So – in my quest to create marketing materials – I create a LOT of work for myself. I’m currently working on a Team Fortress 2 styled ‘Meet the Team’ videos, and if you haven’t seen them, they are an absolute gem:
Now, since my game isn’t as nearly violent or frenetic, I also figured the pace might be a bit slower. And since my ‘team’ is my family, I need to reflect each a bit closer to their personalities. Hence, my “special musical guests” are my niece & nephew and since the early days of my project, they’ve enthusiastically geeked to my work, I wanted to give them a bit more pizzazz on their videos, especially since my nephew like special effects.
They had previously shot some footage for a ‘Meet the Playtester’ video and had a nice stable video of my nephew being chased by a sword twirling niece. Which I thought I’d goose up by masking them and dropping the shot in a gritty city environment from some of the Blender experiments I’ve been working on (namely the amazing Ian Hubert’s Lazy Tutorials)
The biggest hurdle is the masking.
According to most Blender tutorials, it’s best to mask parts of the body instead of the whole thing – meaning I’d be going through the same 6 seconds of footage masking out arms, bodies, heads and legs on 2 people moving. A lot.
And since they were running, the computer had a tough time interpolating keyframes on each node and I was going through all 186 frames, one at a time, to make adjustments.
I DID try the AI route using RunwayML and was massively impressed with how it did – you simply click areas you want masked and the AI did the rest. It did have trouble with the swords my niece was swinging, and it blanked a couple of frames, which I could never quite get right. Between that and the free version only outputting 720p I opted to do it by hand, the hard way. Until I either get funding or can justify the $150 subscription to upgrade.
All told, it was a LOT of effort to get 6 seconds on what will eventually be a TikTok video – but the kids were impressed, and I like taking their creative efforts and combining it with my own.
I’m just gonna greenscreen them both next time and save myself the back ache.