Hey guys, what are everyone's thoughts/tips on rig removal in a moving camera shot? Example would be a pan or a tilt shot where the camera is continuously moving at the same time as the character is moving.

Obviously the normal "take a static master background image and put it behind your frame in photoshop and delete the rig leaving your master background behind" doesn't work here because you would need a separate background shot for every frame.

Has anyone had luck with this? Is this a case where I would have to try deleting the rig using some of photoshop's newer tools like clone stamping, or content-aware fills?


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The best way is to shoot a "clean plate" of the move, which is simply animating the camera move again without your character. You'll need to have your move worked out with marks on a dial, or some other system that can be repeated precisely.

After you animate the shot, export a quicktime of the animation and import it into a new scene as a transparent overlay. Back up the camera to position one, and check your position compared to the overlay. If your marks are precise, and your camera-mover is solid, it should line up perfectly- but you might have to do some fudging to get it back to the start. Once everything's lined up, shoot the camera move again, checking the overlay to make sure the camera is lining up as you go.

That's great advice. Particularly if the camera move is basically linear. I was thinking more like complex camera moves, I have a geared tripod head and a linear slider (you can see it here: http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/forum/topics/stop-motion-camera-... ) so if I was to do a complex camera move with it, I guess I'd just have to take REALLY good notes about the moves I made!

Thanks, I'll definitely try that technique. Do you know if there is any merit to painting my flying rigs the same green as my greenscreen and using keying techniques to try to remove them?

For multi-axis moves, I'd recommend using Dragonframe's hand-cranked camera-move calculator (http://www.dragonframe.com/downloads/Dragonframe%20User%20Guide%20-... page 265)

No harm in painting your rigs green, but you'll still end up doing the same masking/painting that you would do if they weren't green. Sometimes a small green card (oriented flat to camera) placed right at the intersection of rig and character can help with the edge. But even a green rig will have shadows that won't register as green on camera.

Nice, I have only read through part of the Dragonframe user guide, (mostly I've read the quick start guide), but I should definitely read the whole thing! I know just getting everything set up for shooting is going to take a couple days... particularly because I'm a Nikon shooter, so it seems nikonians have more trouble than canon users...

If your camera move is complicated and done by hand so you can't repeat it perfectly, there is another way. You have to set up your puppet and rig so it can be taken out and put back in. One way is with it mounted on a hinge so it just swings out of the way, then swings back into place, with a stop so it ends up in the same spot.
Shoot the frame with the puppet and rig, then take them out and shoot a clean frame. Do your camera move, then shoot two more frames, with and without the puppet. This way the camera position does not have to be matched, since both shots are taken before it moves.
If the puppet is flying along and moving a lot itself, you can have the base of the rig sliding along a table top, with a rail along one side to locate it, and marks for each frame position, so you can lift it out and place it back in the next position.
Dragonframe has a way to shoot 2 frames where they go into 2 different folders, useful for frontlight-backlight or stereo 3d shooting.
After the shot is finished, I import the two image sequences into TV Paint, with the puppet and rig on the top layer and the background shot on the bottom, and erase the rig frame by frame. I think After Effects can probably do it as well. I have never tried using the framegrabber for any of this post production work, but if it can do it, why not? Maybe I should read the manual too!

Another great suggestion. I'm afraid with my current rigs (they are a double-ball joint style rig) that the swinging in and out of frame on a hinge would end up moving the puppet too much from frame to frame to ensure consistency...however, with onion-skinning in Dragonframe maybe I wouldn't have an issue there!

I'll be using After Effects for post production (and Premiere and photoshop where necessary) and I'm not totally sure about deleting out the rig from the top layer with After Effects, I think I could effectively create a moving mask that I can keyframe and animate along with the rig in the shots though.

My original plan was to import each pair of frames into Ps and delete the rigs in there, but maybe that is ineffecient.

An alternative to hinges, if there is nowhere to swing the rig away to or if the change in angle is likely to make the rig change position, is to have a base where one base fits on another with a couple of pins to locate it. A couple of spring clamps could be a quick-release way to hold it on. I'm thinking of something as basic as 2 squares of plywood, but you could also make up a pair of fibreglass plates wirh keys that fit together like mould halves.
Yes, you would use onionskin or toggling to check the position just to be sure. You put the puppet back and check the position before moving the camera for the next frame.
Tv Paint works like Photoshop, only it loads all the frames on a timeline, so I paint out the rig by hand. I haven't ever tried using moving masks in AE, I pretty much just use AE for keying. But I think it may have brush and eraser tools?

HA, not that I'm surprised with your massive experiential knowledge, but again with the awesome suggestions. I'll look into the tools AE already has available. I've used it a lot, but mostly for traditional animation style techniques and motion graphics. I think the newest iterations of Ps also have an animation set-up, but it's for tradition animation and i think each layer is essential the next frame, so I don't think I could put the pair of frames into the timeline in the same way as with Ae.

I'll do some experimenting with these ideas in mind. Thanks!

Photoshop Extended (I have it in CS 5) does let you load a whole shot onto a timeline, but I don't know if it can do that with two layers. I fiddled around with it a couple of years ago, but it didn't feel like they had thought it through, I couldn't actually do anything. And since I had TV Paint I didn't need to waste any more time on it. I think they didn't want to take on too many of AE's functions with it. Don't know what the current version is like, but Adobe has switched to a monthly rental system with their Creative Cloud, and there's no way I can ever justify that kind of expense ($50 a month for AE and PS here) on something that is mostly a hobby now.

Agreed! I have the CS5.5 master collection (got when I was a student, and still took me almost a year to work off) and I'll be using it until support is completely gone...and then some! But I'm a full-time graphic designer, so I use the suite every day...

I did try to do a short hand-drawn animation with photoshop, and eventually got through it, but it was kind of a nightmare...I'll stick with scanning drawings for sure.

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