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Merge Nodes

Lesson 8 from: DaVinci Resolve: Compositing with Fusion

Casey Faris

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Lesson Info

8. Merge Nodes

Casey shows you how to merge effects within Fusion.
Next Lesson: Masks

Lesson Info

Merge Nodes

Now let's talk about one of the essential nodes that we're gonna be using all the time in Fusion which is a merge node. We've already learned about the effect node where you run a image through it and a generator node that actually makes an image, but how do we put something over something else? I mean, this is what compositing is, right? If, let's say, we wanna put some two text over this, how in the world do we do that? Well, let's generate some texts. So I'll grab this Text+ and we'll just say Houses are fun. I'll hit 1 on the keyboard to preview this. We'll just switch to a nice font here, Houses are fun. So I wanna put this Houses are fun text over this blurry background so that we have a nice little graphic here. But how do I do that? I can't run an image into an image and have it actually work the way that I want. I can't run the image through it so... (grunting) What do we do? Well, remember, we've been talking about how every single step in this process needs its own node? Wel...

l, you need a node to be able to put something over something else as well, and that kind of node is called a merge node. So, here, kind of towards the left side of the middle of our toolbar here, to the right of our little divider is a merge. So I'll grab this merge node and drag it here. And now there are a couple things to look at. One is we have our output and we also have our yellow input, but we also have this magical green input that just showed up out of nowhere uninvited, willy-nilly, and just acts like it owns everything. Well, what is that? We didn't invite you here, green input. What are you doing? A merge has two main inputs because its job is to put one image over another image. So how does this work? Well, let's disconnect our blur from our media out and we're gonna put our merge in between our blur and our media out. and we'll just connect this to the yellow input and connect our output to our media out. Now, nothing has happened. And I think it's always pretty helpful to just walk through this flow and think about it logically, right? So media in is grabbing an image. I'll just load that in 1 as we talk about it. We're grabbing an image, then we're blurring it. Then the merge is going to put something over this, but we don't have anything connected to this top input, and so it's putting nothing over it. And then we're rendering it out. So it should totally look that way. So how do we put this text over it? Well, we take this text and we take the output of it and we connect it the green input. And now we have our text over our background. So this is essential because we're always putting things over other things. And the things that you can connect to a merge like this are images because a merge takes an image and puts it over another image. Now, you might notice that this effect is connected to our merge. I thought we could only connect an image. What is going on? Well, the blur is actually making an image itself, okay? 'Cause what we're really doing is we're changing the original image here to a blurry image, and so the output here is also an image. If we were to do something like get rid of our text here and disconnect our blur and put the that here, let's say we want to make this image blurry, sometimes what I see people doing is taking a blur and connecting it to our merge and then wondering why things aren't blurry. Well, the reason for that is because we don't put an effect over something; we always run it through something. That's why I've been harping on this. It might seem reasonable to put a blur effect over something, especially if you come from Photoshop, or from After Effects, or anything that uses layers 'cause sometimes you can use an adjustment layer and put a blurry kind of layer over something, but that's just not really how it works here. What we're doing is taking our original image, and I'll just hold down Shift and I can grab this and it will disconnect everything, and then I can mouse over this connection and drop it on there. I'm taking this blur and I'm running an image through it, and that creates a blurry image. Now I can take my text and put that into my merge, and it's putting the text image over the blurry house image and then we're rendering it out. So that's kind of the basics of how a merge works. If you select a merge, there are a bunch of different options here in the inspector, and these are all about controlling the foreground, so that's like the top layer here, in our case that will be the text. And I can grab the center and move that around, I can control the sizing, I can control the angle and all kinds of things about how my foreground appears over my background. This really only controls the foreground, so I can't rotate my background and my foreground from the merge node; I'm gonna have to add other nodes for that. But this is a nice, quick way if you just to wanna put something over something else really quickly but you don't want it quite as big. You can take that size down, and that's a really easy thing to do. That said, it is a good idea to not mess with stuff in the merge node because that can mess other things up sometimes, especially if you're doing stuff like tracking or trying to match the motion of your foreground and your background. A merge node can kind of mess things up. So if you wanna move something around, it's a really good idea to add a effect node called transform, which actually lives here sort of in the middle of our toolbar. I can grab this and drag that in between our text 1 and our merge, make sure that's connected. And now we are running this through a transform, which will give us the controls here in the inspector to be able to size this up and rotate it and a lot of the things that we could do in the merge node. But the advantage is that we can turn this off or on by clicking on this thing to kind of preview it. We can, of course, preview it here in either of our viewers as kind of a separate thing. And we can just see visually by looking at the flow of these nodes that, hey, we're taking this text and then we're messing with it. We're doing something before we put it over our blurry image. Whereas if we did this in the merge... I'll just delete the transform. If we did this in the merge, then it's a little bit more of a mystery because you can't see the controls for the merge, and so there's not really any hint that we're doing something with the text just by looking at the flow. That's the really cool thing about nodes is, it's really easy to tell kind of how things are put together because all of the steps are kind of laid out in a big map. Whereas if you have a bunch of layers and all of the layers have certain effects and a layer might have 15 different effects on it, it's kind of just hidden behind the curtain, and it's really hard to figure out what's going on. Some people really like this and some people are really annoyed because they're like, "Man, can't I just do everything in one tool?" Well, it's kind of just a different way of thinking about it. So, as a general rule, it's a good idea to do everything in separate nodes just so you have a little bit more flexibility later and you can tell what's going on just by looking at the flow down here. So I'll reset our merge and let's add that transform. I'll hit Shift + Spacebar and type XF, that's the shortcut for transform. And maybe I'll take this size down just a little bit. So we've already learned a ton about a bunch of different nodes and how they work together. Next, we'll be learning about masks.

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This is a great course. I'm an absolute beginner to Fusion (although I know a bit about the editing within Resolve). The course walks its students through the basics in a very easy-to-understand process. I feel confident that I can now use Fusion effectively for my videos. Highly recommended.

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