BackSpiceMaster -- TUTORIAL -- Powerfully Enhance Black & White Mattes

Most editing software can load a black & white (or grayscale) still-image graphic as a matte to show another clip within a shape. But at that point, there is not much more you can do with the matte. To make even a slight adjustment to its edge, position, shape, etc. you typically need to return to a graphics program and attempt changes by trial and error -- wasting valuable time.

With SpiceMaster, you can avoid that tedium. Load the matte and then easily fine-tune it. Reposition or re-scale the matte on the fly, for example, perhaps add a shadow, glow or softness to the matte's edge. You can even organically animate the edge, if desired. Virtually all effect enhancements in SpiceMaster are available to you.

Note that you can also use this feature to add creative, organic edges (fixed or animated) to frame still-photo compositions or picture montages. Or fly and zoom mattes from 0% to full-screen to create custom iris transitions of logos or thematic shapes.


1. Apply the SpiceMaster transition between two overlapping clips in your timeline. Or apply the SpiceMaster as effect to the TOP clip of the matte segment. If you applied the SpiceMaster as effect, be sure to also activate the alpha channel key in the TOP clip, if required by your editing software.

2. Click Load a Pre-made Effect button in SpiceMaster, then choose the Basic Setup -- Matte file from the Saved Settings folder.

3. Choose a matte, which can be any spice file (especially those of iris-like design) or a custom still-image file. To choose an iris-like spice file, for example, click the Choose Spice button, then select a spice from any of the following folders of the Library: OrganicFX\Bursts, OrganicFX\HotIrises, OrganicFX\Plasmas (some), or Spices\Irises. To choose a custom matte file, Alt-click the Choose Spice button to see an Open dialog box. Choose the black & white still-image graphic on your drive that you will use as a matte. It will then appear in SpiceMaster.

Spice file controls

4. If you are using a spice file to form the matte,
adjust the keyframe value for Progress up or down, until you have the matte you desire. (For iris-like spices, this will set the size of the iris opening.) If you are using a custom matte file, leave the Progress keyframe at its default 50% level.

You are done, unless you want to customize the effect further. To customize the matte's edge, use any of the controls in the Edge or Depth panes. To soften the matte edge, for example, use the Softness sliders. To animate the matte edge, use the Texture section and activate its Motion slider. Dynamic borders, shadows/glows and bevels are also available for mattes -- try the various presets provided in the Section Presets at the top of each effect section.

Example Image


• To reposition or scale the matte,
drag the Spice > Center handle (or adjust the Matte in the PIP+ pane).

• To reposition or scale the image within the matte opening, adjust the Image controls in the PIP+ pane. This can be very handy to keep a moving subject within the visible matte area.

• To change the opacity of the matte,
drag the Opacity slider in the PIP+ pane as desired.

• To keyframe any of the above adjustments, such as to put the matte in motion, first turn on (click) the round Animate icon at the right of the relevant control (such as Matte > Scale). The Keyframes graph for that control will appear. Go to a desired frame for a keyframe, such as the first key. Then do the desired adjustment for the control, such as setting the Scale to 0%. Go to another frame (such as the last frame), then set different values for the control. Repeat for as many keyframes as desired.

• To invert the matte, click the Invert button under the Choose Spice button.

• To switch which clip appears within the matte in the SpiceMaster transition, click the Switch Clips check box in the PIP+ pane.

• For best results,
custom mattes should match the frame size of your final output (such as 720x480 pixels for DV). The files can be in any of the following file formats: BITMAP (.bmp), TIFF (.tif), PNG (.png), PICT (.pct), and TARGA (.tga).

• You can also use the alpha channel of a still-image (such as title text) as a custom matte.

• To create custom iris transitions with any iris-like matte, keyframe the Matte > Scale slider, such as from 0% to 200%. This will zoom the matte shape to fill the screen, as shown below.

Example Images

To zoom the inside image with the matte, do the above keyframing, and keyframe the Image > Scale slider identically to the Matte > Scale slider.

Example Images

More examples

Example Image Example Image Example Image Example Image

SpiceMaster can add creative, organic edges to frame clips, whether video or still-photo compositions or picture montages. A huge variety of edge treatments are possible by experimenting with the Edge and Depth pane controls and presets, as shown above. Texture controls add the organic edge; turning on the Texture > Motion slider animates the edge.

Example Images
Another example of a zoom transition of a matte, using a Photoshop file of an abstract brushed frame, with a white border added in SpiceMaster. Note how the matte can zoom in off-center and flow with bezier control.

Example Images  View movie at our web site
Enhance a ID logo matte with a border and shadow applied in SpiceMaster, then scale the logo from full-size to a standard semi-transparent corner position.

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