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Tracking a Mask in Apple Motion

It's extremely easy to create animated masks using Final Cut Pro in conjunction with Apple Motion.  Take a look at this color correction example.

Continue reading for a full transcript of this video tutorial.
Using animated masks in Final Cut Pro and Motion is critical when it comes to creating composites.

For example, take a look at this clip.  If you want to change the color of the sky, you'll need to mask out the other parts of the image.

Let's start by editing the clip to the timeline.  Then make two additional copies of the clip by using the keyboard shortcut option + shift.

Right click on the clip in middle of the sequence and choose send - to Motion Project.  

This will open Apple Motion.

Click save to create the Motion project 

Click on the bezier tool at the top of the Motion interface.

Add some points to create a mask.  

In this example I'm going to trace around the sky.

Since the camera in this shot moves,  we'll need to animate the mask.

This means you'll need to pick your mask points carefully so Final Cut Pro will have an easy time when creating the tracking data.

Typically, corner points that offer high contrast in terms of other nearby pixels is a good starting point to start your track.

Let's add a shape behavior to automatically track the points used in the mask.

Click on the analyze button within the heads-up-display dialog box.

Motion will begin to track the points for the shape.  

After you've animated the mask, let's add a gausian blur filter to blur the edge of the mask a bit.

Next, press command + 4 to bring forward the layers tab.

Uncheck the video layer for Group 1. 

Then navigate to the file menu and save the Motion Project.

Okay, now that we're back in Final Cut Pro, if you turn off the visibility for V3, you can see we've got a pretty good looking mask .

Navigate to the effects tab and drag the color corrector filter onto V3.

Double click on the clip that's on V3 to load it into the Viewer window.

Click on the Color Corrector tab at the top of the Viewer.

Adjust the color balance towards more blue.  

You can also increase the saturation.

Okay, now move down to the timeline and right click on the clip that's on V3.

Choose composite mode - travel matte - alpha.

This will place the color adjustments so they only affect the masked area.

If you go back to the Color Corrector filter, you can see how adjusting the Hue color only affects the masked area.

Play the sequence to check it out.

For more great tips like this or to enroll in a Final Cut Pro training course, visit GeniusDV.com


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