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Masking Basics: Transparency Masks

In ProShow Producer you can use transparency masks to creatively control the visibility of images and videos in your slides. Any image can be used as a transparency mask unlike grayscale masks, which rely on light vs dark colors. The only things that matter when you use transparency masks are the size, shape and location of the masking layer.Continue reading

Masking Basics: Grayscale Masks

Create visually stimulating effects with masking in ProShow Producer. Masking is a powerful tool that gives you the ability to conceal and reveal underlying layers.

Follow along in this quick step-by-step tutorial video using the grayscale mask to control the visibility of your images. A basic rule to remember for grayscale masking is light reveals and dark conceals. Get started!Continue reading

Spotlighted Show: VideoMelange


This week’s spotlighted show comes from Andreja Sitar all the way in Austria. Andreja runs VideoMelange Slideshow Studio, she loves combining photos, videos, audio and text to tell her stories through video. Continue reading

Creating a Spotlight Effect with Text in ProShow Producer

Learn how to make a spotlight effect in ProShow

In a recent training video, we showed a really neat effect of a spotlight highlighting an individual in a group photo and then a caption appearing under the photo. We had a ton of requests on how to re-create this effect in ProShow Producer, so the steps are below!Continue reading

Create a Moving Clouds Effect in ProShow Producer

Today’s guest post comes from multimedia producer, Paul Sparrow. His recent video ‘The Rockies‘ spurred a ton of questions from readers about how the ‘moving clouds’ trick was created. Paul shares the step-by-step instructions on how to re-create this effect in your own slideshows below.

When producing an AV show I always consider how the first minute of the production will effect the audience. No matter what kind of show you’re doing it should have a strong opening…something that will “grab” the audience.

In my recent production “The Rockies” which highlights the awesome power of the Canadian mountain range, I wanted to start the show with some striking black & white imagery of the mountain peaks with low lying cloud banks to draw the viewer into the show.

The shots themselves were dramatic on their own but I decided to add some movement in the clouds that were drifting over the hills in the distance, to add that sense of dynamics to the otherwise static imagery. This necessitated using a number of techniques in ProShow Producer as well as Photoshop to accomplish the believable but subtle movement. Here’s how it was done.

Start with a Base Layer

Figure 1

In ProShow Producer, I started out with my “base layer” which was an image that had trees in the foreground behind which had low lying clouds rolling over the mountains in the distance. For my “animated” layer I added a second image on top that had similar clouds that would act as the “moving” bank of clouds.

The trick was to make the cloud layer appear as if it were moving in the distance “behind” the foreground trees to make the effect convincing.

Create a Mask in Photoshop

Figure 2

First I had to create a mask in Photoshop of the base layer tree line image.

I used a variety of “feathering” and “painting” techniques to create a blending of the masked area so it would transition nicely to the unmasked area, which in turn would reveal the moving cloud bank.

Add a Masking Layer in Producer

This file was saved as a jpeg and now in Producer was added on top of the cloud layer as a “Mask Layer”. The resulting effect was to “hold back” the foreground and trees so the moving clouds would not show over this area.

Pan the Layer to Create Movement

Figure 4
Using Producer’s motion keyframing feature, I added a left to right pan on the cloud layer to give the appearance of moving clouds drifting behind the foreground trees.

But even though this layer was “masked”, to prevent it showing overtop of the trees on the layer below, the effect was still not as convincing as I’d like. Because this layer was opaque by default the moving clouds completely covered those that were in the layer below.

One way to alter this would be to change the “opacity” of the moving cloud layer so that the layer below would partially show through. But that would have created the effect of “transparent” clouds that were not at all realistic.

What I was after was a blending of some of the clouds in this moving layer with the static clouds in the layer below so you would see some moving clouds and some static clouds that would create the appearance of clouds at various distances moving at different rates.

Use Chroma Key to Finish Off the Effect

Figure 5
To accomplish this I altered how the densities of the moving cloud layer blended with the static layer below. This was done through the use of the “Chroma Key” option in Producer which allowed me to alter which tones would register and which would not. I could keep the moving cloud layer at 100% opacity but “knock out” the darker tones, allowing only the lighter tones of the moving layer to reveal themselves.

This ultimately gave the appearance of one bank of clouds moving over the mountains in front of the another bank of clouds to create the subtle effect of various clouds moving past each other as you might see when they roll over the mountains.

Watch The Rockies video in its entirety here.

Copyright Paul Sparrow 2014


The Ultimate Guide to Masking in ProShow Producer

The Definitive Guide to Masking in ProShow Producer

Masking is one of those powerful tools in ProShow Producer that lets you create some truly spectacular special effects in your videos. If you’re looking for some help getting started or are ready for some advanced techniques, look no further! We’ve rounded up the top training videos, articles and inspiring videos featuring masking in-action below!

Masking Training Videos + Articles

  1. Intro to Masking in ProShow Producer: This video gives you a great overview of using masks in Producer and you’ll step through a simple masking example to get started.
  2. Intermediate Masking in ProShow Producer: In this video you’ll learn how to create a transparency mask using different shapes for spectacular results.
  3. Advanced Masking in ProShow Producer: Learn how to combine masking and keyframing to create advanced animated effects in your shows.
  4. Use a Text Layer as a Mask in ProShow Producer 6: Learn how to create a really unique text layer mask to use for intro slides, word montages and slick dividers.
  5. ProShow Producer Manual: The ProShow Producer manual covers masking in great detail and it’s free to access as a PDF download. Starting on page 399 you’ll find the chapter on Masking.

Masking Examples In-Action

  1. Urban Photographer of the Year: Watch the beginning of this video to see a cool masking technique at about the 19 second mark. A text layer is used like a stencil to reveal images below.
  2. Curious Critters – A Picture Book for All Ages: Producer’s masking feature allowed the designers of this video to create a playful intro using a circle mask to reveal the ‘critters’ featured in this picture book.
  3. ProShow Producer 6 Demo Video: Scattered throughout this inspiring video are great examples of masking in-action. You’ll see a few right off the bat with paint brush strokes acting as masks!


How To Use a Text Layer as a Mask in ProShow Producer 6

One of my favorite new creative features in ProShow Producer 6 is text layers. Any caption in your slideshow can now be converted into a text layer, thereby unlocking new abilities previously limited to photos & videos, including the use of advanced effects like 3D tilt motion, blur and masking. (Learn what Text Layers are and how to use them in this article.)

Moving beyond the basics, this how-to shows you a really powerful, practical and cool application for text layers, that you can easily create and adapt an infinite number of ways based on your personal style and type of show you’re making. Let’s begin.

Create a “Moving Word Reveal Effect”with Text Layers

Set up the basic effect

  1. Start by creating a new slide containing any photo or video clip you want. You can also work with an existing slide if you’d like.
  2. Set the slide time to 1.0 seconds. In our example, the transitions are 3.0 seconds.
  3. Double-click to open up the Slide Options dialog for the slide.
  4. Set the photo layer to Fill Frame to make the image completely fill the screen (under Layer Settings > Scaling > Fill Frame) -or- (Use KB Shortcut -> Ctrl + Alt + 1)
    Set the photo layer to Fill Frame.
  5. Click the (+) button in the left-hand column by Captions to add a new caption — type any word you’d like. It’s best for this example to choose a simple word or company name that is not super long or has a bunch of spaces in it. Some examples of suitable words: “style” / “travel” / “family”, “amazing”,”passion,” etc.
  6. Set the caption formatting to your liking (font / size / color / alignment / position). For this example, I’ve chosen the popular Mission Script font, 140pt, white, center aligned, and I just sort of eye-balled the position, using the composition lines as a guide so it looks centered (since this particular font happens to not be quite vertically centered).
    Set your caption formatting.
  7. Convert the caption to a layer > Right-click on the caption and select ‘Convert To Layer’
    Convert your caption to a layer.
  8. You will notice that your caption is no longer in the Caption section. It’s now located in the Layers section of the left-hand column of the Slide Options dialog.
  9. Now, let’s set the timing and motion. With the text layer still selected as the active layer, click on the Effects tab. In the keyframe timeline, make sure that the markers for KF1 and KF2 are moved to the farthest, opposite ends of the timeline. (This is just to ensure that the effect spans the full length of the slide plus its incoming and ending transitions. If you prefer, you can always make the effect end before the slide).
    Add timing and motion to your layer.
  10. Click on keyframe 1 and drag the text layer in the preview area to the left so it’s just outside of the visible area of the screen and you can’t see the text anymore. (Tip: If you hold down the Shift key while dragging, it will temporarily lock the vertical position while you drag, keeping the pan Y position the same as before – same as Photoshop).
    Arrange the text layer on your slide.
  11. Note: If your Pan settings currently are set to ‘Smooth’, click on the blue hyperlink and change it to Linear (this will make your left to right pan motion move at an even, consistent speed).
    Change your pan settings to Linear.
  12. Click on keyframe 2 and repeat the same drag step except this time, move to the right instead. Be sure to move the text layer slightly off-screen as before.
    Repeat the steps but move to the right instead.
  13. Review your progress so far by clicking on the Play preview button in Slide Options. You should see your text layer scroll in front of the image from left to right.
    Hit play to review your progress.
  14. This next step is where the magic of the effect happens. Right-click on the text layer and select ‘Use as Masking Layer’. Once masking is turned on, the text layer will serve as a ‘container’ for the image below it, so you will see the image, but only in the area where the text layer is. (Not sure how masking works? Get tutorials & videos here).
    Turn your text layer into a mask.
  15.  Click the Play Preview button again to see the change that masking made to the moving text effect. The result is that the text reveals new parts of the hidden photo as it moves across the screen, now creating a sense of intrigue, mystery and drama.

Creative Variations of This Effect
As you might imagine, this basic effect can be adapted in so many ways – watch the video below to see the basic effect in action, along with some variations to get your creative juices flowing.

Ways to use this effect in your slideshows:

  • Use it for your main title slide or a really bold caption (add a subheading or additional text if you want)
  • As slick divider slides in shows with distinct sections of content (e.g. ceremony / reception / etc.)
  • Word montages (chain 3-5 single-word slides together in succession) —perfect for commercials, presentations or any show intro. It’s a bold, visual way to showcase a set of values (e.g. passion, precision, craft!). Also works well for displaying a series of events, place names, or features. I guarantee, it’s much more engaging than just writing the same words in dull bullet point format.

Got the latest version of ProShow Producer?
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