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Using Heat Distortion with (Luma) Matte instead of Mask??

PostPosted: 11/28/2017, 7:55 am
by rzanerutledge
So I love the power and look of the Heat Distortion plugin, enough that I bought multiple copies at my work studio for it to be a part of our arsenal.

But unfortunately, the clever but untraditional use of the mask tool is the only way to get really nice/pretty edge behavior from the effect. Is there any way to get the pretty falloff behavior of the plugin using a matte layer (like a luma, say), rather than needing to cut and keyframe a mask manually? This prevents us from using any kind of plate (of, say, fire) as the source of where you want the distortion! Having to key a mask is very limiting.

Obviously you can still use a mask with this effect, it just doesn't do a nice blend along the edge like the mask tool will. I guess the vectorness of the mask is being used as a convenient way to control and direct the distortion flow that a luma matte's greyscale values won't necessarily give, but it is a shame there isn't a way to get the best of both of these worlds somehow.

Any ideas? Workarounds? Techniques? Some crazy way to turn a luma key into a Mask?

Thanks in advance.