Big Head / Bobblehead effect?

chanequebec Website User Posts: 8 Just Starting Out

Hello everybody. I have been tinkering with Hitfilm Express for some time and while I'm still learning how to use its many features, there's a particular effect I'm interested in creating which involves a cartoony character in a fantasy setting, said character is tiny and has an oversized head. I have seen a few video tutorials to achieve this in After Effects (see picture below) but none in Hitfilm, which I find a bit odd.

What I've been trying is: Import the green screen footage with my costumed actor, then duplicate that layer, put it on top and mask his body away. Finally, go to scale under 'transform' and change the head size. The result is pretty much the appearance of a costumed mascot or Funko Pop figure and its looks quite decent because the actor is standing still or simply nodding, so everything stays in place.

However, when attempting to do a scene with even the slightest of movement (such as taking a couple steps), the enlarged head 'goes off the rails' revealing the smaller head of the layer below, therefore ruining the effect. The only workaround I've found is through extensive keyframing, repositioning and mask editing, which is time consuming and makes it look forced and unrealistic.

Can I achieve this in a faster, simpler way? All I need is the big head at the top layer to stay glued to the neck of the smaller body at the bottom layer as it moves. I'm still not too familiar with the use of Planes or the tracking feature, will those help? Thanks in advance!

Best Answer

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,826 Ambassador
    Accepted Answer

    No need to go the AE trial route (Re-installing and re-installing an AE trial under a series of different accounts is, morally, theft, btw).

    You'll start by tracking your actor footage. Usually a 2-point track over the eyes. Once the footage is tracked you'll right click on the footage and select "Duplicate." On the top copy use the "Stablilze" function so that the footage stays centered in frame by the eyes. This will be the copy you mask to head only. You'll also right click this layer and "Make Composite Shot" while moving all Effects and Masks.

    Now you'll create a point layer, return to the original tracked copy of the footage, and apply the tracking information to the point layer.

    Finally, you'll take your Enlarged Head Comp-layer, move it into position for the first frame of the video, then parent it to the point layer. Now your Bobble head should move correctly in relation to the body layer.


  • krishd3
    krishd3 Website User Posts: 52 Enthusiast
    edited May 30

    Talking about Hitfilm I only know 2 ways, the Mocha pro Addon way it would track the masks and there are several tutorials for it, then after tracking the masks and exporting the face separately, you are free to do any thing with the head or the 2nd way is to just follow tutorials on Hitfilm motion tracking which does not support masks tracking. (I am maybe not telling the best way because I am also a beginner in Hitfilm but I have use Vegas suites so I know how to do these tricks very well in Vegas but for Hitfilm I can't tell the best way for now)

  • chanequebec
    chanequebec Website User Posts: 8 Just Starting Out
    Triem23, thanks so much for your help, and a sincere apology for taking so long to reply... I have spent these past few days practicing this process and sometimes it works, some times it doesn't. My guess is I need more practice, or I'm goofing up at some point of your instructions... this is literally what I'm doing:

    Track the footage -> Duplicate it -> Go to the track tab of the layer on top and select Stabilize -> Mask it so that only the head is visible -> Make into Composite Shot with mask and all effects (doing so opens the new Composite automatically) -> Return to the original Composite and add the Point Layer -> Go to the track tab and apply tracked data to the Point Layer -> Go to the enlarged head layer, go to frame 1 and position the large head in place (on top of the smaller head on the layer below) -> Parent it to the Point layer. Is all this right?

    I once tried using a single tracker and it worked too. But some others it's still offset... hopefully I'll eventually master the technique. Thanks for your time and help (and patience with this newbie).
  • chanequebec
    chanequebec Website User Posts: 8 Just Starting Out
    Well, silly me. I just realized I was forgetting to hit the "Apply" button after selecting the Stabilize option. Everything working great now. Thanks again!