Multi-layer Still Photo Effects in Avid

Editing your digital photos, video or audio material with the effects of avid is one of the least destructive editing techniques that keeps the original source intact while creating a new digital item by transferring all changes (edits) to that new version. Below is an example of a still picture with a main object and solid background where the desire is to create a 3D effect with the main object coming closer (zooming) in accordance to its background. This effect is commonly known as the "kids stay in the picture" multi-layer effect.

Step 1. Preparation

As in all editing software programs, the higher resolution of the image, the better quality of the final product. Adjust your resolution before you import the image in avid. If the image is larger than the editing area, scale it down to fit and set it to constant. Also set both the X and Y position to constant (in a little square next to each letter).

Step 2. Creating Layers

To create layers for editing you need to cut out the object from its background. For that, you need to use the Spline object and Mask track. Before you start outlining the object, turn the fill option OFF (in the control panel). Now, right click and when the panel opens, click on "Spline object." A new layer will show up on your layer's palette.

Step 3. Cutting Out

Click on the new layer to open its content and choose Face track; click on it and among tools choose Pin to draw around the object. Make the outline by clicking often to create a precise cut-out. Now turn the fill option ON and you will see that the whole body of the object is filled with color.

Step 4. Masking the Object

To mask the object, start with selecting the spline layer and turning its eye icon off. Select the original layer, duplicate it (Control + D) and now turn the eye icon of this layer off as well. A third layer appeared in the layer's palette. Select this new layer to open its content. You will see the Mask track inside. Keep this open, go to the spline layer and turn its eye icon "On" dragging the layer on the Mask track inside the third layer. This way, you will get the main object floating in the air, separately from its background.

Step 5. Pre-Composition

Close the content of the third layer and now you have two layers in your palette again. Make sure that the eye icons are turned "ON" on both layers. Highlight the second layer and use X position's scale to move the cut out of the main object out of the screen. You will notice that the mask doesn't move along. To fix that, right click on the screen and from the drop-down menu choose "Track" and then "New pre-composition." Make the X position constant. Everything should move together now. You will notice that in the layer's palette, the second layer got renamed to Pre-comp. Put both layers into the 3 D container, by clicking on the track and choosing  the New 3 D container from a drop-down menu.

Step 6. Finishing Up

Highlight the pre-comp layer and set its Position Z to 3D (scaling on the left as you wish), set it to constant. Play with the Y position to give it an angle. To be sure how the final scene of your edit will look alike, go to the last key-frame at the timeline and then do the final adjustments to Y and Z positions. Click "apply." Render the effect, hit "OK" and you are done.