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TOPIC: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images?

Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224578

  • MythicThomas
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Hello LW community, making my first post here after lurking my way through a few introductory projects.

My main goal with the software is producing some nice looking video-essay style clips for my work. Ideally I can intersperse footage of myself speaking against a background (with a pic-in-pic for reference next to me) with cutaways to other images or footage.

Getting that picture-in-picture is fairly simple with DVE, but I'm running into problems whenever I try to get more advanced with it. I'd like to be able to have more than one PiP track overlaid onto my main video at once so I can add a little motion and visual interest. For instance, in the example image I've attached I'm explaining the connection between 3 comic books - I want to be able to fade in the image of each book as I bring it up, but keeping the earlier ones in my shot so they overlay and show a nice visual connection. Really basic stuff like that.

Right now each comic cover is an image on its own video track with its own DVE, and it's simple enough to squish and stretch and move those around using keyframes. My issue is that I can't get my "top level" DVE to blend more than 2 inputs (FG and BG), so my 3 different PiP tracks have to be layered onto one another instead. The 3rd PiP image track is the FG for the 2nd PiP image; that DVE becomes the foreground for the 1st PiP image, and then that is the foreground of the top level DVE (with the footage of me talking + backdrop as the background).

Of course then the issue I encounter is that the 2nd and 3rd PiP images are constrained by the boundaries of the DVE from the layer above - they can't move outside their background! And even if I expand that background to the size of my "work area" and rescale the actual images to fit, I'm left with an ugly blank black background I can't key out!

I managed to get my 1st PiP to be "floating" by making ANOTHER DVE above it where I insert a flat green slide as the background to the PiP image and then chroma key it out, but that is still a compromised solution as it limits what I can do with the opacity etc. of the PiP images. It also doesn't help when it comes to trying to overlay multiple PiP images, as with my comic covers example. I've attached a photo of my current routing for you to shake your heads at knowingly

Anyway, I'm certain there's a way to do this but none of the tutorials or other topics I've found seem to address it directly. Is there an easy way to:

1. Have a DVE where one BG has several FG inputs which are independent of eachother?
2. Layer the contents of multiple video tracks over one another as described without resorting to DVEs?
3. Set a DVE to have a *transparent* background, other than the clumsy green-slide method I tried for the 1st layer, so I can scale up the area of the DVE beyond the actual image displayed?

WRT the last one I suppose I could edit all my images to have large transparent backgrounds baked into the files, but that gets messy instantly and I'm sure there's a way to do what I want within the software. Any advice greatly appreciated, especially if it happens to be in the next day or so!

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Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by jwrl.

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224579

  • MythicThomas
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Forgive my double-inserted image there - is there not an edit button on these forums? Ah well. 2nd image in the attachment.

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224581

  • hugly
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For me, not the double posted picture appears to be the major problem, but the long text. Let's see if anybody finds the time for reading it closely and understands all your problem and can answer all your questions.

I won't, except of one sentence: The Lighworks effects engine is node-based rather than layer based, it's all about the correct routing of effects.
It's better to travel well than to arrive...

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224582

  • MythicThomas
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OH - actually, there's a vastly higher-level question I should ask!

IS THERE ANY WAY TO EITHER DISABLE AUTOMATIC RECONNECTING/"TIDYING" OF THE ROUTING GRAPH, OR OF SIMPLY EDITING THE PROPERTIES OF AN EFFECT TO ADJUST ITS FG/BG INPUTS???

I ask because there is NOTHING more difficult when learning the ropes of a program than having the thing you're working on whip around and drastically deform at the drop of a hat, with no notice, no confirmation, no indicator of what caused it or why. And nothing more annoying than trying to reverse-engineer the logic of an unfamiliar system as you try to make the routing line up as you want it.

Case in point - I figured I'd experiment with duplicating my "green slide" setup to the layers described above and not only did the routing graph fight me every step of the way, shuffling things around and inserting them at seemingly random points - but now it has somehow replaced all the routing blocks for my different video tracks with duplicates of V1, and I have no idea how to re-add them or get the effects which were on them back in the right place.

I'm sure somebody could explain how this all follows totally normal routing logic but the point is that this abstraction does more harm than good. Just throw an error message if I try to hook things up in a nonfunctional way, or better yet let me toy around with such "inert" versions of the graph until I stumble upon one that Lightworks approves. Just don't corrupt my whole project (which I can't undo far enough to fix) without warning or notice...

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224583

  • MythicThomas
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I can't fault anyone who doesn't have 5 minutes to read my post, but I'd assume anybody that unmotivated to help probably wouldn't offer a useful answer in the first place. Thanks for proving my point hugly!

I've already spent hours fiddling with the routing of effects. I'm asking what the best practice is regarding that routing in my situation, because I can't make the intuitive solution work.

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224584

  • hugly
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It's better to travel well than to arrive...

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224585

  • MythicThomas
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I promise you, I watched both of those videos before even starting with Lightworks. I've also done my diligence trying to google existing threads and glean solutions from there - specifically to avoid wasting people's time. Now I finally try making my own thread to answer a question not covered there, and all you can do is condescend to me? What's the point of that?

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224590

  • jwrl
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MythicThomas wrote:
I'd like to be able to have more than one PiP track overlaid onto my main video at once so I can add a little motion and visual interest. For instance, in the example image I've attached I'm explaining the connection between 3 comic books - I want to be able to fade in the image of each book as I bring it up, but keeping the earlier ones in my shot so they overlay and show a nice visual connection.

OK, that is comparatively simple to achieve. Check out USING MULTISCREEN EFFECTS TO BUILD COMPLEX IMAGE GROUPS first, though. Then check out MULTISCREEN EFFECTS. There are four effects there which may get you what you need. I know that Quad split plus is designed to overlay up to four images over background video, because I wrote it, but I would think that any effect listed there would be able to do what you need.

MythicThomas wrote:
the issue I encounter is that the 2nd and 3rd PiP images are constrained by the boundaries of the DVE from the layer above - they can't move outside their background!

That's because your routing is incorrect. That's happened because you've got your video layers inverted. V1 should be where V6 is now, and vice versa. Likewise, V2 and V5 should swap, and so should V3 and V4. Finally, you (or Lightworks) seem to have swapped fg and bg in several places too.

In any case, it shouldn't be a problem with the multiscreen effects that I've suggested that you check out. You certainly won't need to insert a flat green slide as the background then chromakey it out!

MythicThomas wrote:
Is there an easy way to:

1. Have a DVE where one BG has several FG inputs which are independent of eachother?
2. Layer the contents of multiple video tracks over one another as described without resorting to DVEs?
3. Set a DVE to have a *transparent* background, other than the clumsy green-slide method I tried for the 1st layer, so I can scale up the area of the DVE beyond the actual image displayed?

Question 1 is already addressed in my suggestion above. Question 2 is a qualified "no" - qualified because there are other effects that can be used to overlay shots, but to do what you want, no (but see below). Question 3 is a definite yes - all that you have to do is crop the image that you overlay.

If you've read this far you will see that I have answered the questions that you have asked. However now I will tell you the way that I would do it, and it wouldn't use a DVE.

First, add an image key effect to your background video and choose the image that you want inside the effect. You don't need to import your images at all with this effect. Then scale, position and crop the image to do what you need it to. You will also be able to fade the image in and out using the opacity control in the effect.

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Then just add more image keys and adjust them as well. Since each can load a different file you will have all the flexibility that you need, without using a DVE at all.

PS: By the way i have deleted your double image and inserted the second one in its place. You should be able to do that yourself by clicking on the menu button - "Edit" should be an option when you do that.
Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by jwrl.

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224591

  • jwrl
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One further suggestion: I notice that you are using flip to invert your image. I assume that you're also using flop to correct the left-right orientation, although that's a bit hard to tell. There is a custom effect called Flip flop that does both at once with the same system load as either of flip or flop. That's what I've used in the screen grab above.

If you want to use any of the custom effects that I've directed you to you will find instructions in CUSTOM EFFECTS INSTALLATION.
Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by jwrl.

Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224592

  • RWAV
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An operational hint - when working with complex VFX (or simple too really) there is less grief if one adds VFX nodes manually rather than allowing, LW in this case but really any node based compositing software, to second-guess what one wants to achieve.

The attached is a simple demonstration of how that's done -

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Re: Layered PiP/"Floating" Images? 1 month, 3 weeks ago #224597

  • jwrl
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I agree completely. It's what I usually do too. However when I set up the screen grab that I posted I applied effects in the order of Flip flop/Colourgrade/Ckey/Image key/Image key/Image key. The routing is what Lightworks did automatically. I did it that way because I wanted to test that even a beginner wouldn't run into problems with routing.

However I do have one final thing to add. You can define the area over which you want the image effect(s) to operate by marking one end of the region and parking at the other. Assuming that your effects all start and end at different times the effects will be placed on unique effects tracks. In that case the upper section of the above route will look like this.

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Last Edit: 1 month, 3 weeks ago by jwrl.
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