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  • Workflow advice for simple animation

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 1, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I’m looking for suggestions for a workflow to recreate the animated red dots from this video.

    Ultimately I need a video (30fps, mov (h264), 720 × 392) showing the dots only with a transparent background. The original footage I’ll be working with will have red dots, more opaque than this, with no outline, which is as I’d like them to finally appear too. I will then use it to layer it in Premiere.

    I could import a still red dot asset into Premiere then individually animate each dot using keyframes and scale and position alterations but this would take me about 100 hours, so I’m here looking for alternative workflows. I thought perhaps there might be a way to isolate the red pixels from the background for example?

    I’m posting this on the After Effects forum, as this is my preferred software since I have it and know it a little, but if anyone has any suggestions of other software I’m open to that too.

    Btw I’m an experienced editor but an After Effects novice, just starting to learn masking and 2D animation techniques.


  • Oki Pienandoro

    June 2, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Your vimeo example is on private/password protected.

    Sorry for the english, not native speaker.

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 2, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Security settings changed – thanks for letting me know!

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks Dave. Yes good point, I’ll go with pngs.
    I am working at 30fps at the moment – all other footage and sequence settings are that framerate – the export settings will be determined by the exhibition specs.

  • John Cuevas

    June 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Little confused, does the video that you will be working on already have dots, or do you just want a technique for creating random dots that fade in and out?

    Johnny Cuevas, Editor

    “I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
    —THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 3, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Dave, Thanks again. You’ll have to trust me I know what I’m doing with the specs – I’m not really wanting to go into that side of things here as it is convoluted.
    Thanks for the suggestion re animation: Happily I am capable of doing that process, however with the number of dots it would still take me about 100 hours – so I’m looking for workflows that may, for example enable me to pull out all the blue and dispose of the rest so only the dots remain, rather than re-animating each dot – any ideas?

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Hey John – sorry if the description was confusing. That is the video I’m working with so yes it does have dots, but basically I want is to separate these exact dots from the background footage. The end result will be a video with the dots only, and a transparent background, no background footage. I’m hoping to find a workflow that saves me from re-animating the dots individually as this will take a long time. Any suggestions appreciated!

  • Andrea Rassell

    June 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Hmmm, there are over 3000 dots and I don’t have the time to use this technique on them individually. The positioning isn’t a problem. I have been playing with keying though and have found I can key out the blue then invert it. Now I just need to figure out the best way to re-colour the dots to 100% opacity red. I think what I need to figure out how to do now is:
    use the black pixels (created during keying = the background image) to create a mask of the dots
    make what was the blue dots transparent
    put a red solid layer underneath
    but then how would I get the non-red pixels to be transparent when I export from AE?

    Maybe there’s a better way? I’m also playing with the shift channels effect atm, after ruling out a few of the other Keying effects (extract, difference etc) to see if I can simply extract the blue in the video.

  • John Cuevas

    June 7, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Are the dots a single color, if so you can create a key that dials in that color to isolate the dots. Then just invert the key. There a number of keyers in AE that can do the trick.

    Johnny Cuevas, Editor

    “I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
    —THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

  • Blaise Douros

    June 7, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Nobody is being very clear here, so let me reiterate what the good people of this forum are struggling to articulate: the cleanest method to export a file so that the background is transparent is to animate the dots over a completely empty background. Then, export the video using a codec that supports an embedded alpha channel, which is a channel responsible for transparency.

    The Animation codec will do this, as will ProRes 4444, and Uncompressed. In fact, here’s a list of a bunch of codecs that will do this:

    Then you won’t need to do any keying, which would be inaccurate, especially when the dots are fading in and out. Alpha transparency will allow you to simply put the video on top of whatever the background needs to be…and the transparency is built into the video image.

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