Masking help

Hi there, this is supposed to be pretty simple, but I just can't seem to get it working for some reason (I did at one point but I tried repeating the steps but with no luck).
Anyway, the effect I was trying to achieve is a character dodging some laser beams being shot off some laser gun, but I want one of the beams to go behind the character. I used a plane and the Electricity effect to create the laser beams (as per Axel's tutorial on creating laser bolts). The laser beam plane layer is on top of the video layer, otherwise the laser beam won't be visible.
So I thought it would be as simple as masking the character on the video layer so that as the beam flies across him, it "disappears" giving the illusion that it has gone behind him. However when I put the mask on, the beam stays there! (ie no effect). Why is this?
Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • Ok I figured it out. But I had one problem.
    Prior to turning the shot into a composite shot, I applied Auto Color to the stock video to make it look a bit different from the original video. When I created the composite shot, I brought that effect along. So now, when I applied the mask, it showed the original colour in the mask area so you can clearly see the outline (blend mode is Add). If I changed the blend mode to say Subtract or Intersect, it would change the colour back but the beam would be visible in front of the character again.
    So right now, the only solution for me is to disable/remove the Auto Color effect altogether. But is there a way to still apply some sort of color correction after all this?
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,299 Power User
    First, take a look at the "Masking in Hitfilm" tutorial. Make certain you're brushed up on the controls. Second, you can mask the laser layer to hide bolts instead of the video layer, which should remove changes to the color grade.
  • Thanks for your reply, Triem23. I have watched that tutorial and I have done masking before, but for some reason I'm just stumped here. Before I posted the question, I actually did try masking the laser layer first but for some strange reason, nothing happened. The laser was still visible. I even tried inverting and that didn't do anything, either.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    If you want to make the bolt appear to be behind the actor, you need to mask the bolt, not the footage.  You need to create a mask on the plane that contains the bolt, and which aligns with your actor, so that the bolt disappears when it should be behind the actor.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,299 Power User
    There is one other option, but it's a little silly. You COULD try duplicating your video layer, placing that over the bolts and use masking to reveal only the part of that layer that occludes the bolts. Without seeing the project, I don't know exactly what is happening, but masking the bolt layer should have worked.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    Triem23 - that isn't silly at all.  In fact, if you are working with 3D layers, that is pretty much the standard way to approach the mask.  
  • Triem23, I actually ended up doing that (duplicating the video layer and putting it on top of the bolt layer).
    Hi Axel, I tried masking the plane that contains the bolt but nothing happened. Any idea why?
    I thought I might've mucked something up while working on the project so I started again to see if the problem persisted. Well it did.
    As a test, I had a plane on top of the video layer. I added Clouds and Radio Waves to that plane. First the Cloud is active and the Radio Waves is disabled. Then I masked the plane by drawing an outline of the actor. The masked part of the actor now "becomes" the cloud (the actor is behind the cloud). If I inverted the mask, I would achieve the intended result (ie the actor is visible, the cloud is behind the actor).
    Now the Radio Waves on the other hand just refused to do anything (nothing changed). So why is this? Both effects are on the same plane. I even disabled the Clouds to see if anything changed but nope.
    So I must've missed something major here....
    Thanks very much again guys.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,299 Power User
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVvulb3Y-v4
    This is a Simon Jones tutorial on a trick for embedding masks in a comp shot. Don't know if it applies to your issue.
    @Axel--silly was a bad adjective. It's workflow preference, I guess. I would usually mask the bolt layer first, because to my mind masking on the bolt layer is faster, easier and less resource intensive than creating another layer and masking that. ;-) But, sometimes you need that duplicate.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,299 Power User
    Hmmm... New thought, new post. Axel, what's the "order of operations" in Hitfilm? Are masks applied pre or post fx? Vegas Pro allows one to shift where masking goes in an fx chain (so I could create a clip, generate clouds, mask them, then put a glow AFTER the mask, and all in one clip). Vegas and Hitfilm are fundamentally different in workflow, mind you, but could Hitfilm's internal order of operations be affecting this composite?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    Feast your eyes on this: http://hitfilmtips.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/tip-render-order/
    Neil, one of our developers, breaks down the render order of pretty much everything there on his blog.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast
    Triem - the main benefit of having a duplicate layer for the mask is if you're using a multi-layered approach for the laser. Say you have the laser, plus a separate glow, plus some kind of particle fuzz coming off it, plus extra composited lighting, etc etc...if those are all separate layers you can either copy and paste the mask across all the layers (which is a pain if you then have to change it for some reason), or just use a single duplicate foreground layer.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,299 Power User
    @Axel. My, that's useful techie-info! Thanks.

    @Simon. I see your point (hence, my "usually" mask bolt, above)... Although (depending on the shot) laser/glow/particle fuzz could be combined into an embedded comp and masked. ;-) One of the fun and neat things about composites and VFX is how there are usually at LEAST two ways to go about any visual fx challenge.
  • J.A.A.
    J.A.A. Posts: 49
    Hi,
    Is it posible  on hitfilm2 ultimate to make the face  change , let say you want to make the ears or nose long or make the face kind of freaky?
    I am not sure what you call it but i  have seen people doing it on Adobe AE .Thanks
  • Gino East
    Gino East Posts: 2
    edited February 2014

    Hello all, 
     


    Axel Wilkinson
     

    Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:04 AM Link to post
    If you want to make the bolt appear to be behind the actor, you need to mask the bolt, not the footage.  You need to create a mask on the plane that contains the bolt, and which aligns with your actor, so that the bolt disappears when it should be behind the actor.


    I am totally confused on this process... I have watched the "Masking Tutorial" at least 40 times and I just can't get what I'm doing wrong..I feel like such a moron. The tutorial is great at explaining the concept of masking and the steps at drawing a mask, but I get totally lost when it comes to making the mask I've created, actually work. 
    I was able to add a firework effect (from an outside media clip- firework with a black background) onto my video footage, create a mask around the foreground subject so the firework looks like it is in the distance...it looks good (see 1st attachment). Then I wanted to add a light flare from the HitFilm effects folder, on top of the firework. I tried adding it to the firework composite shot, hoping that the masking I already created would also work with the flare...didn't work. I created a new plane and made a new mask on that ...didn't work..the settings look like I have them the same for both, so why wouldn't it work the same ? (see 2nd  attachment).  Please, please help...I'm losing my mind.
    Thanks,
    Gino

  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    If you look in the Controls panel, you will notice that Effects are listed after masks.  Because masks are calculated before effects for any given layer.  If you want to add the effect before the mask, so that the mask alters the effect, then place the effect inside the composite.  
    You have already done this with the firework, and the concept is the same with the flare.  By having the firework inside the comp, and applying a mask to the comp, the visible area of the firework is altered.  You need to put the flare in the comp as well (I'd add it to a grade layer), then the same mask will define its visible area.
  • Gino East
    Gino East Posts: 2
    edited February 2014
    Thanks Axel. 
    So I did have the right idea! -- " If you want to add the effect before the mask, so that the mask alters the effect, then place the effect inside the composite."-- I was just trying to drop the flare into the wrong composite shot.. which made all the difference in the world! 
    My brain was fried after so many failed attempts at trying to figure it out..I'm glad such fantastic help is just a post away.

    Gino