Masking the Lightning Effect

Hiker
Hiker Website User Posts: 11
Hey all. This was originally posted in the "Cheap Laser" thread, but I figured this is more of a masking question than a comment on laser effects, so here we go...
As is the wont of many new VFX hobbyists, I'm working on a Star Wars homage. Light sabers, force lightning, lasers, etc.
I'm using the "cheap laser" lightning effect for a Jedi/bounty hunter duel. It's been super easy and fun up to this point, but now I have hit a snag.
I'm at a point where the bounty hunter goes nuts with rapid fire, and laser beams go everywhere. I want some of them to pass behind the actors, to add a little impression of depth. The problem is, I can't seem to mask out the laser.
Subtract mask on the plane with the "laser" doesn't cut out the effect. I've tried converting the layer to a composite shot and that doesn't do the job either. If I mask it out in the composite shot, it just becomes a black area when overlaid in the original shot.
Later on there's also a few shots using the regular "force lightning" effect where I will have to mask out the foreground actor's hands and head as he fires into the background. Haven't gotten to those yet, but now I am worried about it.
Am I doing something wrong, or is the lightning effect just not maskable at all? Still getting my head around the way the software works, and this is kind of boggling me. Feels like I'm missing something really obvious.

Comments

  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,247 Staff
    Duplicate the footage layer, place the copy above the effects, then use masks to isolate the people or objects that are meant to be in front of the lasers/lighting. Since this layer actually is in front of them now, you are good to go.
    The other option is to get the effects et up, convert the layer to a comp, and then add masks to the comp, not to the layers within the comp. So you have a timeline with your footage, and the effects. You comp the effects, and now you have a second timeline, containing just the effects. Close that one, and return to the original timeline, which now contains the footage and the effects comp, and add your masks to the effects comp there.
  • Hiker
    Hiker Website User Posts: 11

    The other option is to get the effects et up, convert the layer to a comp, and then add masks to the comp, not to the layers within the comp. So you have a timeline with your footage, and the effects. You comp the effects, and now you have a second timeline, containing just the effects. Close that one, and return to the original timeline, which now contains the footage and the effects comp, and add your masks to the effects comp there.
    This part confuses me. Let me see if I grasp this. In the new composite shot made from my laser layer, I need to make a mask, meaning I make another layer as a mask. I am assuming it would be a new black plane, set to subtract. I then draw the mask on that layer, lay the composite shot over the original, turn off my original effect layers, and I am good to go?
    I thought that I had done that before, maybe I just had the settings wrong. Will give it a shot later when I am back at home.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,247 Staff
    Nope, no new layer. And you don't create the Mask inside the comp, you apply it TO the comp.
    Let's say you have a timeline called JEDI BATTLE, which is set up like this:
    Comp: JEDI BATTLE
    Layer 2: PLANE (this is the layer containing laser effects)
    Layer 1: FOOTAGE (this is the layer containing the video of your actors)
    Now, what you want to do is right-click the PLANE layer, and Make it a Comp. This will open a new timeline, for a composite shot called PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT) which now contains the plane layer. So now you have two timelines open, JEDI BATTLE IS THE FIRST ONE, AND PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT) is the second. Now, close the PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT) timeline, and you are left with your original comp, which now looks like this:
    Comp: JEDI BATTLE
    Layer 2: PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT)
    Layer 1: FOOTAGE
    Now, add the masks to the PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT) layer. Make sense?
  • Hiker
    Hiker Website User Posts: 11

    Nope, no new layer. And you don't create the Mask inside the comp, you apply it TO the comp.
    This is the part I'm stuck on. What's the difference?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,247 Staff
    So all those diagrams I did in my last post didn't help? They are all specifically showing what the difference is. Or at least they were meant to be.
    Inside the comp, you have the PLANE layer. But that comp itself IS a layer, in the JEDI BATTLE comp. The comp is a layer called (PLANE (COMPOSITE SHOT), and that is the layer you want to apply the mask to.
    The plane comp exists both as its own timeline, and as a layer inside of another timeline.
  • NullUnit
    NullUnit Website User Posts: 791 Just Starting Out
  • Hiker
    Hiker Website User Posts: 11
    Okay... I've got it now. Not sure what I was doing before but now I've got something working. Sorry to waste your time. :)
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,247 Staff
    Awesome, glad you got it working now. We are here to help, so don't feel like you are wasting our time. :)
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