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Tutorial: Applying Effects to a Portion of a Image with Adobe Premiere Pro’s Track Matte Effect

This tutorial demonstrates how to apply an effect to a portion of a video image while leaving the rest of the clip untouched, and how to track that portion of the image throughout the duration of the clip, using the Track Matte effect in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Here’s what’s going on. Basically, we’ve divided the clip into two components, as divided by the matte in Video 3. If we turn off the track output for the bottom clip, the screen goes black except for what’s inside the ellipse (Figure 9, below), which tells us that everything outside the ellipse is being provided by Video 1, while everything inside the ellipse is being supplied by Video 2.

Figure 9. With the track output for Video 1, we see only the area covered by the Track Matte from Video 2.

So, if you want to apply an effect that affects everything outside the ellipse, you apply it to Video 1. If you want to apply an effect that affects just the portion inside the ellipse, you apply to Video 2.

So let’s say I want to make everything but my daughter black and white, as shown in Figure 1. First, I go to Video Effects > Image Control and choose Black & White, then drag it onto Video 1. Now we see the background, which is represented by Video 1, is black and white, while the foreground (my daughter, aka the elliptical area covered by the Track Matte) is still full color (Figure 10, below).

Figure 10. The Black & White effect applied only to Video 1.

If I wanted to affect just the foreground portion that’s covered with the matte, then I’d drag the effect onto Video 2, which would make my daughter black and white while retaining full color in the rest of the image.

Animating the Track Matte

Now that you’ve created the Track Matte, with the intention of applying it to a moving object in a full-motion video, how do you make the matte follow the object around? To begin, turn off the track output for Video 1 (making visible only the foreground part under the Track Matte, not the background part outside of it), so that you can see the area under the matte more clearly. To keep the object in view, you need to move the title around to match the motion that you’re seeking.

To begin, in the Effect Controls panel, under Motion, click the toggle animation radio button to the left of the Position control to make sure keyframes are enabled. If you needed to vary the scale of the matte throughout the clip, you would also set a keyframe for Scale. In this case, because my daughter moves only laterally within the clip, and essentially occupies the same amount of the frame at all times, I don’t need to set a scale keyframe.

With keyframes enabled, it’s just a question of adjusting the positioning of the mask to follow, in this case, the dancer, being as precise as you choose, depending on how much time you want to spend. Figure 11 (below) shows all the adjustments I made in the demo shown at the beginning of the tutorial video to follow her throughout the clip and keep her under the matte.

Figure 11. Keyframes created to keep the dancer under the matte throughout the clip. Click the image to see it at full size.

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