E4.2 Teeto times 2: Masks and Mattes

The video footage I chose was a short clip of ‘Teeto’, the cat next door.

This is short clip is a preliminary part of a project ‘Quicktime Tales’ – a series of narrative vignettes for VisCom Sustaining Your Practice SYP work using sketchbook, experimental animation/video and creative writing about animals – wild and tame – in my garden.

The video here duplicates ands overlays one short iPhone video clip to produces ‘twin cats’ that interact. I used After Effects Rotobrush to extract the cat from a short clip. In order to facilitate the extraction I increase the contrast and sharpness of the original iPhone clip resulting in a bleached effect. I then overlay the clip in the foreground and horizontally flipped on top of an offset version of the original footage.

I find the somewhat unnatural exact duplication of the cat and interaction produces a very eerie effect. I am planning to develop this short video further, combining elements of different videos to make a longer narrative.


Choose a piece of footage and an animation that you have produced for this course unit thus far. Combine elements from both of these into a single short film using basic compositing techniques. You are welcome to add other elements as well, such as still images and text, or to develop new footage to work with.

The purpose of this exercise is for you to explore the use of mattes and other compositing techniques. You will need to access software that has the capacity for this, such as Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Nuke or others. At the very least you should be able to access layering and opacity with basic masking in programs like iMovie. All editing software has the capacity for basic forms of compositing.

You may need to search for the appropriate tutorials online for your particular software. It is up to you how much you would like to use this exercise to learn new compositing skills but feel free to invent your own techniques, analogue or digital, to combine the two videos.
Upload your compositing experiment(s) on to your learning log as well as a short reflection highlighting what you have learned.

Creation Art Effects Black and White Duotone Effect.
Creation Art Effects Charcoal Effect

Mask produced with AE rotobrush. This is still a bit rough because I had to do it with a mouse. And was quite taxing on my RSI because of that. I am currently restricted by my hardware set-up and need to make myself a proper animation space to use my graphics tablet after an office move and computer upgrade.

The application of Creation Art Effects templates for After Effects are quite interesting in the way image dissolves into chaos at the end. This is because the contrast between the shapes and the background is not high enough for clarity. This chaos and dissolve can be reduced through reworking the source video, possibly requiring some line rotoscoping. Or I could use the chaos more strategically for narrative effect. Something I want to experiment with further for SYP.

See also further experiments in my overview of the Creation Art Effects templates in Assignment 4 of this module.

Mask in AE Rotobrush.

Research on Masks and Mattes


Made with Padlet