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Create your Own Blurring Spot Effect

Create your Own Blurring Spot Effect By Le Papy - Last updated on Friday, January 29, 2016
8116 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 1)
Category: Pinnacle Studio 21 & S16-S20 Tutorials / Edition, Pinnacle Studio 21 & S16-S20 Tutorials / Plugins  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Saturday, January 30, 2016
Created on Friday, December 4, 2015 10:31 AM

During the era of the 32 bit Studio, many users were using the "Spot" plugin from WLFfilter to blur a face ... But now with 64 bit Studio, nothing has replaced the plugin we enjoyed so much. Of course, it is possible to use the 2-Camera effect to blur a rectangle on a face, but this workaround is not appropriate for everyone. So I'm proposing you build your own blur spot (witness protection effect) with 2 variations:

  • A blurred disk version and...
  • A pixelated disk version.

Both versions use the NewBlue Video Essentials plugin. But users who don't have these plugins won't be forgotten.

Step 1: The Principle

I suggest you create two effect compositions from a combination of three existing plugins in the Studio Ultimate Versions starting with v18.

Depending on the composition effect used, you will get one of the results shown below.

The face is simply blurred The face is pixelated
Step 2: Integration of the Blur Sequence in Studio

Insert the first sequence to blur on A/V Track(2) for example.

Duplicate this sequence on the track below, A/V Track(3).

Double-click on the sequence on A/V Track(2) to access the Effects Editor.


Overview of the timeline used to blur a face
Step 3: Creation of the First Effect Composition

In the Effects Editor, apply the 7-Add-ons / NewBlue Video Essentials II / Vignette effect.

  1. Set the form (size and position) based on the face to be blurred.
  2. Set the frame with the Color values to plain green (R = 0, G = 255, B = 0).
  3. Set all border settings to zero.
Application of "Vignette" effect

Without leaving the Effects Editor, apply a second effect.

Apply the 4-Keyers / StudioChromaKeyer Effect.

  1. Note the presence of the Vignette effect applied first
  2. Keep the default settings.

The color green has become transparent. In the preview, you see the superposition of two images: the disk of the sequence placed on A/V Track(2) and all that is around the disk placed on A/V Track(3).

Application of "Keyer" effect

Again, without leaving the Effects Editor, apply a second effect.

Apply the 2-Camera / Blur effect.

  1. Note the two effects previously applied are still there.
  2. Adjust the blur amount using the Horizontal and Vertical parameters.
Application of  "Blur" effect

To save your effect composition:

  1. Click on the "Floppy Disk" icon in the upper right of the window.

  2. Enter a name for your effect composition (MySpot1 as an example).

  3. Click the "Save" button.


Recording an effect composition
Step 4: Creation of the Second Effect Composition

To avoid doing everything all over again, always stay in the Effects Editor. You have saved your first effect composition, we will start from the first effect composition and edit that to get our second effect composition.

For starters, remove the last effect you applied, 2-Camera / Blur by selecting it and clicking on its "Trashcan" icon .

Apply the 7-Add-ons / NewBlue Video Essentials VII / Quick Pixelator Effect...

  1. Notice the two effects previously applied.
  2. Keep the color that approximates the color of the skin by modifying it slightly if necessary to achieve a more efficient pixelation. Set the range and the block size.

Save your second effect composition as MySpot2 for example.

Applying a Quick Pixelator Effect
Step 5: Face Tracking Moving

Now that your two effects compositions are saved:

  • Take any video sequence to blur that you duplicated on the track below.
  • Apply an effect composition on the upper track sequence.
  • Put the cursor at the start of the sequence.
  • Open the settings for the Vignette effect.

Face tracking movement is accomplished by using keyframes. If you need to refresh your memory, you can consult the tutorial Keyframes in Pinnacle Studio Effects Editor

  1. Activate keyframing by clicking the diamond-shaped icon. Create as many keyframes as necessary. The more keyframes used means smoother face tracking.
  2. At each keyframe, set the X and Y positions for the blur spot so it covers the face. If needed, reset the width and height of the spot to modify the dimensions of the spot.
  3. Special feature: In the interim space framed in red, you do not need to blur. The width and height of the spot are set to zero: it is invisible.
Creating keyframes for the "Vignette" effect
Step 6: Alternative Solution for Users Who Don't Have the NewBlue Video Essentials Plugin

The old solution described in the tutorial Blurring the face of a moving person which consisted of using the blur in conjunction with the PLS-Spotlight transition included in HFX 15-Video and Film is still usable on the condition of changing the transition for the PLS-Spotlight transition included in Volume 1 HFX-15 Video and Film because it no longer works with the HFX Filter 64 bit. Let's implement this workaround for the Studio 16 and later versions.

Insert the first sequence to blur on A/V Track(2) for example.

Duplicate this sequence below it on A/V Track(3).

Double-click on the sequence on A/V Track(2) to access the Effects Editor.

  1. On the video on A/V Track(2), from 1 2D-3D, apply the default HFX Filter effect. Without leaving the Effects Editor, you can select A/V Track(3) in the browser at the bottom and the far left of the window.
  2. To the video on A/V Track(3), apply a 2-Camera / Blur effect as in step 3 above.


Overview of the timeline used to blur a face with the old method
  1. The HFX Filter effect is included in the 1- 2D-3D ribbon.
  2. Click the thumbnail of the HFX Filter effect.
Application de l'effet HFX Filter

Once you have applied your effects respectively to A/V Track(2) and A/V Track(3), your timeline should look something like this:

  1. The HFX Filter effect is applied with the default transition.
  2. Blur is already applied to the entire sequence located on A/V Track(3).


State of the timeline after applying the effects of the old method

We'll replace the default transition with the new 403-Spotlight2 transition and in Hollywood FX we will set size and position of the disk, based on the character's movement, using keyframes. More keyframes will mean the spot will more easily follow the face with a smoother movement.

From the Effects Editor:

  1. Select the HFX Filter effect applied to A/V Track(2).

  2. Click the "Open" button to go to Hollywood FX. Substitute the 403-Spotlight2 transition for the default transition and then you will create keyframes as explained in the tutorial Blurring the face of a moving person


Opening Hollywood FX to set the movement of the disc

The demo video shows the results of the three methods one after the other. Even after various adjustments, the Quick Pixelator method just wasn't good enough for me. I think the old way works better and is easier to use because the blur disk can be moved and resized with the mouse in Hollywood FX. This is why I do not always prefer modern plugins .. cool

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

{Screen Captures were made with the help of Snagit 12 by TechSmith}

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