IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

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funk-ulf
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IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by funk-ulf » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:49 am

Hi all!

I want to import a green screened filmed character into Anime studio.

I wonder if there is any kind of movie format (with alpha in it) that works in Anime Studio?

If not uncompressed, is there any kind of compression that will work?

I use Anime Studio 10 Pro.

Thankful for any suggestions on this matter!
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uddhava
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by uddhava » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:16 am

If you can I believe the best would be to export the movie as an PNG image file sequence and import that into Anime Studio.
Or you can export it a Quicktime movie with the settings for PNG and export the alpha channel that way.
Other members here are more expert than me and may have a different answer, though. :)
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by slowtiger » Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:18 pm

You need to process your video first in a video editor and replace the green with transparency, because AS can't do this.
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by funk-ulf » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:18 am

Thanks for replying slowtiger and uddhava!

I have tried a number of different movie types, both uncompressed and with different codecs but all of them crashes when imported into Anime studio...

I'm aware that the movie file must have transperancy in it, but is there any setup that works together with Anime studio?

I have not found a way to import a .png sequence, is that really something that can be done?

Thankful for all help!
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funk-ulf
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by funk-ulf » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:33 am

I found the problem!

I just needed to set the export settings to 32-bit instead of the default 24-bit in After effects.

And I use an uncompressed .avi format which make the files quite large.

Now it works, however the file needs to be limited in length for me if i want to keep the resolution 1920x1080.

I tried a 38 seconds clip first, and that did not work, then I made it 20 seconds and then it worked.

Thanks again for your help!
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Greenlaw
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:17 pm

Glad you found a solution.

To answer the PNG image sequence question, look under scripts and select Image > Import Image Sequence.... This automatically sets up a sequentially keyframed Switch layer using the image sequence.

I used this feature just last week because I needed to add a 3D animated element to a character that had to rotate 180 degrees when the character turned. I linked the sequence to the Smart Bone that rotated the character it worked perfectly. Tip: you'll want to set the Smart Bone frame range to match the length of the image sequence and use Linear keys if perfect synchronization is important. In my case, for example, I had a 48 frame image sequence so I set all the character's animation in the Smart Bone Action to end at frame 48.

G.
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:24 pm

Alternatively, if it's available, you could try 32-bit PNG as your video codec. This will save whole frames in the movie file using PNG compression, which will probably make the movie file smaller than the Uncompressed version.

FYI, this is just a suggestion; I haven't actually tried it myself.

Hope this helps.

G.

P.S., I don't know what it is you're trying to do of course but I was wondering, since you have AE, why not do the compositing there instead? AE is easier and way more capable for compositing than ASP is.
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by funk-ulf » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:27 am

Thanks, Greenlaw!

I sure will look into that!

I'm doing a interesting experimental project where a green screen filmed mascot character will integrate with animated objects, made in Anime studio.

I'm going to attach bones to the movie and other tricky things... :D
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by Greenlaw » Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:39 pm

I see. You have a few options in and out of ASP.

I don't feel live action green screen compositing is one ASP's strength's but it can be done. (I'm specifically talking about green screen footage here because it's actually fairly trivial to drop live action into the background layer and animate a 'toon' on top of it.) If you have actual un-keyed green screen video footage, you don't need a 32-bit movie file. Just import the movie file directly with no alpha or as an image sequence, and then use the Magic Wand tool to key out the green color. However, by comparison with AE, this is not a very efficient way to work with green screen since you'll have to do it individually with every frame. The result will probably be just okay if you're only checking as a test or if you don't mind chattering edges. (Compression quality has the biggest impact on edge problems.)

Alternatively, you also have rotoscoping tools available in ASP but that would be nightmare to do in ASP compared to After Effects which has many smart tools specifically designed for roto work.

Since you do have After Effects, the recommended approach would be to output you ASP animation with a transparent background as an image sequence, and composite in AE. For your green screen footage, key it out there using any of it's many chroma, green screen keying tools, or rotoscoping tools (depending on the quality of the GS, you may need to use a combination of techniques,) and then you can compositing both the toon and mascot against a separate background image or video footage.

By having separate layers for both the cartoon character and mascot in AE, you have better options for animating interaction and integration between the character and environment. For example, better 2D and 3D camera tracking tools (native and Mocha), and edge effects (matte choking, light wraps, etc.,)

Getting back to ASP, what you do want to import is reference footage to help you animate you ASP character against. What I would to is output the 'mascot' footage as a mid- to low-res JPEG image sequence, and import that as an image sequence to ASP. Set the generated Switch Layer to Do Not Render this layer, so the reference doesn't get composited with the output. The reason I use JPEG is because it will load from disk much faster, and since it's just for placement reference, getting the highest quality here is not very relevant.

You can then export the final animation as a PNG sequence for AE. (Personally, I use the Layer Comp feature to break my ASP elements up. You can also exclude layers from rendering this way, like the imported layer being used for reference.)

IMO, the result with compositing in AE should look much more professional and the task should be whole lot easier to accomplish there.

That's probably more info than you were asking for but I hope it helps.

G.
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by funk-ulf » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:15 pm

Thank you so much for all the feedback!

I got everything i need now... for this time. :D

You have been huge help!

I really like this forum because its so active and helpful!
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Re: IMPORTING MOVIE FILES WITH ALPHA?

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:15 pm

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: the import script is super fussy about naming conventions and it doesn't allow you to use numbers in the name. Apparently, the script confuses any number in the name as part of frame number. In other words, the naming convention for the sequence should look something like this: alphabetOnly_####.jpg

There's more info about other limitations and capabilities in the script's comments.

G.
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