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Tracking and Keying in After Effects | Part 2

Joey Korenman

Learn to effectively track and key using After Effects.

If you haven't started on part one of this series you're going to want to go and watch that first. In this lesson we're going to pick up where we left off last time and add even more compositing skills to our arsenal. In this lesson we'll take a look at even more keying techniques, creating a fake shadow to really ground an object, color-correcting the foreground to match the background on our composited shot, and creating a light wrap to really make our Baltimore Oriel look like he's always been there.Make sure you check out the resources tab for info on where you can get some greenscreen footage to practice you keying skills with. And for a background plate, whip out your smart phone… it will be plenty good enough to play around with this technique. So much to learn, so little time.

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Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

Music (00:00):


Joey Korenman (00:20):

What's up Joey here at school of motion and welcome to day 21 of 30 days of after effects. Today's video is part two of the series where we are taking the Baltimore Orioles mascot, and we are inserting him seamlessly into my backyard. In this video, we're going to talk about keying, getting a good key and integrating that keyed footage into the background and making it sit in there with color correction and some other tricks. I want to thank the department of motion design at the Ringling college of art and design for getting permission from the Orioles, for me to use the oil's mascot footage and for shooting this on their red camera in the green screen room at Ringling, which is awesome. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account. So you can grab the project files from this lesson, as well as assets from any other lesson on this site.

Joey Korenman (01:04):

Now let's hop into after effects and let's do this thing. So in part two, we are now going to finish this composite. And if you remember in the last video we patched our background plate and we removed the little pink chair that was sitting there. And we got a nice track on that chair so that we could actually translate that information onto another layer and now ready to grab our green screen clip and key it out and insert there. So here is the clip and it's, uh, I'm actually just going to make a new comp with it. Let's stick it down here and we'll call this keyed bird. Now, the way I approach keying, it sort of depends on what it is I'm keying, uh, and you know, the basics of king is that you want to break a key into a few different pieces.

Joey Korenman (01:56):

So that way you can just sort of, you know, work on certain parts of the image with certain types of keys. And there's a lot of different strategies. I'm going to show you one that works pretty effectively in most situations. So this is the clip right here. All right. And it's always a good idea to just kind of scrub through it a few times and figure out if there's going to be any issues with it. I can see one issue is if I let it go too far, his feet actually break the frame. So I definitely want to make sure I don't use that part of the shot. So I'm just gonna put an out point here and then let's go to the beginning here. And at the beginning of the shot, if I use this part, the problem would be that there's a big shadow on the green screen here.

Joey Korenman (02:35):

And it's a, it's a different color green now than the main part of the green screen. And so that would create a little bit of an issue. I mean, it's solvable, but it would just create more work. So I might as well save myself some work and not use any of the shot before this frame. So I'm going to hit B, I'm going to control click up here and say trim comp to work area. So now this is all the clip that I'm gonna, that I'm gonna use. So the first step that I do is to do what's called a garbage mat and a that's just a mask that's very, very rough. And it just cuts out, you know, all of this junk, like, you know, the lights and the stands that are in the shot. The obviously don't want, oh, this was shot on the red camera.

Joey Korenman (03:17):

And then the footage was transferred down to a ProRes file. And you can see that the frame of the red actually is a little bit narrower than 16 by nine. So that's why you have these black bars at the top of the bottom. And I obviously don't want those either. So I'm just going to sort of scrub through and figure out, okay, so right about here is where I can cut off the frame and then on the left side, right about here. So I'm just going to draw a quick mask and I'm not going to be very particular about this because this is just step one and step two, we're actually going to make our mask much, much, much, much, much more accurate. All right. So let's finish this mask and then just scrub through and make sure that the, you know, the actor or the character or whatever your king doesn't leave the frame at all.

Joey Korenman (04:04):

And I can tighten this up a little bit, um, but it doesn't have to be very precise. Now, let me talk briefly about the shadow here. Uh, the shadow. If I pull this mask out, you can see that I might actually be able to keep the shadow that was cast on the screen floor and composite that onto the grass. Uh, the problem is that the shadow, you know, it's a long shadow and it runs kind of off the frame and it, and it actually runs into this, this light stand here. So if I wanted to use that shadow, I would manually sort of have to feather it. Um, so I sort of made a decision early on that I was just going to get rid of the shadow and just make a new one. So I'll show you guys how to do that. Um, but just so you know, that's why I don't really care that this mask is cutting the shadow off.

Joey Korenman (04:51):

So now that we've got that, let me pre compose this layer, I'm just gonna hit shift command C, make sure I move all attributes into the new comp and we can call this bird clip garbage mat, just so I know what step this was. All right, so now we've got a very rough garbage mat. Now I want to eliminate as much of the green as I can and make a very, very tight garbage mat. And what I mean is when I apply my Kier, uh, we're going to use the effect called key light that comes with after effects. And when I use that, I want key light to only have to worry about pixels. Very, very, very close to the bird. And the reason that's important is because the way this was lit, this was lit pretty well. You can see that the color of the green screen all the way around the bird, even mostly on the floor is pretty consistent, but over here, it starts to get really dark.

Joey Korenman (05:42):

And then by the shadow, it starts to get really dark and, and, and even, you know, it's just the way lights fall off. The edges of your shot are going to get a little darker. And so you don't want key light to have to knock those pixels out. So there's a cool trick learned. And I actually learned this, uh, and I apologize, I can't remember the teacher's name, but I learned this on an FX PhD course. And I'll use this opportunity to plug them if you want to learn visual effects and compositing FX, PhD is incredible. I've taken a lot of their classes and they're amazing. So this was a little trick I picked up from them. You can, uh, now here's one kind of annoying thing, the effect I'm going to use to do this. It used to be in the keying menu here.

Joey Korenman (06:25):

And I believe since creative cloud came out, they've moved it into obsolete and it's called color key. I'm guessing the reason they moved it, there is because it is the world's crappiest Kier, but what's great about it. Is it renders almost instantly. It's very fast. And so it works really well for what I'm about to show you. Uh, so the color key, you just grab your eyedropper, pick a color, pretty close to the bird, and you can see perfect. Our key is done. Uh, so then you need to adjust the color tolerance. And when you increase the tolerance, it starts to eat away more and more of the green, and you can see, it just looks awful. This is a terrible cure, but there's a pretty cool trick with it. You can do with it before I go any further, I'm going to add a solid layer behind the bird, and it's already this nice pink color.

Joey Korenman (07:16):

Cause I, I obviously did this before I recorded the tutorial. Uh, so here's what I usually do when I'm king is I'll take a really, really bright contrast in color and I'll stick it behind my subject and then I'll make it into a guide layer. So it doesn't actually render. And the reason I do that is because now if I increase this tolerance and the goal is to get rid of all of the green. Okay. All of it. And the problem with getting rid of all of it is that, and you don't even, I mean, it doesn't have to be all of it, which is most of it, right? Most of that green has gone, but you can see the problem that creates it, eats away at your footage too. Um, cause now this tolerance is very, very high and it's working well on most of the bird, but on the socks, right?

Joey Korenman (08:02):

You're the, whatever these things are down by his feet, uh, it's eating away at them and you can see through them. But if I didn't have this color back there, right. And you know, if I, if I had this background set to black or something, it wouldn't be as obvious that that's actually a whole, I might think that actually that's supposed to be black. And so by putting a pink color there, I can see the holes. Now that I've done this. And just to show you this, this effect, I mean, it renders so fast. That's why I like it. Now that I've done that I can use this edge thin parameter, and I'm going to pull it backwards as far as it goes okay. To negative five. And what that does is it brings back the information on the edges and you can see now I have, there's still a little problem down here by his foot.

Joey Korenman (08:47):

If you look down here, it's still eating away a little too much his foot. So I'm just going to bring the color tolerance down until there we go. That hole gets filled in, make sure there's no other holes in the footage anywhere. And that trick gives you the world's tightest garbage mat in like five seconds. And this is great because the color that is around him is going to be way more consistent than the color of the entire green screen. All right. And you can see over here, you're getting a little schmutz, right. Um, and it never actually intersects him. So I can actually get rid of that with really easily by just drawing a little mask like this, um, and setting it to subtract. Right? And then you can see that the floor, the floor shown up here. So why don't we zoom into that and do the same kind of thing.

Joey Korenman (09:39):

I actually started drawing a shape layer, make sure you have your layer selected. And then we can just select that little piece at that to subtract. And then the shadow I'm not going to worry about for now. We can always come back in and mask that if we want to, but at least for most of the footage, we now have a great Matt. So now I'm going to comp this. All right. So we'll, uh, we'll just call this bird clip better, Matt. And now I am ready to key it. So I usually break keys up into two pieces. And what, what you really are focusing on when you're keying something is the edge. That is the most important thing. And I'm going to now go into full Rez so you can see the edges, you know, when he's waving the bat around, for example, right?

Joey Korenman (10:30):

Let me find, let me find a good frame. Like what you're really concerned with, with king is trying to keep motion blur and stuff like this. Cause if you, if you do a key and you sort of eat away at your footage too much, it's going to give you these crisp edges and it's not going to look very good. So you're going to want to try and maintain the nice softness of those edges. The problem is if you're maintaining the nice softness of the edges, you might also be leaving some holes inside of your mat that you're creating. And I'll explain what a mat is for those of you that don't know. So what I generally do is I break my key up into two pieces, at least two pieces, a core where I'm really only concerned with getting a good inner part of my key and then an edge key, where I'm only concerned with what the edges are doing.

Joey Korenman (11:19):

So let's start by making a core key. So I'm just going to rename this core. All right. So now we'll apply key light key light is in the king menu. Let me get myself a little bit more room here so we can see this bird better. Hey, look at that. A comment. That's awesome. I should have turned that off. Let me turn that off there. Okay. So, uh, here's what you do. Here's the way key light works. You start by selecting the screen color. And that just means, and I like how they spell color the British way. And you just use the eyedropper and you pick a green and there you go. You're done. Look at that. All done one click, all right. Now, not really right. And, and you can see that there are some holes in him down here, and there's some garbage going on with his feet and all that kind of stuff.

Joey Korenman (12:07):

And here's the thing about keys. When you just look at it like this, you might think, oh, well, the, the top of him was done. Look at that. Well, it's fooling you. All right. You can't just trust your eyes. When you're king, you need to actually look at the mat. Now here's what the mat is. If you click on this view option right here and go down to screen mat, this shows you the black and white image that key light is creating. And the white pixels will be kept. The black pixels will be knocked out and the gray pixels will be transparent and look very closely. There's great pixels all over him and there's noise in those gray pixels. And the problem is you will see that when I composite it over footage. Okay? So although the edges of this look awesome, right? There's like nice soft edges.

Joey Korenman (12:58):

And the motion blur is still sort of maintained. We have holes in this mat. These gray pixels are holes on top of that. We may also have some pixels on the fringe that are not being totally knocked out now to my eye. It looks like they are. Um, but I don't trust my eyes. So there's this cool little thing you can do in after effects this little number down here. This is the exposure that it is that after effects is showing you for your comp by default, it's a zero. But if I crank it up like this, it's now sort of artificially brightening, everything. So these pixels are actually not being totally knocked out. And you know, you may say, oh, but I can't see them. Well, the problem is when you composite it and you start color correcting all kinds of weird stuff will happen if you, uh, you know, if you're not, you know, worrying about getting rid of those pixels.

Joey Korenman (13:52):

So what I do is I crank this up a little bit, so I can actually see those pixels by the way it works the other way too. If I crank it down, it makes it a little bit easier to see the gray pixels in the white areas. So adjusting this exposure is a great trick when you're keying. So what I need to do is adjust my screen mat settings. So the two that you adjust most of the time are clip black and clip white. So these pixels should be black and they're not. So I'm going to adjust the clip black. And this number is basically telling key light. What is the N what is the minimum value or sorry, the maximum value that I will set to be to black. So right now, if a pixel has a value of zero, it will be black.

Joey Korenman (14:35):

If I set this to five, it will say, well, if a pixel has a value of five, I will set it to black. And so I can just knock this up and you really want to be as delicate as possible. You don't ever want to just, you know, if you, you, you want to just do this, okay. And just say, eh, oh, there you go. That looks good. You actually want to, you know, use your arrow keys, go up until that's gone and then hold the command key and go down. And when you hold command and use the up and down arrows, it moves this number in smaller increments. And you want to find the absolute minimum number necessary to get rid of that stuff. Now don't worry about the ground right now, because what we're probably going to end up doing is doing a core, key, and an edge key for the top of the bird, and then a separate core, key, and edge key for the feet.

Joey Korenman (15:27):

And that's how we're going to get rid of this and make the feet look good. So now we've gotten rid of all the white pixels that should be black. So now let's adjust our exposure back down and you can see there's all these holes, right? A ton of gray pixels here. So to fix those, you adjust the clip white. All right. And I'm just going to start moving this down and you can see that I have to really, really crank these numbers in order to get rid of all those holes. All right. But now I've gotten rid of all the holes up here. There's no more pixels that shouldn't be there. If you want to reset the exposure, you just click this button right here. All right. And now if I just hit space bar, now here's one thing that is kind of a big issue.

Joey Korenman (16:08):

And if we look at the original footage, let me set the view to source for a minute. That baseball bat is super-duper shiny. All right. So it's reflecting the green screen and there is not, there's not going to be an automatic way to fix that. So that is a situation where you would probably need to create, uh, an animated matte to fix that. So you'd have to just sort of go frame by frame and wherever you need to see the bat, but there's green in it. You have to mask it out manually. It's called rotoscoping. It's awful. Or sometimes you can get away with it because if you think about why you're seeing green on that bat, you're seeing it because the bat is shiny. So whatever environment this bird and the bat are in, will be reflected in the bat to some extent. And so, you know, you're going to see through this, this part of the image, but the visual effect may actually just look like whatever environment the birds in you're seeing reflected in the bat.

Joey Korenman (17:08):

So I hope that makes sense. If you look, we actually go to the final comp and we go to, I'm not even sure. I used a piece of the, of the footage where that's happening, but, um, you know, there's probably holes in the bat at some point in here, but you don't really notice them because all it's going to do is going to reveal very subtly the footage that's behind him, and it's going to look like a reflection. So it's going to be okay. It's going to be okay. All right. So now let's go back to our, let's go to our, uh, our final result now. So when you're on final results in key light, there's a few things happening. Um, the way light works is first, it creates a mat for you that black and white image, and then it applies that mat. And if you want to see what that looks like, just look at the intermediate result.

Joey Korenman (17:55):

Okay. That's showing you what it looks like in the problem with just stopping with the intermediate result is that a lot of times, you know, you get sort of this green cast on the pixels, right? And that's because it's called green spill and the pro, and it's just inherent when you're shooting green screen, that the green paint is going to reflect up and bounce up and sort of add this green tents to, to pieces of the footage. Uh, and so when you have final result turned on, it does some stuff to try and take that away. So usually that's, that's what you want to just do is put it on final result. All right. So if you play this right, remember we really cranked the settings. And so the problem is like, look at his hand, if I zoom in, look at the shape, it's, it's like the super hard edge, right?

Joey Korenman (18:44):

And if I look at the original source footage, you'll see that there's actually some softness to this cause he's moving. And that softness has been just destroyed by how much we've had to crank the settings. We go to final result, look right here, like look at this area. And then we'll go back to source. You see how there's like these nice little, these nice little details that you want to be able to keep, you know, the softness of this sort of, you know, this, this mascot costume. Um, but because we've cranked the setting so high, we're losing that. So this mat is really good for a core. And here's the thing I want to basically erase the edges here, because I want to do a separate key for the edges. I don't want to, um, I don't want to have to, you know, I don't want to have to try and fix this one.

Joey Korenman (19:30):

So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna use this screen shrink and grow setting and what this does. If I just crank it backwards, you'll see it eats away at your image, or it can grow it back out if you want to. And here's what I want to do. I want to shrink it by one pixel minus one. It just eats away at one pixel. And that's it. The reason I'm eating away at that one pixel is because now what I can do is I can just set up another copy of this layer and only key it out. So the edges look good and there's going to be a bunch of holes in it, but that's okay because right underneath that layer is going to be this layer, which has no holes. So let's duplicate this layer and let's call this edge. Right. And let's reset key light.

Joey Korenman (20:17):

So now we have a brand new key ready to go. All right. So what we're gonna do is we're going to just grab a screen color like this. Okay. And now for coming here and take a look right. You can see that with that edge mat, when I turn it on and off, right. It brings back the softness brings back those nice edges and underneath it. And here's a good way to check this too. You can, um, if you turn off this layer for a minute, um, another thing you can do is you can, you can just set your background, color command. K. You can just set your background color to this, to, uh, instead of doing a guide layer, the advantage there is that if you hit option four, it will show you your alpha channel. And so I can turn the edge key on and off, and I can see the effect, right?

Joey Korenman (21:08):

If I just have this edge key, you can see all these gray pixels in there. Once I turn my core key back on, it fills them in for me, but I don't see those crummy edges because I shrunk that map by one pixel. All right. So now I'll hit option four again and bring my color back now. Let's we still need to check the screen mat for this key. Okay. So I'm not concerned at all with these gray pixels, but what is going to be a problem? And I'm going to crank up this gamut here. Okay. I'm going to the exposure. Sorry. Um, I am concerned that there are still some pixels right on the edge there that you're seeing. Now, it's showing you all of these pixels here. And what Keala is doing is it's actually looking at the original footage. If we look at the source and I turned this exposure back down, remember we have a garbage mat on here.

Joey Korenman (22:03):

So even though key light is showing you pixels out here, really all you need to worry about are the pixels right here around the edge. So if we go back to our screen, Matt, crank up the exposure. I do need to make sure there are no pixels here or that there are very few pixels along the edge. You can get away with a little bit, but not too much. So let's go to our screen mat and I'm just going to nudge the clip black. And I only want the absolute minimum value that gets me a decent result. Okay. So let's take a look at this. Now you could still see some, some Schmitz there, but only when I really crank the exposure up. All right. So if I reset the exposure, it looks completely black. And, and we're just going to have to see this in context before we know if we're in good shape.

Joey Korenman (22:47):

But if we now go to final result and we take a look at this key, and when you are keying and you're checking your results, you need to do it in full Rez to be able to tell if it's working okay. And it looks like we're in pretty good shape. Now there is. I just noticed there's a little hole right here happening in his, in his pupil, which is kind of funny. And it's only in that one little spot it looks like. So I'll show you how to fix that. That's actually pretty easy what you can do. Uh, and actually the first thing we should do is figure out where that problem is being introduced. Um, because we have a few things going on here for turnkey light off, up, you can see the hole is still there. So what that tells me is that that problem was introduced here when we did our color key. So I am going to, uh, I'm actually just gonna duplicate this layer, delete this effect and just draw a little mask around his eye.

Joey Korenman (23:46):

We go and, uh, I've got masks all over this thing. So let me delete the other two masks. There we go. Um, so all I did was just pick a little patch and I only need it for a few frames. So let's see. So right there, that's the first frame. So I hit option left bracket and just trimmed it to there, and then we're going to go forward and then it's gone by there. So that's it. So now if I turn this back on and I can, I can adjust this mask a little bit, make it come over a little bit further to the right. There we go. Cool. So now that hole is gone. No, it's not. It's still there. Look at that pesky thing. Oh my goodness. There we go. Now it's gone.

Joey Korenman (24:35):

All right. And it looks like I am unfortunately going to have to animate my mask a little bit, but that was pretty quick and easy. There we go. Problem solved. So now we have no more hole in the birds eyeball, and we've got a good core mat, a good edge mat we're getting or maintaining that motion blur there, which is awesome. And what we don't have is a good key for the feet. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to do a separate key for the feet. So now that we've got a good core mat, a good edge mat for the bird, I'm going to pre-com thumb. And I'm going to call this bird top. Well, I really hit that P hard on top. Didn't I, I'm going to duplicate bird top and I'm going to, I'm going to call this bird bottom and I'm going to move bird bottom down here like this.

Joey Korenman (25:23):

Okay. So now I've got two copies of the same key and what I want to do. Let me turn off bottom for a second. And I'm gonna grab my top layer. I'm going to hit a queue, bring up my mass to, and I'm just gonna put a mask let's say right around there. So this part of the key is great. That's fantastic. The bottom is not though. So what I can do now, let me make this a little bigger. I'm going to copy this mask to the bottom layer, open up my mask and set this one to subtract. Okay. And what you'll notice is that even though these are the exact same masks, you're going to get this little one pixel thing. So take that, um, take that bottom mask and just nudge it up a couple pixels and that line goes away. And so now I can come into this bird bottom comp and I have a core and an edge layer ready to go, and I can just turn edge off, reset for my core layer.

Joey Korenman (26:21):

And now I can just do a key for the feet. And so this is going to work better because now I can pick the color of the floor and it will work much better. Okay. So let's zoom in. I just pick the color for the floor. Let's take a look at, um, our screen mat and you can see we've got a lot of pixels that shouldn't be there and then a of pixels that should be there. So, uh, we'll just go to our screen mat settings, and I'm going to first crank the white and you really got to crank it to fill in those holes, and then I'm going to crank the black. Right. And you can see that now we filled in all the holes and we've gotten rid of all the junk, but this, this just looks horrific. And that's because these numbers are so high. They're just so cranked and these edges are just going to look like garbage. Okay. Um, and I can also see that there's problem down here in the, uh, in the sock still, which I'm guessing is probably still coming from this comp here. So maybe what I need to do is actually adjust the settings a little bit more. There we go.

Joey Korenman (27:32):

There we go. Okay, cool. And real quick, let me just make sure that didn't screw up anything on the top. It shouldn't have, it looks, it looks okay. All right. So now we've got a good core, a core key for the bar for the shoes. I remember we need to shrink it by one pixel and then do an edge key. All right. So let's grab a color of the floor. Turn key light back on you reset this, go and go back to our screen mat and what I really just want to make sure I do is get rid of any extra schmaltzy pixels. I don't care about the holes anymore. I just want to try and get rid of as many schmaltzy pixels as I can. And one thing that's happening here is I'm having to crank this clip black quite a bit, a little bit more than I'd like to.

Joey Korenman (28:21):

So sometimes a good thing to play with, just to see if it helps is the screen balance setting and what this does is it sort of alters the way key light works based on the color of the screen. So if it's a blue screen, the screen balance value you want to use is going to be different than for a green screen. And so normally, um, you know, the default value works pretty well for green screens, but sometimes if there's a shadow like that, it's altering the color. So it can help if you just kind of scrubbed this one way or the other, and see, as, you know, you can see as I push it towards zero, it is doing one thing I like, which is sort of darkening these pixels, but it's also doing something else I don't like, which is it's making the edges crummy. So I'm gonna leave that at 50. And unfortunately, I think I'm just going to have to have this thing cranked. So let's have a look here. Let's see what we got. So now we've got decent edges, right? Much better than the core. And we'll go to final result. We'll take a look at that. All right. And this is much better now.

Joey Korenman (29:28):

Okay. And again, you're seeing some weird stuff up here at the top because the, this key does not work well for the top of the bird, but it works better for the bottom. And we've managed to get rid of, it looks like most of the shadow. If I look at the alpha, I don't actually see that shadow anymore. So if we now go back to our key to bird, remember, which has our, our good top key and now are decent bottom key. And if we look at it, you can see, you know, there's some stuff down here I'm seeing that I'm not loving. Like when you stop on a frame where there's a lot of motion blur, I'm seeing like some, it looks like some pretty hard edges here. Uh, and I am seeing a little bit of that Schmidt still show up. So what I, so I'm going to go back in here. Let's go to my screen mat and let's just, let's just hit that black a little bit more.

Joey Korenman (30:18):

Let's see if that helps that out a little bit. And I wonder if it's coming from the core, Matt, let me turn my edge, Matt off, offer a second and go to my screen, Matt. And maybe what would help is if I just erode, erode this two pixels, let's try that. There we go. That got rid of that. Um, and then you can even use this a screen softness. I could blur the edges by a pixel, which will help it blend in more with this edge layer. Um, and the edge layer is getting a little weird too. So because this is only for the bottom of the bird, uh, I'm not as concerned with like the fidelity of the edges as I am with the top. Cause your eyes are going to be looking up here, not as much down here. So what I can do is even on this edge mat, I can, I can maybe soften the edges a little bit.

Joey Korenman (31:09):

Let's, let's put a one pixel blur on them and then shrink it by one pixel. All right, now let's go back here and take a look. And really the big test is going to be when you put this over a background, if you notice anything jumping out at you, that's the real test, but I have a feeling that this is going to work pretty well now, all right, now I know that all of these steps, they may seem kind of tedious and it may, it's very tempting to just try and click key light on there and mess with the settings and say, I'm done. Uh, in my experience, it almost never happens. You almost always have to do at least this amount of work to get a good key or at least one that, you know, like a visual effects supervisor will, will. Okay. All right.

Joey Korenman (31:54):

So now that we've got the bird, we've got our key to bird comp here, let's go into this comp here and let's just drag our keyed bird right in there. And I'm going to put the anchor point somewhere around his heel being basically where his foot is making contact with the ground. I'm going to turn off this solid actually, I'm just gonna delete it. And let me turn off our patch layer for a minute. And I'm just going to adjust the birds position, making sure that his feet are on the ground. Pretty much exactly where that chair is because that's what we tracked. So if I, for example, if I move the bird here and make him closer to the camera, he's not going to track correctly. So it needs to be right where that chair is. And I'm going to scale them down a little bit.

Joey Korenman (32:37):

And then I'm going to turn patch back on and parent the bird to the track. All right. And now we'll Ram preview it and we'll see what we got. Now. You're seeing the bird on screen before we actually have the track. So actually first let's go back to the first frame where you should see him, which is this frame, and I'm gonna hit option left bracket. And so now that bird layer does not exist until we have good tracking information. All right. So while this is Ram previewing, let's talk about some of the issues that we're going to have to deal with. The track actually works pretty well. Um, and it's, it's kind of, it's actually kind of amazing because if you remember in the last video, it didn't take very long to get a good track and to patch this. So, so that we don't have to worry about, but a big, big thing, whenever you're composite thing is you need to match the colors.

Joey Korenman (33:28):

So here's what I mean by that. If you look at the color range of this scene, right? And you look at the bird, the bird sticks out, he doesn't look like he fits in there. And it's kind of hard to say why now, one, one thing is he's not casting a shadow and other things are casting a shadow. So we'll deal with that. That's not, that's not a problem. Um, what we are going to have to do though, is make his color match. You know, if he was really standing outside, would his suit really be this dark? Would this orange beak really look that color? Um, and so I'm gonna show you some strategies to color, correct? This color correction is so important when you're doing king. So what I like to do is first, um, I like to go channel by channel when you're using color footage, this makes it a lot easier.

Joey Korenman (34:15):

So, and the reason that I go channel by channel, and maybe you guys don't know what that means. So let me explain really quickly, this image you're looking at has three color channels, red, green, and blue, and you put them all together and you get a nice picture like this. You can look at each channel individually by clicking this button, red, green, and blue. Okay. And what's cool about this is it. It's a lot easier for your eye to look at a black and white image and judge it critically than a color image. There's something off about this bird. And I can make guesses as to what that is. But if I look at the blue channel, I can see holy crap, the blue channel is so much darker than everything else in the scene, right? If you look at, if you look at the actual composite image, by the way, the hotkeys for this is option 1, 2, 3, show you red, green, and blue.

Joey Korenman (35:06):

And then if you hold option and hit three again or whatever channel you're on, it'll bring you back to your composite image. He's wearing a black suit and I, you know, but there's light hitting it. And his black suit is as dark as the shadows, which have no light hitting them. Really. It should probably be closer to this color. This is a metal frame. That's, it's a pretty dark kind of grayish brown color. And so his, his suit shouldn't be as dark as it is. It should be a little bit brighter. Um, so here's what we're gonna do. We're going to go channel by channel. Someone had option one, we're looking at the red channel. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to put a levels of fact on my layer and you can just sort of eyeball it, right? And if you understand how the levels effect works, you can just sort of just kind of look at it and try and trend judge what's going on.

Joey Korenman (35:57):

Right. But that takes a little practice. So there's actually a way to help yourself out. So here's what you can do. Hold your mouse over a very dark pixel on the bird, somewhere in here. Right? And while you do that, look right here on your screen, in the info panel, if you don't have the info panel open, go to window, make sure info is checked. And when you hold your mouse over it, it's going to tell you the red, green, and blue values of that pixel. And I see the red value of these pixels. It's in the low teens. A couple of them get up to 20, but really low teens. If I come over here and I put my mouse here, the red value of this is in the fifties, right. Almost 60. So there's a, you know, this is, this is in the teens.

Joey Korenman (36:43):

This is about 60, there's about a 40 to 50 level difference. And so what I can do is I can adjust the output black up by basically the difference between these two. So if I adjust it by like 30, it's now going to bring this now into the forties, right. It's raised that black value by, you know, by this number. And so you can use that to make the blacks match. Okay. Now there are some things on this per that should be totally black. The shadow underneath his foot should match these blacks. Okay. So I don't want to actually crank the output black that much, but I do want to crank it, maybe half that. Okay. And if I just turn levels on and off, you can see that just doing that, it sits in there better. And then you do the same thing with whites.

Joey Korenman (37:33):

He's got a very bright orange colored belly here. And then down here, his socks, if we look at the color at the actual color thing, his, his socks have this white kind of piece on them. And his eyes are white too. And there are white things in the scene, like the clouds and my neighbor's patio. And, um, you know, and so, you know, you gotta, you basically just need to decide how bright do you think this piece of his legs should be? It shouldn't be as bright as this piece of this house over here. Well, that piece, that pixel has a value of 180 in the red channel. And his sock only has a value of 160. So what I can do is I can change the input white down by the difference, right? So there's a 2020 value difference. So I'll just say minus 20.

Joey Korenman (38:20):

And now this pixel has a value of one 70 and this pixel has a value of one 90. So I need to do it a little bit more. Um, and I like to just kind of eyeball it, um, and just kind of like squint my eyes. And de-focus a little bit, and the main ones you're looking for, the output black is going to raise the level of your blacks. The output white is going to lower the level of your white. So if something looks too bright, this is the one you're going to knock down. That's not happening though. Then on top of that, if you don't have enough white, and that was the case, you can adjust the input white. And if you don't have enough black, you can adjust the input. Black, this middle arrow is the gamma, and this is just sort of an overall adjustment.

Joey Korenman (39:01):

You just kind of adjust it to taste. So now our red channel sits in there much better. Now let's move to the green channel. We'll do the same thing and I'll do this a little bit faster. Okay. He looks way too dark in here. Now the black level doesn't look too too bad, but I'm going to knock it up a little bit and you need to make sure by the way, I made a big error here. So, uh, you see how I've been adjusting these, uh, these arrows here. What I need to do is I actually need to set levels to the channel I'm looking at. So I'm going to reset this, go to the red channel. And I'm just going to very quickly redo what I just did. Right. Which was bring the black output down, bring the white input up. And then I just the gamma a little bit.

Joey Korenman (39:48):

Cool. Alright, now I'm going to go to the green channel and switch the levels effects to the green channel, and now I'll do the same thing. So it looks too dark here. So I'm going to start by boosting the gamma. All right. I'm looking at his sock here. It's got a green value of one 50 and you know, over here, this house has a green value of one 90. So I think again, I need to really crank this crank the white level or the white input up on the green channel. Um, and then his beak looks a little bit dark and that's kind of a mid tone. And so when you want to affect mid-tones, you can push the gamma a little bit. And when you do that, it's making the blacks look a little bit muddy. So now I'm going to use this black input arrow and just knock it down a little bit.

Joey Korenman (40:29):

Okay. And that's sitting in there much better now. Right. Then we'll go to the blue channel and the blue channel is kind of a mess. So let's switch this to blue and it's just way too dark. So I need to knock this blue output way down like this. All right. And, and I'm just kind of squinting and I'm saying, okay, does that now sit in there better? Um, and you don't really have any contrast to this either. So I'm going to crank this white input up quite a bit until it starts to look right. Okay. All right. So now you saw how it wasn't that hard to judge. If this thing is sitting in there correctly, when it's black and white, now let's switch back to our color. Okay. And this works so much better. Now let me turn levels off and on and look how much better it sits in that scene.

Joey Korenman (41:21):

The colors make sense now. And it's, you know, and we did a bunch of different adjustments to each channel and to actually just sort of eyeball this, you'd have to be a pretty experienced to, to do this without looking at the individual channels. So looking at the channels makes this so much easier. So now, I mean, frankly, that that's working pretty well. Now you can then switch this back to RGB and make some overall adjustments, right? So his bat still feels a little dark. He feels a tiny bit dark overall. So I could try pushing the output black just a little bit up like that and see if that feels better. Now he's started that sexually. That doesn't feel, that feels worse to me. Uh, so I'm going to split the difference there. I'll put black, I pushed up to seven. Let me set it to three and then let me, let me push the gamut down a little bit, just a little bit like that.

Joey Korenman (42:14):

All right. And I'm just now at this point, I'm just trying to use my eyeballs and use my judgment. Okay. So that's not bad. All right. That, that, that's, that's definitely light years better than where it started. Cool. All right. Now that we've got that, let's add a shadow to this bird. So there's a, there's a neat little trick I like to do. Now. This is going to be made so much easier by the fact that the footage of the bird was shot on a tripod. So, you know, if we look at this, it's easy to add a shadow to something that's not moving. Okay. And for the most part, this bird is not moving. So I think this trick is going to work pretty well. So what I'm gonna do is duplicate this layer, okay? And I'm gonna rename this shadow. I'm gonna put the shadow layer underneath this, and I'm going to delete the levels of fact.

Joey Korenman (42:59):

We don't need it. But what we do need to do is add a fill effect. I'm gonna say, generate fill. And what I want to do is pick a color. I want to look for a shadow that's already in the scene. And I like the shadows here cast by the trees because these shadows are, are basically caused because the sun cannot reach underneath these little shrubs. But this part of the grass where the Palm trees are casting their shadow, that's probably the same color that this shadow should be for, for the mascot. So I'm going to grab my color picker and just pick that color and you can see it's a pretty dark green. Okay. So now I'm going to use an effect, distort CC slant. And this comes with after effects. And this affects really cool. Let me, uh, let me turn the bird off for a minute so you can see.

Joey Korenman (43:49):

So here's our filled in shadow layer. And what you need to do is first tell the effect where the floor is. So you can click this little icon. It gives you a cross here and you can put the shadow right where the floor meets the foot. So somewhere in there, and then you can slant it and set the height of it and create shadow. And what you want to do is look at the direction the shadows are going. They're pretty much just going off sideways and it looks like they might be coming a little bit towards the camera, right? And so you just want to try and match the direction of that shadow. I'm going to set this layer to multiply. Sorry, here we go. Multiply third. Time's a charm. There we go. And so now I can see the grass through it. Okay. Now I need to adjust the Dio passage of this so that it matches this.

Joey Korenman (44:45):

Um, and you know, you, it looks like I may want to adjust the color a little bit, but I don't know. That's actually matching the color. Okay. Um, I think it will be okay. Now these shadows are a little bit blurrier and that's happening because they're being cast on grass. They're not being cast on a flat surface. So, um, I could do some sophisticated thing or I, I distort the shadow to try and make it look like it's on grass, or I could just blur it a little bit. That's what I'll do. Somebody who's a fast blur and just blur it until it's sort of matches right there. Right. And that matches pretty good. So now I'll turn my bird back on and what's cool is because he's not moving for most of this shot, right. For this part of the shot, that shadows sticks right on there.

Joey Korenman (45:32):

Right. Um, now I may want to adjust the floor a little bit because it kinda, I kind of feel like you can do this interactive league just kind of feels like the shadow wasn't connected to him enough. There we go. Now it's not going to be a perfect shadow because it's not a real 3d shadow. And so sometimes, you know, you may need to cheat it a little bit, one way or the other. Um, let's see here, let's grab this and move this around and you can adjust the slant a little bit if you need to. Um, and you can even nudge the layer over a little bit, just, just actually moot change the position of it. And it just needs to look mostly correct. Um, I think I did a great job of screwing it up. There we go. Okay, cool. So now we've got a shadow and what, what I am a little concerned about is the beginning of the shot, where the bird kind of takes a step because this effect, can't tell that the bird is taking a steps you can see right there.

Joey Korenman (46:32):

The shadow makes no sense. So you can probably get away with just doing a little key framing, right. So let's just animate where the floor is. And then let's just go back a few frames and let's just move that floor down a little bit. And maybe, maybe that's enough, right. It's moving pretty quick at the beginning of the shot too. So we can probably get away with, with something like this. Um, and I'm just going to set these to auto Bezier so that it just sort of tries to make a nice curve. Now it doesn't, you're starting to see, you don't want to see the shadow move. So I want to make sure that I do this quickly enough. Yeah. See that you, you, if you can notice it it's too much and I'm definitely noticing it. So I'm going to, I'm going to get rid of this key frame and I'm just gonna have it.

Joey Korenman (47:21):

Yeah. Let's see if that works better. That's better. All right. And the good thing is people's eyes are going to be drawn to this bird. So if the shadow doesn't match up exactly, it's not the end of the world. Um, you know, you can get away with more than you'd suspect when you're composite thing, as long as the big things are correct. Like the color correction. Um, you know, one thing that I made sure to do was, uh, make sure that the sun was on this side of the frame because that's where the key light was. I made sure I held the camera at about the same height that they shot this mascot, so that the perspective would make sense. Um, and so now we've got a pretty good result, and I'm gonna show you guys a couple other tricks to, to help you out with this.

Joey Korenman (48:07):

Um, one thing I love to do is do, uh, light wraps, cause lay wraps can really help just glue a composite together. So what I'm gonna do, uh, is I'm going to pre-camp this bird layer, but I actually need it pre comped with the track. I need it moving inside of the pre-com. So what I'm gonna do is duplicate my tracking hall and parent this to the duplicate, and then I'm going to pre-camp this whole thing, and I'm going to call this bird key. Uh, let's just call it bird key comp or something. I don't know. I'm not, I didn't come up with a very creative name for that. And what's cool is now this layer is not moving. It just has that motion baked into it. So now what I'm gonna do is I'm going to copy my background and put it above my footage.

Joey Korenman (48:58):

Uh, and actually I want to make sure that I use the background that has been patched. So now I'm going to select the patch and the background. Pre-camp those and call that background now a let, let me describe what a light wrap is. It's basically the effect, uh, of when you have a bright environment, like a sky, uh, and a lot of sunlight, some of that is going to sort of show up on, on the edges of your subject. Um, and if you shoot in a green screen studio, you're not going to have any of that, but you can fake it. So I'll show you how to fake it. So I'm going to duplicate my background and put it above my, my keyed out bird. And what I want to do is I only want to see the background kind of on the edges here.

Joey Korenman (49:41):

All right. So there's a neat little trick I used to do that. I'm gonna use an effect called set mat, and I'm going to put it on my copy of my background. And I'm going to say, take Matt from the layer bird key comp, and then I'm gonna say invert the mat. And if I sold this layer, you'll see what that's doing. It's using this comp right. That has that motion baked into it. And it's cutting out the bird. Now, why am I doing that? Well, the next step is going to be, to add a fast blur, right? Blurred a little bit. So now that's blurring this image over the edges of this cutout. Then I'm going to duplicate this set mat effect, put it after the fast blur, get rid of the invert mat. All right. And now this is what's being created. It's, it's just a blurred version of the background showing up on the edges.

Joey Korenman (50:35):

All right. And this is what it's going to do. I'm going to set this to add mode and I'm going to mess with the opacity because you don't need, you don't want too much. You just want a little bit. Okay. And what this is doing, right. You'll really notice it. If we zoom in, we'll go to Flores here and you take a look at like the hat, right? If I turn this off, there's no light spilling on to that from the sky. And as soon as I turn that on, it shows up. Okay. And it's just going to help him sit in there and you don't want to overdo it. This is probably too heavy. You don't need a lot of this. Um, and a lot of times what I'll do too, is I'll take this layer. I'm gonna rename this light wrap now. Cause that's what this is, by the way, there are effects.

Joey Korenman (51:16):

You can buy that. We'll just do this for you, but this is a pretty easy way to do it. Um, what, um, what I want to do is mass scout, this effect, so it only shows up. Let's just, let's just use an ellipse tool, the grass isn't going to reflect as much on the, on the bird as like the sky, because the sky is this giant bright thing. Um, you're going to get some greens kind of bouncing up from the grass on there. So I'm just going to feather this mask a lot. Right. And if I solo, what you'll see that, what I'm trying to do is just have more of that effect on the top of the bird than on the bottom. And there you go. So now I've got an eyesight wrap on there. Um, now technically what I would need to do is animate this mask because the camera pans up like this.

Joey Korenman (52:09):

Um, but that happened so fast that I just am not sure that it's really gonna make a big difference. So let's, um, let's do a quick little Ram preview here and see what we got and this composite is starting to work pretty well. Um, you know, considering that I can tell you that the oil's mascot was not shot for this purpose. Um, so it just shows you how a little composite and can go a long way. The last thing that can help just kind of sit things together is to then color correct the entire thing as a whole. So now that I've comped this whole thing together, I'm going to color correct all of it, and I'm going to do it all the same way. So I'm just going to make a layer called CC color correction, make it an adjustment layer, by the way someone asked me why I don't ever just say new adjustment layer.

Joey Korenman (52:58):

And it's because I can't, I try to never use this menu if I can remember the hot key, and I can never remember this hot key, but I remember this hot key. So I just do that and then click this. So I'm going to call it, crack this thing as a whole. So now what I can do is I can grab a curves, which is a great color correction tool in this new version of curves is awesome. And I can just kind of crush the blacks a little bit, boost the highlights and just give it of like that filmic S curve like that, you know, increases contrast a little bit. And then another thing I see is going to color balance and push these values around, just to give it a little more character. Um, so, you know, depending on what you're going for, if you're going for like the, you know, the matrix or something, you could push a lot of green into the shadows and then, you know, put, uh, pull some green out of the highlights and, or push them into the highlights and get this kind of greenish tone.

Joey Korenman (53:54):

A lot of times, I just like to put a little bit of blue in the blacks. Um, and if you click preserve luminosity, um, it's gonna, it's gonna really give you a lot of contrast. I sometimes I do that sometimes I don't, I don't think I'll do it in this situation, but you could see that just by adding some blues to the shadows, it just gives a little bit more of a filmic character. Uh, and then, you know, the, the highlights, I don't know, maybe I'll add a little bit of green to the highlights just to kind of reinforce that nice green color. Um, and then anyone who's ever worked with me knows that I am a serial vignette or, um, and so, uh, what I'm going to do is I'm just gonna throw a levels of fact on a color corrector and I'm going to push the gamma down and then I'm going to draw a shape like this invert, that mask and feather it just to give, give my whole composition a little bit of that vignette around the edges.

Joey Korenman (54:51):

And because I did all of this color correction over the whole scene, it's just going to help tie everything together, even that much more cool. Uh, another thing I didn't do in this case is try to match the grain of the keyed footage to the background footage. That's another step you can do. I don't think it's, you're going to get much out of it, given that you're going to watch this heavily compressed on Vimeo, and you're not going to really be able to see the difference, but the bird was shot on the red camera. The background was shot on a Canon T3. So obviously the grain profiles are going to be very different on those two cameras. And, uh, so you can use the add grain effect, try and match the grain on the bird. But for the most part, you're not going to notice that, um, especially for a tutorial.

Joey Korenman (55:38):

So we have covered a whole crap ton of stuff in this video. And I hope, uh, hope you guys are able to absorb a lot of it. Um, you know, compositing stuff together. Like it's not just for visual effects. If you get good at this, this will also make your motion graphics pieces look better to, uh, just, you know, training your eye, to see subtle little differences in color. And just knowing when things don't match and knowing some little tricks to kind of help them sit in the scene, better. All those things are going to help your, you know, two D animated pieces to all of those skills crossover. So thank you guys so much for sitting through another long one. I really appreciate it. And I love you guys so much. Thank you. I will see you next time. Thank you so much for, I hope you learned a ton about keying tracking and compositing and these lessons.

Joey Korenman (56:27):

I want to say thank you to Ringling for the use of the green screen studio and the red camera. And I want to say thank you to the Orioles for allowing the use of the footage of their mascot. If you have any questions or thoughts about this lesson, definitely let us know. And we would love to hear from you if you use any of the techniques from this lesson on a project. So give us a shout on Twitter at school emotion and show us your work. If you learned something valuable from this video, please share it around. It helps us spread the word about school emotion, and it means a lot. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account. So you can access project files from the lesson you just watched, plus a whole bunch of other very cool stuff. Thank you so much. And I will see you next time.

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