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Creating Sticky Labels on a Movie Clip in Blender

What You’ll be Creating

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to add and animate sticky labels that follows an object, or multiple objects,in a movie clip. To do this I’ll be using Blender.


Preparing the Scene

Step 1

In a new file, right click on the default cube and light and press Del on the keyboard to delete them. Hold
Shift and then right click to select multiple objects.

Delete default objects
Delete default objects

Step 2

Select the camera and press Alt-R to reset its rotation and then Alt-G to
reset its location.

Reset the camera location and rotation
Reset the camera location and rotation

Step 3

Press 5 on the numpad to toggle off perspective mode. Press 3 on numpad to get into side
view. 

With the camera selected, press R and then type (minus) -90 to rotate it
90 degrees counter clock wise. Press Enter. Move the camera away from the
center. 

Use the 3D manipulator to move the object or you can use the G key.

Rotate and place the camera
Rotate and place the camera

The scene and camera setup is now ready.

Scene is ready
Scene is ready

Loading the Movie Clip

Step 1

Click on the window type button of the 3D view port and change it to Movie Clip Editor.

Switch to Movie Clip Editor
Switch to Movie Clip Editor

Step 2

Click on the Open button and browse for the move clip you wish to add labels onto. I used free video from Video.net

Open footage
Open movie clip

The movie clip is now visible in the editor, and is ready to be tracked.

Movie clip loaded
Movie clip loaded

Step 3

In the properties window, click on the camera button to bring render settings. In the Dimensions panel set the End frame of the
rendering range.

Dimension settings
Set the end frame

Step 4

In the Movie clip editor’s tool shelf, and in the Clip panel, press the Prefetch button so that the movie clip is
preloaded into to the computer’s RAM for faster playback.

Prefetch the clip
Prefetch the clip

Adding Markers and Tracking Them

Step 1

Ctrl-primary click on the movie clip to add markers where you want to add
labels. Choose a high contrast pattern so that the markers are easy to track. 

 You can preview the pattern in the Track Panel.

Adding markers
Adding markers

Step 2

Secondary click on the marker to select it. In the tool shelf and under the Track
panel, press the play button to track the marker.

Tracking markers
Tracking markers

Press Shift-left arrow button to go to first frame and then press the play button or
press Alt-A to play the clip. You will see that the marker is tracked.

Playback controls
Playback controls

Step 3

Similarly add another marker where you want the next label to appear.
Again choose high contrast pattern so that it is easy to track.

Adding and tracking markers
Adding and tracking markers

Step 4

Click on the Reconstruction menu in the toolbar and select Link Empty to Track. This will add Empty object where the markers are.

Linking Emptry to Track
Linking Empty to Track

Step 5

Click on the window type button and switch back to 3D view.

Switch back to 3D View
Switch back to 3D View

Here you can see the empties which were generated in place of markers for
further use in 3D view.

3D scene with Camera and Empties
3D scene with camera and empties

Creating Labels

Step 1

Press 0 in the numpad to enter camera view.

Camera view
Camera view

Step 2

Hold Shift and secondary-click on the empties to select them. Press
S key
and move the mouse to scale them down. Primary-click to confirm.

Scaling the empties
Scaling the empties

Step 3

In the properties panel, and under the Background Images panel, tick the checkbox beside the
Background
Images

Press N to toggle on properties panel, if it is not visible. Click on the Add Image button.

Adding background video
Adding background video

Step 4

Click on the Movie Clip button. Uncheck the Camera Clip and press the
Open button to browse for the movie clip. 

The clip will serve as background reference which will be helpful while pacing
the labels.

Background image settings
Background image settings

Step 5

Use the Opacity slider to adjust the transparency of the background movie clip / image.

Background image settings
Background image settings

Step 6

Secondary-click on the Empty to select it. Press Shift-S and select Cursor to Selected. This will snap the 3D cursor with the Empty. 

Any new object which is added, appears where the 3D cursor is.

Snapping cursor to empty
Snapping cursor to empty

Step 7

Press Shift-A and add a Text object.

Adding Text
Adding Text

In the toolsshelf, under the Add Text panel, tick the Align to View check box, so that the Text is facing the camera.

Aligning text to camera
Aligning text to camera

Step 8

Right click on the Text to select it. Press S and move the mouse to scale it down. 

Press G and move the text wherever you want.

Scaling and placing the text
Scaling and placing the text

Step 9

With the text object selected, press Tab to enter edit mode. Delete the default text and type in the name of the label. 

Press
Tab to exit edit mode.

Editing the text
Editing the text

Step 10

In the properties window, Click on the F button. In the Font panel click on
the folder button and browse for the desired font.

Text settings
Text settings

Step 11

Press Shift-A and add a Mesh>Plane. This will be the background plane of the
label.

Adding background plane
Adding background plane

In the toolshelf and under Add Plane panel, tick the Alight to View checkbox so that the Plane is
facing the camera. 

Ensure it is still in the camera view.

Aligning plane to camera view
Aligning plane to camera view

Step 12

Press G and move the plane to make the text come in the center. 

Press
Z to toggle on wireframe mode.

Placing the plane
Placing the plane

Step 13

Press Tab to enter edit mode. Press A to select all vertices and then
S to scale them down. Primary-click to confirm.

Scaling and editing the plane
Scaling and editing the plane

Step 14

Adjust and tweak the points to make the plane cover the text. Secondary-click to
select any vertices and G to move. You can also use the arrow manipulator to
move the vertices.

Editing the plane
Editing the plane

Step 15

Press Ctrl-R to create an edge loop. Primary-click and then move the mouse to
bring the new loop to the side. Secondary-click again to confirm the position of the new loop cut.

Adding loop cut
Adding loop cut

Step 16

Press A to deselect any selected vertices. 

Press B and drag select the bottom two points. 

Press
E to extrude new face. 

Primary-click to confirm the position.

Extruding vertices
Extruding vertices

Press Tab to exit edit mode. 

Press Z to toggle off wireframe mode.

Back to object mode
Back to object mode

Step 17

Secondary-click on the text to select it. 

Click on the material button in the properties window and press the
New button to add a new material for the text.

Adding new material to the text
Adding new material to the text

Rename the material. In the Diffuse panel, primary-click on the color bar
to select the color. 

Under the Shading panel, tick the Shadeless checkbox to make the
material and color shadeless.

Material settings
Material settings

Step 18

Secondary-click on the background of the label to select it. Again, click on the
materials button in the properties window and press the New button to add a new material.

Adding new material to label background
Adding new material to label background

Rename the material to anything you want. In the Diffuse panel, left click on the color bar to select the color. 

In the
Shading panel, tick the Shadeless checkbox.

Material settings
Material settings

Step 19

Hold Shift and then right on the text first and then secondary-click on the label background. 

Press
Ctrl-P and select Object. This will set the label background object as parent for the text. This means
wherever  you move the label, the text will follow.

Object relationship settings
Object relationship settings

Select the label first and then the Empty. Hold Shift and then right
click on the objects for multiple selection. Press Ctrl-P and select Object to
make the Empty parent object. This means the label background will follow the
Empty.

Making the Empty parent object
Making the Empty parent object

Step 20

Press A to deselect all objects. Secondary-click on the label background and
press Tab to enter edit mode. Select the last two vertices as shown in the
image. 

Press Shift-S and select Cursor to Selected. This will snap the 3D cursor
to the selection.

Snapping the Cursor to selection
Snapping the Cursor to selection

Step 21

Press Tab to exit edit mode. In the toolshelf, under the Edit panel, click on
the Set Origin and choose Origin to 3D Cursor (press T to bring out the toolshelf if it is hidden).

Moving the origin point
Moving the origin point

This will snap the origin point (the orange dot) to the 3D cursor. This will
be the pivot point for the rotation and scaling of the object.

Origin point moved
Origin point moved

Step 22

Press Shift-left arrow to go to first frame. Press Alt-A or press the play button to play the movie. You’ll see that the label is now following the empty.

Preview the movie clip
Preview the movie clip

Step 23

Press B and drag select the text and the label background.

Selecting the label
Selecting the label

Press Shift-D to make a duplicate copy of them. Place it where you want the
second label to be, near the second Empty.

Duplicating the label
Duplicating the label

Step 24

Select the new label background first and then its Empty. Press Ctrl-P and select
Object to make the second empty parent object.
Now the new label background will follow the second Empty.

Parenting the new label to other empty
Parenting the new label to other empty

Step 25

Select the text and press Tab and edit or change the text. Press Tab again to
exit the edit mode.

Editing the Text
Editing the Text

Select the label background and press Tab to edit it.
Move and tweak the vertices accordingly. Press Tab to exit edit mode.

Editing the background plane
Editing the background plane

Now go to first frame and then press the play button to preview the clip. Use
the playback control buttons.

Preview the movie clip
Preview the movie clip

Animating the Labels

Step 1

Ensure you’re in first frame. Use the playback buttons to go to the first frame. Click on the Auto-Keyframe button. This
will add keyframes automatically.

Turn on Auto-Keyframe
Turn on Auto-Keyframe

Step 2

Right click on the first label and press S and then 0 (zero) to scale it down.

Scaling down the label
Scaling down the label

Step 3

Go to frame number 10 by dragging the timeline.

Go to frame number 10
Go to frame number 10

Step 4

With the label selected, press Alt-S to reset its scale back to normal.
The keyframe for scale is automatically inserted.

Reset the label size
Reset the label size

Use the playback controls to go to first frame and then play the animation.

Preview animation
Preview animation

Step 5

Go to the frame from where you want the label to start disappearing.

Go to last few frames
Go to last few frames

Step 6

Right click on the label background and press S and then type 1. This will automatically insert keyframe with the same size.

Insert a blank keyframe
Insert a blank keyframe

Step 7

Drag the timeline to move to next few frames.

Advance few frames
Advance few frames

Step 8

Right click on the label background and press S and then 0 (zero) to make it
disappear.

Scale the lable down to zero
Scale the lable down to zero

Now go to first frame and play the animation.

Preview the animation
Preview the animation

Step 9

Similarly do the same for the second label.

Animate the second label
Animate the second label

Step 10

You can also tweak the timing of the animation. Drag the corner of the 3D view to split the window.

Split the 3D view
Split the 3D view

Click on the window type button and select Dope Sheet.

Switch to Dope Sheet
Switch to Dope Sheet

Step 11

Here you can see the keyframes of both labels. You can collapse and expand them by clicking on the arrow marker.

Dope Sheet view
Dope Sheet view

Step 12

Right click on the keyframe to select it and then press G key to move it. 
You can offset the keyframes of one label so that it appears after the first one. Preview the changes by playing the animation.

Move the keyframes
Move the keyframes

Compositing and Rendering the Final Clip

Step 1

Press F12 and render a frame. You will see that the movie clip does not appear in the background.
You need to use the compositor to fix that.

Rendered image
Rendered image

Step 2

Click on the Screen layout button and select Compositing.

Switching to Compositing layout
Switching to Compositing layout

Step 3

Tick the Use Nodes checkbox.

Tick Use Nodes checkbox
Tick Use Nodes checkbox

You will see two nodes appear as default.

Default Nodes
Default Nodes

Step 4

In the Node editor, press Shift-A and add a new Input node. Select
Movie Clip.

Add Movie Clip
Add Movie Clip

Click on the dropdown list and select the move clip. You can also use the Open button if the clip does not appear in the dropdown list.

Browse for movie clip
Browse for movie clip

Step 5

Press Shift-A to add another node. Click on Color and select Alpha Over.

Add mixing node - Alpha Over
Add mixing node – Alpha Over

This will help mixing the labels onto the background clip.

Alpha Over node
Alpha Over node

Step 6

Connect the Image output (yellow dot) of the Alpha Over node to the
Image
input (yellow dot) of the Composite node.

Connecting Alpha Over node to Composite
Connecting Alpha Over node to Composite

Step 7

Similarly connect the Image output socket of the Movie Clip node to the first
Image input socket of the Alpha Over node. Connect the Image output
of the Render Layers Node to the second Image input socket of the
Alpha Over Node.

Node setup
Node setup

Step 8

Connect the Alpha socket of the Render Layers node to the Fac socket of the
Alpha Over node.

Node setup
Node setup

Step 9

In the Properties window, click on the Camera button to bring out the Render options.
In the Shading panel, select Transparent for Alpha. In the
Post Processing
panel, tick the Compositing check box.

Render Settings
Render Settings

Step 10

In the Output panel, set the directory where you want to save the
rendered movie. Select MPEG for File Format. Under the Encoding
panel, Select MPEG-4 for Format and select MPEG-4(divx) for
Codec
.

Render Settings
Render Settings

Step 11

The movie is ready for rendering. go to any frame in-between and press F12 or the render button to render a frame. To render the complete animation, use the
Animation button in the Render panel. Make sure the Dimensions are correct and
matching those of  the movie clip.

Render Settings
Render Settings