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Forums Avid Media Composer Animatte question

  • Animatte question

  • Pepijn Klijs

    June 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm


    I hope I can explain this well, but here we go:

    I want to cut out/mask somebody’s head with an oval shape and place it on top of the picture (background).

    I do this by using the animatte effect. I draw an oval and leave it on ‘key in’ mode. So far, so good.

    But… When I want to change the heads position or size I have a problem. When I alt-drag the 3dwarp effect on top of the head shot with the animatte and try to change its position, also the entire background gets repositioned!

    Can anyone help me out on this? I know how to do it in fcp or ae but I’m sure it can be done staying in Media Composer, I just can’t find out how…


    Editor/Colorist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Mark Spano

    June 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Avid’s effects are recursive. You need to “step in” to the clip you want to apply the repo to. Usually this means parking the play head on the clip, highlighting the track, and hitting the up/down arrows located at the bottom left of the timeline window. Once stepped in, you can see where the animatte effect is and if you drop the resize effect on whichever of these tracks has the source you want to resize, it will not affect everything on tracks below.

    The basic concept of step in / step out can be viewed here

  • Pepijn Klijs

    June 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    [Mark Spano] “You need to “step in” to the clip you want to apply the repo to”

    This will only affect the image inside the mask/animatte, not the animatte itself.

    What I want is to reposistion the oval shape I created with the layer it is on, but not with the layer it is above. Sorry, this is hard to explain in words… I hope you understand.

    Editor/Colorist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Mark Spano

    June 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    For that, I think you might need to nest the effected clip with a submaster, or simply do a video mixdown for the effect and apply the resize to that. I know I’ve done this before, just don’t remember exactly how, but it’s doable.

  • Pepijn Klijs

    June 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks Mark, for the help!

    [Mark Spano] “For that, I think you might need to nest the effected clip with a submaste”
    Tried that already, doesn’t change the way Avid handles its layers. Same problem basically.

    [Mark Spano] “or simply do a video mixdown for the effect and apply the resize to that”

    That is also not an option, cause the mixdown will not contain any alpha info, so you’ll end up with a mask on a black background that you’ll have to crop again, and to crop an oval shape you’ll need the animatte.

    I’m actually beginning to think that there is no way of doing this in the Avid, which sucks pretty big. I wish Avid would have a little button inside the 3d warp or resize effects that says ‘apply to current layer only’, that would solve many issues. I actually remember now that it’s also difficult to use a push wipe on more then one layer. For example, if you try to make a push wipe transition between two shots that have a title on top of them, and you want title to wipe along with the image transition, good luck, I never figured out how to do it and ended up creating mixdowns. I don’t like mixdowns, they ruin the whole point of working on an Avid (media management etc). Sorry for the rant!

    Editor/Colorist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Mark Spano

    June 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Yeah, you’re right. I just tried for a half hour to do it and got equally stuck. I think there are some effects (BCC, Sapphire?) that handle this more elegantly, but for something so seemingly simple, it is sure frustrating. Reading this thread had me thinking it was going to get me on the right track, but every time it affects both V2 and V1. I think it has to do with the fact that AniMatte is creating its own key, and kicking through what’s underneath, so you can’t add another two-input effect and not have it still punch through. I tried the simple Resize on top of the Animatte layer, but it moves the whole frame underneath as well. Hopefully someone else can chime in here.

  • Juris Eksts

    June 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Pepijn
    My solution for this problem is in two stages.
    On V1 put a colour that you will use to colour key your eventual image with.
    On V2 put your image with Animatte, at the largest size that you will use. Either do a video mix down, or make that a sub-master.
    Put that on V2 over the image you want to key onto.
    Put the Spectramatte effect onto the mix-down or sub-master, and key out the colour background. Spectramatte gives you the ability to move and resize that image without affecting the background.
    (If you’ve used the sub-master method, you can go back into the effect to change parameters that you need to.)

  • Pepijn Klijs

    June 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks Juris! Another good solution!

    But reading it also makes me think how badly Avid lacks the ability to do these simple things. It’s a good workaround, but it’s a workaround for soemthing that should be in any NLE these days.


    Editor/Colorist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • John McMullin

    July 23, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I agree, something so basic shouldn’t require a work around. I wish Avid would rewrite their effects interface. I feel they’re stuck with the way they decided to do it 20 years ago.

    But another workaround is to use the paint effect and a matte key:

    1: Layer your background on v1 and your intended foreground on v2

    2: drop a paint effect on v3

    3: In paint, draw your shape in black around the part of the image you want to key over the background.

    4. Still in the same paint effect, draw a white rectangle over the whole image then send it backwards, behind the white shape. You’ll then have an image you can use as a matte key.

    5. Alt drag a matte key effect onto the paint effect on v3 to nest it.

    6. Alter the position properties of the matte key. You will now see the foreground layer moving without affecting the background.

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