Using The Surface Tracker To Simplify Complicated Power Window Operations

November 25, 2022

Learn how to apply a VFX-style workflow to color grading (replacing the tedious operation of tracking multiple power windows independently).


Series

Surface Tracker Part 2: Simplify complex Power Window operations during color grading

In the first part of this series, I showed you how to use the surface tracker in Resolve 18 to build or track masks on moving surfaces. This makes it a powerful tool for color grading, but its VFX functionality can also be used for color tasks.

In this Insight, you’ll learn how to apply a VFX-style workflow to color grading (and replace the tedious operation of tracking multiple power windows independently).

Using the Surface Tracker where qualifiers/keyers fail

When troubleshooting this plugin, one of the first places to look is in the Result tab to make sure you've chosen the correct Output operation.
When troubleshooting this plugin, one of the first places to look is in the Result tab to ensure you’ve chosen the correct Output operation.

At the end of this Insight, we’ll look at a shot where a typical keyer won’t work to isolate an object and where tracking a power window may not work well. The overall process looks like this:

  • Apply the Surface Tracker
  • Create the ‘bounds’ of your selection
  • Generate the ‘mesh’
  • Track the mesh
  • Copy the node and paste it to a new node
  • In the new node, switch the result to ‘Rewarp Stabilized Clip’
  • Route the foreground and background properly into the ‘Rewarp’ node
  • Perform multiple color operations across multiple nodes between the two Surface Tracker nodes
  • View your awesomeness and refine/troubleshoot as necessary

This workflow is great for situations like faces, where you may want to do 3 or 4 individual windows – but have trouble tracking each small feature. Using the surface tracker, you can use all the same tracking information to drive multiple nodes simultaneously.

Remember, you need to route the pipes between nodes properly and make sure the Operation in the Result tab is properly selected on both the Stabilizing Node and the Rewarping Node.

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight, you should understand:

  • Why this workflow needs the surface tracker applied to a corrector node and NOT as an OpenFX node (dropped directly on the node tree from the OpenFX Library)
  • How to use the surface tracker to stabilize a section of a shot
  • Using multiple nodes and power windows on the stabilized section without needing tracking
  • Using the surface tracker to re-introduce the original motion on the corrected section of the shot
  • How to route the surface tracker node inputs
  • How to utilize timing, ensuring your power windows line up where you want them, especially when refining your Power windows

Related Mixing Light Insights

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

Is this Insight useful to you? Let us know! Mixing Light is all about community discussions, and we’re curious if you found this helpful, if you have something to add, or if you have more questions you need answered?

– Joey


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Comments

Homepage Forums Using The Surface Tracker To Simplify Complicated Power Window Operations

Viewing 4 reply threads

    • Jim Robinson
      Participant

      Really glad you guys went into the surface tracker. It is by far my favorite new OFX, and with these insights, it is proving to be a huge time saver as well.
      When I first say youTubers putting logos on faces, it it had not been for you guys, ( Joey and Igor ) I may have missed the potential of this OFX – Thanks a lot guys.


    • Carey D
      Participant

      Nice one Joey!

       


    • Ron S
      Participant

      great info. this will change my approach

       


    • JALIL BOURNE
      Participant

      you are the best Joey


      • Joey D’Anna
        Participant

        Thanks so much!


    • Gabriel M
      Participant

      This is invaluable information. It opens up to so many creative stuff. The surface tracker it really is a killer feature.

Viewing 4 reply threads
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