URGENT... Plea for Workflow + method suggestions for crazy 1-day project

Hi guys…
Sorry to jump in here with an urgent request, but I’m at the end of a compressed video production schedule and I’m up against a wall here. Have to learn Mocha (I have Mocha 2.0 for AE CS5) and roto my project in one day (tomorrow). I’ve done a matchmove production and I’m about to enter the final phase, rotoscoping. Why did I undertake this production all by myself not ever having done it before? Because I’m a bit crazy.
I am working with a Panasonic Lumix FZ28 native file at 1280x720, 30p, MOV quicktime. Seems to load fine in Mocha. It’s a single shot that is about 8 and a half minutes long. See attached image for an idea of content.
Most of the time I am standing behind the board with my hands clasped. About twenty times, I make a gesture over the board and the 3d animation responds.
I need to rotoscope my hands and arms out of the 3d animation layer.
I’ve watched some mocha tutorials and I think I’ve got an idea of how to work, but I just want to get some suggestions on a workflow for rotoscoping this. Perhaps someone says, this looks easy! Here’s how you should do it. I just can’t afford to go down the wrong path, as an amateur, because it’s make it or break it time.
Any help appreciated! Hopefully people are getting daily updates on this forum so my plea doesn’t go unheard in the next 12 hours! :slight_smile:
Thanks a lot in advance for any suggestions (and specific tutorials) that might be helpful.
mpsyp

Hi mpsyp,
Personally I think it is extremely unlikely you will be able to complete 8.5 minutes of roto in one day to anything approaching decent quality, even using the mocha tracker to help.
Firstly, I would split he project into short sections. Working with a single sequence of that length in mocha will be cumbersome - it’s really designed as a shot tool. Make each segment about 200 frames long. You could try working with longer sequences but you might find performance suffers and it will be more difficult to manage all the layers.
The following tips might not be optimal workflow for someone experienced using mocha for roto, but might be a good way to start.

  1. If you haven’t already, watch the Steve Wright tutorials, or the Curious Turtle rotoscoping series:
    Learn mocha with Steve Wright (http://www.imagineersystems.com/learn-mocha)
    Cut and Shut: Paint & Roto Power Techniques - mocha & mocha shape (Boris FX | Purchase Training Products)
    Don’t skip this or you will regret it later.
  2. Each time your hand passes of the area and leaves again, use a new layer. Messing about with keyframing point visibility will cause confusion and take more time. Use the layer in/out point to control layer duration
  3. Use X-splines, not B?zier - they are better for tracking and offer better global adjustment tools.
  4. Don’t try to perfect the track - the hands are small objects and will have perspective changes. I suggest you track using translation only, or maybe translation/rotation/scale then keyframe anything else.
  5. Definitely use the approach of tracking on one layer, then creating another layer for the actual roto, linked to the track layer. This way you do not need to be afraid to trash your roto layer and start again if you get stuck.
  6. If you are finishing the shot in AE CS5, use the “paste mocha mask” function in the Edit menu. You can then feather your masks in AE rather than using the more sophisticated variable-width soft edge from mocha shape, which takes longer to render.
    Hope this helps and best of luck!
    J-P

Hi mpsyp,

Personally I think it is extremely unlikely you will be able to complete 8.5 minutes of roto in one day to anything approaching decent quality, even using the mocha tracker to help.

Firstly, I would split he project into short sections. Working with a single sequence of that length in mocha will be cumbersome - it’s really designed as a shot tool. Make each segment about 200 frames long. You could try working with longer sequences but you might find performance suffers and it will be more difficult to manage all the layers.

The following tips might not be optimal workflow for someone experienced using mocha for roto, but might be a good way to start.

  1. If you haven’t already, watch the Steve Wright tutorials, or the Curious Turtle rotoscoping series:

Learn mocha with Steve Wright (http://www.imagineersystems.com/learn-mocha)
Cut and Shut: Paint & Roto Power Techniques - mocha & mocha shape (Boris FX | Purchase Training Products)

Don’t skip this or you will regret it later.

  1. Each time your hand passes of the area and leaves again, use a new layer. Messing about with keyframing point visibility will cause confusion and take more time. Use the layer in/out point to control layer duration

  2. Use X-splines, not Bézier - they are better for tracking and offer better global adjustment tools.

  3. Don’t try to perfect the track - the hands are small objects and will have perspective changes. I suggest you track using translation only, or maybe translation/rotation/scale then keyframe anything else.

  4. Definitely use the approach of tracking on one layer, then creating another layer for the actual roto, linked to the track layer. This way you do not need to be afraid to trash your roto layer and start again if you get stuck.

  5. If you are finishing the shot in AE CS5, use the “paste mocha mask” function in the Edit menu. You can then feather your masks in AE rather than using the more sophisticated variable-width soft edge from mocha shape, which takes longer to render.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

J-P

Hi J-P,

First of all, thank you for your quick reply… it means a lot to me and I do not take your comments lightly. As I said, I really have to make it happen or it means 3 weeks of hard work (and quite a few dollars) down the drain. So I am staying positive and I will try to get a “halfway decent” result at a bare minimum.

One thing I was thinking of doing to speed up the process was to use a Procedural Matte shown in the curious turtle tutorials, using a high contrast image that separates my hands and arms from the area with the white board. Then I will only need to rotoscope the area where hands and arms pass through the small amount of 3d material at the top edge of the board. Does that make sense?

One thing to note, also, is that there are very long sections in the clip where there is no need for rotoscoping because my hands are out of the animation area. We’re probably only talking 1-2 minutes of screen time for rotoscoping, if that makes sense.

My idea is to make a matte and subtract it out of my 3d animation layer. I have about 36 hours to do it and however far I get will have to be good enough. I will start with your suggestions and see what happens. Surely I will be back to ask a few questions, hopefully you don’t mind if I ask a series of silly questions while I get oriented.

Thanks,
mpsyp

Hi guys…

Sorry to jump in here with an urgent request, but I’m at the end of a compressed video production schedule and I’m up against a wall here. Have to learn Mocha (I have Mocha 2.0 for AE CS5) and roto my project in one day (tomorrow). I’ve done a matchmove production and I’m about to enter the final phase, rotoscoping. Why did I undertake this production all by myself not ever having done it before? Because I’m a bit crazy.

I am working with a Panasonic Lumix FZ28 native file at 1280x720, 30p, MOV quicktime. Seems to load fine in Mocha. It’s a single shot that is about 8 and a half minutes long. See attached image for an idea of content.

Most of the time I am standing behind the board with my hands clasped. About twenty times, I make a gesture over the board and the 3d animation responds.

I need to rotoscope my hands and arms out of the 3d animation layer.

I’ve watched some mocha tutorials and I think I’ve got an idea of how to work, but I just want to get some suggestions on a workflow for rotoscoping this. Perhaps someone says, this looks easy! Here’s how you should do it. I just can’t afford to go down the wrong path, as an amateur, because it’s make it or break it time.

Any help appreciated! Hopefully people are getting daily updates on this forum so my plea doesn’t go unheard in the next 12 hours! :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot in advance for any suggestions (and specific tutorials) that might be helpful.

mpsyp

Hi J-P,
First of all, thank you for your quick reply… it means a lot to me and I do not take your comments lightly. As I said, I really have to make it happen or it means 3 weeks of hard work (and quite a few dollars) down the drain. So I am staying positive and I will try to get a “halfway decent” result at a bare minimum.
One thing I was thinking of doing to speed up the process was to use a Procedural Matte shown in the curious turtle tutorials, using a high contrast image that separates my hands and arms from the area with the white board. Then I will only need to rotoscope the area where hands and arms pass through the small amount of 3d material at the top edge of the board. Does that make sense?
One thing to note, also, is that there are very long sections in the clip where there is no need for rotoscoping because my hands are out of the animation area. We’re probably only talking 1-2 minutes of screen time for rotoscoping, if that makes sense.
My idea is to make a matte and subtract it out of my 3d animation layer. I have about 36 hours to do it and however far I get will have to be good enough. I will start with your suggestions and see what happens. Surely I will be back to ask a few questions, hopefully you don’t mind if I ask a series of silly questions while I get oriented.
Thanks,
mpsyp

After some exploration and taking your warnings into consideration, I called in reinforcements. I have a team of Hollywood roto artists working on it right now, I realized very quickly that this was too big of a job for me to tackle, particularly at the end of an exhausting production.

Thanks for your advice, I will return to it when I have some time to learn for myself what is involved with this phase of production.

Thanks,
Marc

After some exploration and taking your warnings into consideration, I called in reinforcements. I have a team of Hollywood roto artists working on it right now, I realized very quickly that this was too big of a job for me to tackle, particularly at the end of an exhausting production.
Thanks for your advice, I will return to it when I have some time to learn for myself what is involved with this phase of production.
Thanks,
Marc