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Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Specific to Premiere Elements Version 7.

Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby rtk1958 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Hi all,

I've created two separate track matte sequences each using still images. Each sequence has a form where there's a background image on video track 1, a foreground image on video track 2, and a matte image on video track 3. The matte is actually the same matte in both sequences, just re-applied using different background and foreground images. Since each sequence is separate, the matte is duplicated and added to each sequence individually as a separate matte image. Both track matte sequences are working fine.

I would like to smoothly transition from one sequence to the other using something like a simple cross-fade transition which I applied equally between the cut points of the images on each of the three tracks. However, the transition appears to have no effect on the track matte images since when playback reaches the cut point, there's always a hard cut from the end of the matte in sequence one to the beginning of the matte in sequence two. This happens all at once in a single frame so it's not smooth at all. Maybe overlapping track mattes in a transition is not allowed, but PrEl allows you to put a cross-fade transition between track matte images on the timeline, so I assumed it'd work.

Any suggestions on how to smoothly transition between track matte images of adjacent track matte sequences?

Thanks,
Todd
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Re: Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby Steve Grisetti » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:05 pm

That's probably not going to be possible in Premiere Elements, Todd. At least not on a single timeline.

Most likely you'll need to output each matte effect sequence as a DV-AVI or AVC file and then import the finished videos into a project and apply the transition between them there.
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Re: Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby Bob » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:38 pm

Transitioning the two composite track matte sequences is not the same as transitioning the individual tracks that make up the two sequences. The compositing/rendering order is different and you can get quite different results. For Premiere Elements, which does not allow multiple timelines per project, to get an accurate cross dissolve you would need to do as Steve described and export each track matte sequence and then transition those on a new timeline.

However, that said, for a cross dissolve doing it the way you described, I would have expected you to still see some kind of transition and not just an abrupt change. You should not put a transition on the matte (track 3). Try putting the transition on just track one and see if the background dissolves. Then, add the transition to track two and test again. Are you still getting abrupt transitions when you do that?

Remember also, that for video clips, you need some trimmed off tails for the transition's use.
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Re: Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby rtk1958 » Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:06 pm

Thanks Steve and Bob for the helpful information. I'm trying to find a way to avoid creating each of the track matte sequences as separate .avi video clips if I can. So, I've compromised a bit on my original intent.

Note that I'm using still images for everything so there should be no worries about having enough leading/trailing frames for the transitions. The transitions on the foreground and background tracks look and behave normally.

Track 2 (with the foreground images) has a simple motion applied, a slow zoom-out of the image, throughout each sequence. Track 1 (background images) is identical in all respects to the foreground except it's blurred a bit. My original intent was to have the matte window slowly expand while the foreground/background content was zooming-out. This meant that the last matte frame of one sequence would be a different size than the first frame of the next matte sequence, so I had hoped to use the cross-fade to smooth the matte transition out. This didn't work as I originally reported.

I decided to omit expansion of the matte window and just leave it at a constant size while the foreground viewed through it slowly zooms-out. I also removed the transitions from all the mattes. So, the mattes have no motion or applied transitions. The thinking was that if the matte was the same size and didn't change in every sequence, no special transition would be needed as the matte would be identical between sequences allowing for a smooth cut from one matte to the next. However I then noticed that the motion on the foreground seemed to effect its matte, i.e., the matte was slowing zooming out in sync with the foreground. This then changed the size of the matte as the sequence played causing matte transition problems again.

I then tried deleting all the separate matte clips and replacing them with a single matte clip spanning all the sequences thinking this would give me an identical (size, position, etc.) looking matte over every foreground clip. It didn't. Instead the matte appears as different sizes over different foreground clips which I assume is due to the foreground clips being different sizes/aspect ratios/resolutions. This surprised me as I expected the matte to be independent of its foreground image and separately controllable. However, it appears as though they are quite interdependent.

Does any of this make sense? :conf:

Thanks for your help,
Todd
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Re: Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby Bob » Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:32 pm

Does any of this make sense? :conf:


Yes, it does. What you've run into is a result of Premiere Elements compositing/rendering order.

When you apply multiple effects to a clip, the effects are applied one after the other. The default order is the order that you added them. If you display the clip's properties panel you will see the built-in effects (e.g. Motion) at the top followed by the effects you added in order from top to bottom. With the exception of the built-in effects, that is the order the effects are applied. For some odd reason, the built-in Motion properties are applied after the effects you add. And, that's causing the problem.

To see this, remove the key frames from just the Motion properties of the foreground clip and the matte clip and make sure the values are at the defaults so there is no motion or scaling going on. Now add the Transform Effect from the Distort effects category. Make sure it is in the list after (i.e. below) the Track Matte Key effect. Open the Transform properties. You'll notice that although they are listed differently, there are position and scaling properties like there are in the Motion properties. Use these instead of the ones under Motion and try moving the position and scaling sliders -- make sure the uniform scale check box is ticked. What you should see is the same thing you would see if you were changing the Motion properties including the effect on the matte. Now, click on the header for the Transform effect and drag it up past the Track Matte Key effect until you see a line appear. Drop the Transform effect to place it before the Track Matte Key effect. Now repeat the experiment with the sliders. This time, you should notice that the changes in position and scale are affecting the foreground clip but not the matte. One warning though, there is a bug in the Transform effect dealing with the scale. If you increase the scale to 100 percent or higher, the position will change -- that's a bug, it shouldn't do that.
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Re: Applying Transitions between Track Mattes

Postby rtk1958 » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:33 pm

Thanks Bob, that definitely makes sense. I didn't know the effects were applied in the order listed nor that you could re-arrange the order manually. But then again there's lots of things I don't know. :-k

I'll try removing all Motion effects and using a Transform effect before the Track Matte effect as you suggested and see if I can get PE to apply the Track Matte after everything else. Seems the default Motion effect should be applied before the Track Matte, but like you said, the behavior I'm seeing is odd. Maybe PE's internal effect order somehow gets out of whack with the order displayed in the properties window. Thanks for the heads-up on the Transform effect bug as I am using scale values greater than 100%.

Appreciate the help!

Todd
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