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Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced Training

Moving mask that follows a face in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi everyone, in this video we are going to get a mask to move, and try and automatically follow my face. We make my face green, just for reference sake, but it might be for isolating skin, and either saturating it or desaturating it, maybe there's some sunburn issues going on, or over saturated skin, it might be a product that you are trying to video, that needs a color change, but you want to isolate it from the background. We'll do it with the circle moving around, we'll also start doing it with a more detailed mask, and track it along. Moving masks, that's what we're doing, let's jump in. 

All right, let's make that mask move, let's bring it in a bit of footage, it's something we've used before. I'm going to use the same project, under the 'Exercise Files', 'Transitions', we're looking for 'Morph Cut 01', bring that in and make a sequence from it. Cool. Just to save time, I'm doing, instead of doing this whole thing-- first, I'm going to mute it, and I'm just going to do like 4 seconds. I'm going to type in 400 on my number keypad, hit 'Enter'. If you do that, and you have the track selected, it'll move along 4 seconds. 

So if you have nothing selected down here, 400, so muted, I'm going to cut it. Remember the shortcut, just to slice it all off? I could use my Razor tool but you know that key, W, trims it up nicely. So I'm going to trim this little bit, well, I'm going to Color Correct it. You saw at the beginning there, we did color, we messed with my color, the skin tone, we made myself green. So in real life we'd be looking at this to kind of isolate skin, so we can work on that or whatever you want to work on, but for this one, just for kicks, so that's easy to see, we're going to make my skin green. 

Let's start at the beginning of our Timeline, let's go and have a look at the Lumetri color. So make sure Lumetri color is open, we're going to use the-- we did this earlier on, remember, Curves, Hue Saturation Curves, and I want to-- like normally when I'm doing skin I grab the Eyedropper tool, and I click on there and then I can desaturate, to get rid of the suntan or sunburn, or bring it up to add a bit of liveliness, too much. I'm going to double click to get rid of it, in this case I'm going to use my Eyedropper tool, grab my skin and say, I want it to be just a funky color, and it's not quite grabbing all the parts, can you see over here. So I'm just going to extend it a little bit this way and a little bit that way. That seems to almost do it. 

Now in this case, can you see, it's doing my skin, like I want to do, but it's also affecting other things in the background, that's not a huge big deal in this particular one, but obviously it'll be in-- there'll be different instances where it's worse, but let's say we want to focus just on the skin here, and isolate that, and not be dealing with stuff in the background, that's changing color as well. So it's going to use a mask, like we did before, but then we'll get it to move. So what we want to do is, we don't want to do an opacity mask, like we did before, because that's not really what we're looking for, we want just the Lumetri effect of green to be masked, and you can see in here, let's close all these, shortcut, did I show you that earlier? 

If you hold down the 'Option' key on any of these chevrons, and click them, they all close. So I can just open that one, it's a little bit safer. We'll do the easy way and the hard way. Let's go the easy way, which is just a big old ellipse, you can see, it is, if I click in the middle of it, so basically that's what we're doing, we just need to move it over time, right? So let's get it close to covering my skin, and the thing you'll need to be conscious of, is kind of scrubbing all the way through to see, like it needs to be big enough to carry-- fit my head in. If I turn sideways my head gets technically a little bit wider. So it needs to be like wide enough to fit everything in, a bit of trial and error. 

So because there's nothing else in the background, I don't have to be exactly precise, I probably want to rotate it a tiny bit, and rotation feels like it should be in there, it's just, you just kind of hover in no man's land, close to one of these guys, and you can kind of rotate it. Over here we've got Feather, Opacity, and Expansion, so that's what these do, I can't remember which one does what. That's Feather, you can see it feathers the edge. So it's back to my regular skin, and green in the middle. The Opacity, I don't want, play with expansion, just means, yeah, I can push it out and be bigger, I don't really-- it's easy, you either drag the edges, or you can use expansion. I'm going to go undo, undo, undo, undo…

All right, that's a good starting position. So now what do I do, make sure, you're at the beginning, I'm not at the moment, there we go. Be at the beginning and then, see under Lumetri, our mask, you've got these little arrows here, there's one that says 'move forward one frame', or this one here, it doesn't say that, these are a bit of obscure, click on this one, that doesn't say 'one frame', and it will process it and just work its way through, and try and follow the targets in here. It'll try, it does a reasonably good job. 

This, the last frame there, great cut, green wasn't the best color. You can see it's done a pretty good job, let's have a little look through it, can you see, it moves it, it rotates it to try and line it all up, and it's done a pretty good job. Because there's nothing too much in the background, I'd say that's job done. What you'll notice over here, in my Effect Controls, if I hit the Tilde, '~' key, there's just every single frame, Premiere Pro has put in a keyframe. If you do find that it's-- there's a couple of keyframes that need a little bit of work, let's pretend, let's have a look. 

Often when, like say my hand gets up there, where's my hand, it gets close to my head, sometimes the circle is my left and right arrow, sometimes a circle can latch on to skin tones in here, and then start moving away with it. So let's say that happens at this frame, so I can move left and right with my keyframes. I'm down here in my Timeline, left and right, just to find the right frame, and then decide, actually it's great until then, but now all of this other stuff is just gone. 

So I'm going to grab all of it, all these keyframes, and just hit 'Del', even that last one. Let's say it's wrecked from there, and I can start again, and by starting again, like play it forward, does it all automatically, and if automatically not working, you've got to be prepared for doing it on your own, which is every single frame. So that's why I cut it a bit shorter. Let's say that that's a bit wrong now, from here, so what I do now is I go forward 'step one frame', move it, step another frame, move it, step another frame, move it, step into the frame, and yeah, that's, that is painful keyframing for this mask. 

Let's say that it was just an, you know, sometimes you kind of have to do it for the entire video, which is no fun, but let's say that it's kind of back on track now, and the hand's gone, you're like, "I wonder if it'll pick it up now," that's where you might want to check this one again, because once you've kind of got past the bad bits, or it's confusing, or the face gets blurry, or say I look down and my hat covers my face, or I move off screen and I come back. 

Now because I'm back on screen and facing the right way, I can probably hit this again, and it will not do the whole thing again, it'll just carry on from there. That's why there's a forward and a back one. I don't know who does it from backwards, you can start at the end and move backwards from it, know that you can. So that's my little wobbly circle moving around. Let's do the longer, more painful but more accurate way. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to copy and paste that clip, so I've got another one, I'm going to delete the mask I've got, just hit, select the 'Mask 1', hit 'Del', and we'll use the 'Pen tool'. 

Now I'm going to give you like the real quick version of the Pen tool. The Pen tool is, if you haven't learnt it, or you find it tricky, it is tricky, and it's really, you know, I spent a lot of time teaching people in the Illustrator course, Illustrator Essentials, So if you, yeah, I'm not going to have a chance to do a video, how to use the Pen tool, I'll give you the blazing speed version, and if you do want to know more about it, look for Pen tool exercises, mainly in something like Illustrator, you'll find tutorials, you won't find many Pen tool tutorials in Premiere Pro. 

So let's-- I'm at the beginning of my clip again, I'm going to grab my Pen tool, and what I'm going to do is start drawing around it. I'm going to zoom a little bit, use these little scrubbers. I'm going to start, I'm going to get close, not bang on close because I don't need to mask it too much. So I'm going to click, hold, and drag for a curve, I'm going to click, hold, and drag for another curve, you get these little handles. If you want a corner, click once, click, hold, and drag for a curve. So just decide whether you want a curve or a corner. Click once for a corner, click, hold, and drag for a curve, and work your way around. 

If you are finding this tough and frustrating, it's okay, there's no expectation for you to know how to use the Pen tool just after this little tutorial. Where am I going? How to delete anchor points, with it selected hit 'Del', on the keyboard, no, it's not, with the Pen tool, hold down the-- oh, how do you delete anchor points? Do you know? I don't know. How do you delete anchor points in Premiere Pro? Just do it right, is what I'm going to do. I'm going to undo it until they're gone. There's got to be a way, drop it in the comments, if you've figured it out, or if you're an expert like me, clearly, but you've worked that out, it's strange, huh? 

To move anchor points you just click the center of them, move around, if you want, say something here's a curve, and it should have been a corner, because it does some weird stuff like this, you can click on it, hold down the 'Option' key, and grab this little handle, and it will break, and it will turn into like a little corner. Oh, if you hit spacebar, because you're from Illustrator land, it will not jump to the Hand tool. So let's move our way around, click, drag, break that little point by holding, the 'Option' key on a Mac, 'Alt' key on a PC, don't hit spacebar. 

So we've got our Pen tool, and it's going to be a similar sort of thing, where we decide on the feather, and I'm going to turn the feather down for this one. Yeah, we'll play forward and hope for the best, let's see how it goes. It's not going to go great, it's going to go up, because we're quite precise to the edges, let's have a little look. Let's have a click on the mask, because then you can kind of see it as it moves around. You can see it's kind of okay. 

So what we need to do then, is decide whether we want to go and do it frame by frame, or whether that's good enough. If there's any bit good, and we can keep in these frames, or whether we just start again. In this case I'm probably just going to show you how to start again, in case you have that problem. So remember, start at the beginning of our clip, where it is all nice and lined up, and we're going to go forward one frame, and then jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, it's actually fine there. Let's go for one more frame, and it's going okay. 

I'm going to go-- oh, actually I can't go full screen yet, I'm going to show you a shortcut. You can see now, it's getting a bit close there, you move along, now if you're finding this a bit frustrating, you're like, "Oh, why doesn't the anchor points, kind of automatically move around," because it's one big lump, that just kind of jiggles, and it doesn't, all these anchor points don't move individually. This might be a chance where you might go, "Actually I'm going to listen to Dan, and go learn how to use Rotobrush in After Effects." 

So Rotobrush 2 is a way that it does do that, it automatically locks on, and it's, this automatic play forward thing works magically in After Effects, it's called Rotobrush, and I've got courses on that, on After Effects, but even if you don't check out my course, just look out Rotobrush 2 After Effects, make sure it's a new tutorial, because they've had some changes to it that make it even better. So yeah, it works better but if you're in Premiere Pro, and you don't want to jump to After Effects yet, you can just move forward one frame at a time, and adjust. 

Now the one thing you might find, is that you really want a shortcut to move forward, because I like to go into full screen, which is Tilde, '~', and then move forward one frame, and there's no shortcut for that. I'll show you a shortcut, it's kind of weird, there's no way to set up a shortcut kind of. So I want to shortcut this thing, 'Track selected, Mask Forward 1 frame', so I should be able to go into my 'Keyboard Shortcuts', remember, under 'Edit', on a PC, 'Shortcuts', go in here and say, track, what's it called? Wait there. All right, Mask Forward 1 Frame, I can do this. Mask Forward, and it just-- there is no shortcut for it. I have figured out that you can do something that kind of works, it's called Step Forward, you're looking for the Step Forward, there's a couple of them, you want the one in the Program panel. 

So program monitors this thing up on the right, I want this step forward in this, you won't have a shortcut. So what you can do is add one, I decided to use Option. So I'm holding down the 'Option' key, I can see that, if you hold that Option, can you see, it shows you all the shortcuts you've already got. If you hold down Option, and on PC it's Alt. So I can see there's quite a few keys I want to use, I don't want to use these, because I have to take my hand off the mouse, I want to use one where I can hold down my Option key, which is there on my keyboard, and maybe just tap S, for no good reason. So that's what I want, I want S, so 'Command S'. Sometimes you've got to click it a couple of times, click in the box. So 'Command S' now is that step forward. 

All right, so now what I mean is, Tilde, '~' to go full screen, I can get myself into position, and start the long process of 'Option S', 'Step Forward 1 Frame', move mask, step forward, move it, I'm not moving much at the moment, it's okay, step forward a couple, a couple more, a couple more. So depending on what you're doing, you might not be a face, you can slowly but surely work this mask. With that shortcut, Tilde, '~', full screen, you've got a few anchor points in there, oh, 0, jiggle up, you'll notice it resets every time, I'm going to stop there because that is boring, but necessary. 

Sometimes you need to mask something out, we're going to do it in the next one. We'll use a similar sort of process to blur, faces and things, and logos, but if you do get to this stage it might be worth spending a couple of hours, getting the hang of Rotobrush, even if you don't use After Effects for much else, you can-- we'll look at a tiny bit of After Effects in this course, but you can right click and say, 'Replace with After Effects Composition', and it will throw that video, that clip into After Effects for you, ready to go, connected to Premiere Pro, and you can start smashing away at the Rotobrush, follow one of my tutorials or somebody's tutorials, and it will do a lot more better tracking. 

Is it easy just to jump to After Effects and start using it? No, it's probably best to do my After Effects Essentials course, or somebody's kind of intro to After Effects, see how you go, or stick in Premiere Pro and just do it one frame at a time, there's nothing wrong with it, just long. 

Actually, one last thing is, like we're not doing this to make my skin green, normally in practical terms, I'm doing things like grabbing this now, and can you see, it's a little bit red, a little bit over saturated, just because of the colors. I can bring this down and kind of change it, maybe, maybe go into here, and play around with the tint, a little bit magenta at the moment, kind of work on the white balance, but you can isolate it within this little mask. Anyway, that's what I mean, All right, on to the next video.