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apple_color_icon.gifColor's secondary rooms offer you a powerful keying tool that isolates region of your image based upon hue, saturation, luminance, or any combination of the three.  They also supply you with "vignette" tools, which allow you to designate specific geometric regions of the image for manipulation.

Conventional motion graphics folks seem to want to use one tool or the other to isolate complex selections from their shots -- and, in my experience, they tend to quickly find themselves fighting Color's limited masking tools and dubious keyframing model.  While tedious manual keyframing really is the only acceptable option in some situations, I quite frequently see budding colorists overlook an easier solution: combine a rough mask with the powerful HSL key.
The basic principle is simple: use a very generous HSL key that's constrained just enough to distinguish the subject from the background features in its immediate area, then draw and animate your "User-Shape Vignette" (a mask by any other name) as you would before.  Since the key is doing half the work, you can afford to be much "rougher" with your keyframed shapes (through most if not all of your subject's contour).

As you adjust your key, you'll probably want to use the manual refinement tools rather than the eyedropper so that you can get a cleaner matte on your subject.  Depending on the adjustment you intend to make, you might choose to use the key blur to further smooth your key.  Finally, when you start your masking, use a normal approach to animating with minimal keyframes: use a minimal number of control points, start at the beginning of the motion path, then place keyframes sparingly at the points where the subject changes overall velocity.  Adjust the overall position of your mask at these keyframes, then go back and refine individual control points and intermediate keyframes as necessary.  This lets the computer give you a pretty good "head start" on your intermediate keyframes, especially when the key has allowed you to be "loose" with your mask.

Pardon the shameless plug, but we demystify these and many more techniques in our 1- and 2-day Color classes.  We'll take you from zero knowledge to a solid working understanding of Color's interface and toolset, although developing a true "colorist's eye" will only come through practice.  But it's sure a lot easier to get that practice when you know how all of the tools work!  Give us a call or email - 1-866-566-1881, or use the "Contact Us" button at the top of the page.
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Creating Live Font Master Templates in Motion was the previous entry in this blog.

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