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Can you turn a video of a silhouetted person into a shape layer

Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023

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I've been searhing around and not finging anything on this. Maybe I'm asking the wrong way or maybe it's not as simple as I'm thinking it could be. 

 

Basically I have a video of a dancer in front of a green screen. I removed the background and turned her image completely black, so she is a plane black silhouette. 

 

I've been learning about animating shape layers and the cool things you can do with repeters and watching this tutorial on how to make infinite tunels with shape layers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyxcsMnr7kY

 

I was thinking it would be pretty cool if I could do something like this with my dancer silhouette, but I'm not coming up with anything other than makeing a bunch of copies and manually adjusting the size... it sounds like a huge time suck and very processor intensive. 

So how would I do something like this?

In this After Effects tutorial, we will learn how to make a trippy infinite looping tunnel using repeaters. 👉 Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motion.by.nick/ 👉 Take my NEW COURSE: https://gumroad.com/l/motionupgrade
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LEGEND ,
Jan 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023

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It's gonna be a time suck no matter what method you use. Repeating complex contours is a whole different thing than simple patterns. That aside there's a million ways to create outlines from applying a stroke layer style to doing an auto-trace to create a mask path. The repetitions can then be created with the Echo effect, alternate "video feedback" effects or using shape layer repeaters. Point in case: It's doable, but will require some work and patience.

 

Mylenium 

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023

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Thanks for your response.

So, how would I get from where I am now to being able to use a shape layer repeater? I tried putting a stroke layer on, that worked no problem. How do I get from that to being able to apply a shape layer repeater? Do I need to use auto trace to create a mask path and then is there a way from there to convert that to a shape?

I'm ok with work an patience, I just want to make sure I'm going in the right direction. 

 

Using echo doesn't get the look I'm going for here. I don't want the repetitions to be based around the subjects movements. 

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LEGEND ,
Jan 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023

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You can copy & paste mask paths to shape paths. The auto-trace will just make them complex, so you may run into issues with performance as well as consistency of the shape.

 

Mylenium 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 31, 2023 Jan 31, 2023

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The easiest thing to do would be to generate a simple silhouette copy of your dancer by keying or color controls, or even rotoscope, pre-compose moving all attributes, then use Layer/Create/Mask from Layer. When you get to that point make sure Preview is turned on, then simplify the path as much as possible. 

 

When you get that far, select the mask path with all its keyframes, start a new shape layer with no fill and a stroke using the pen, move to the first frame of the comp, click anywhere in the new shape layer with the pen, and paste. 

 

Repeat for every path in the created layer. Hopefully, there is only one or two of them. 

When that is done, use the Add: Offset Paths tool in the shape layer and create as many outlines as you want. As long as the path isn't too complex, this should render fairly quickly.

 

One more workflow suggestion: Pre-edit your dancer footage, make sure each shot you use is short and clean and create a new comp for each shot. The average shot in my edited movies is less than 7 seconds, so almost all of my AE comps are seven seconds or less. I render production masters from each comp and do the final editing in my NLE. 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 05, 2023 Feb 05, 2023

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Thanks for your help everyone!

 

I was able to make this work with auto-trace. It's definitely a bit time consuming becasue it made like masks for a pretty short video clip.  But it worked and it looks great! But I want to do this for several more clips so finding an easier workflow would be great. 

 

I'm trying to follow the steps you layed out, Rick, but running into some snags. I have the video all keyed out and silhouetted and pre-composed with all attributes moved. But when I open Leyer/Create all options are greyed out and there is no "Mask from Layer" Option.

 

Is there somewhere else I would find that option? Maybe I'm on a different version of AE? I just got the software so it should be the latest version. 

 

Thanks!

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 05, 2023 Feb 05, 2023

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You want Auto Trace, not Create Masks from Layer.

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