:

Hi James,

I have no problems connecting my DSLRs (Canon 40d and 7d) to either my old 2008 Mac Pro or my not quite as old 2013 iMac.  They don't use USB C, just the old USB ports.  But a lot of devices need to connect directly to the computer, they don't like to plug into the  port on the side of the keyboard or into a hub.  And there are never enough ports.  

Backup drives: My old PC died 2 years ago, it was what I did most of my animation on, but I wasn't worried because I had backed it up to a portable hard drive.  But late last year I plugged it in and found it had died, and couldn't be recovered.  So that's all the HD files of my animation from 5 years or more ago, gone forever.  So now I am backing up twice, onto 2 seperate drives, especially files on the old Mac because a couple of drives on it have failed and been replaced (it has 4 internal drives) and it is showing signs that it may be getting weary of life on this plane of existence.  So you can't have too many backups.  As well as the standard back-up-the-computer, I also just copy folders full of image files onto a portable drive.  Then I usually open one or two of them to make sure they read ok.  They can also be opened on another computer to check them, if you aren't sure your files are saving correctly.

But neither of my computers is completely up to date so I don't know about anything after USB2 really.  The macs do have Lightning ports I think, but I've never used them.  No devices that connect via lightning.  Never connected a second monitor either.

I have some green screen shots coming up for a little Ray Harryhausen 100th birthday tribute I've been making stuff for, for the past 2 weeks.  3 puppets of similar size need to appear as 3 very different sizes so they will have to be animated individually and composited.  So that means I'll be re-learning how to key in AE again, probably next week.  Oh joy.  The last composite i did  (a wolf) was Frontlight-Backlight, and I didn't need to use AE for that, so I didn't.  

I did enjoy my first day of animating today, so that part of it was good.  Every time I checked the clock, after about 10 minutes I thought, an hour had passed, so I was in the zone. 

That backdrop looks good.  To put yourself in front of it  you would need to stand on a green platform to raise your feet up above the black bits at the bottom I guess.  But if it is only 2 metres high, and that may be total height, not green area, once you get a couple of metres in front of it, it may not be big enough.  My cloth would work if I turned it 90 degrees and used the 3 metres for height, but set up for animation it just goes about 300mm below the table height.

You don't need the exact shade of green.  ideally I guess it would be something that comes up on screen as RGB R-0, G-155, B-0 so it's all the green,  but I've had it yellowish in the lighting, or bluish from using a couple of compact fluoro lights to light it, and if it is evenly lit and the puppet is not greenish, it works.  I mixed up some green paint by eye for the big card I used before I got the cloth, and that was fine.

The cloth is nice and matte, which is good.  But it also has a coarse texture which can just be seen when working in puppet scale.  It wouldn't show when shooting live actors, because then it would be further from camera.  So that introduces little variations, much like noise.  Though nowhere near as speckledy as the noise as I got when testing Stop Motion Studio with my iPad camera, but even that could be keyed in AE.

I keep finding Apple has found a way to make 3rd party cables not work, that worked before I upgraded the OS.  So it's not surprising that getting the genuine Apple cable helped, they do like to keep you locked in to their overpriced accessories.  

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