Post Production: How to Use Mattes to Broaden Your Effects

Mattes and matte painting are used to help generate images or alter images. Before using computers, these mattes were painted on glass. However, today it is possible to add these mattes using editing software. The principles of a matte are the same even though it is all done on the computer. By understanding how mattes work it will be much easier to use the different effects created by mattes.

Step 1. Tagging

In order to use different mattes for effects, it is necessary to tag each object in the image. This tagging makes it very easy to choose where you want the effects to go and what to apply the matte to. Many times mattes are added to the background but you should not be limited by this. It is possible to mask objects within the image itself.

Step 2. Choose the Mask

All video editing software will let you choose the type of mask to apply to the matte layer. Some of the more common masks for mattes include an image mask where you make a specific image disappear. A mask feather and mask shape that allows you to choose the type of effect. Soft edges, luma mask, blue and green screen and spill suppressor are other options. Blue and green screen allow you to completely replace the blue or green background with another image. These are but a few of the matte masks that can be applied to the video.

Step 3. Editing in the Timeline

The mattes can easily be applied by using the video timeline which shows the different clips. Select the clips to apply the mattes to and drag them onto the correct clips. This makes it very easy when using a variety of different mattes throughout the video.

Step 4. Matte Options

Each matte will have different options. You can choose the shape of the matte as the standard shapes include a round rectangle, rectangle, oval, and diamond. Other options include setting the horizontal and vertical scale of the matte to fit the correct size. It is also necessary to center the matte or it is possible to invert the matte.

Step 5. Tweaking

It is possible to add endless mattes in order to achieve the look that is desired. The possibilities are endless and ultimately you should try a few different things until you find the effect you like. Make sure you preview each effect and if there is space on the hard drive or disk save each matte effect. Going back and viewing each effect makes it easier to remember what each matte and mask does.

Step 6. Broadening Effects

These mattes broaden the effects because they mainly work on the contrast between the different objects. By softening edges and increasing contrast you get much bigger effects than could be accomplished by using filters on your camera. Additionally many of the results from using camera filters can be done by using different mattes in post production. Besides adding effects you can change the color composition of the scene. Your action may have been shot in your backyard but by the time you are done it actually takes place on Mars.