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I need help cloning away objects from a mirror that actors walk in front of

New Here ,
Aug 03, 2020

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In After Effects, I'm trying to clone away unwanted objects that are being reflected in a rectangular mirror. So the objects are not free floating where Content Aware Fill can easily track it, they touch the bottom edge of the mirror the entire length. So I have been using a reference frame from Photoshop that I made while attempting to make Content Aware Fill work, I'm using it as a time remapped layer under the source footage layer. The source footage has a mask layer around the mirror "Subtracted" so that the reference layer shows through. My problem is that the camera moves slightly, so I need to get the reference layer to move its' position and track with the camera movement in the source layer. How do I get that reference layer to seamlessly move with the mirror in the source layer? Or is there another way to solve this a lot faster? People walk infront of the mirror and the objects so I need to mask around them as well, so I'm trying to find the best solution. Thankfull for anyones help!

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I need help cloning away objects from a mirror that actors walk in front of

New Here ,
Aug 03, 2020

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In After Effects, I'm trying to clone away unwanted objects that are being reflected in a rectangular mirror. So the objects are not free floating where Content Aware Fill can easily track it, they touch the bottom edge of the mirror the entire length. So I have been using a reference frame from Photoshop that I made while attempting to make Content Aware Fill work, I'm using it as a time remapped layer under the source footage layer. The source footage has a mask layer around the mirror "Subtracted" so that the reference layer shows through. My problem is that the camera moves slightly, so I need to get the reference layer to move its' position and track with the camera movement in the source layer. How do I get that reference layer to seamlessly move with the mirror in the source layer? Or is there another way to solve this a lot faster? People walk infront of the mirror and the objects so I need to mask around them as well, so I'm trying to find the best solution. Thankfull for anyones help!

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Aug 03, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 03, 2020

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If the camera moves, tilts or pans, you need to motion stabilize the shot so that the mirror does not move. Then you need to create mattes every time an actor comes between the mirror and the camera. The matte only needs to cover the mirror and only needs to start when an actor enters the frame of the mirror, and end as soon as they exit. Rotobrush might work, but it will probably take some hand roto and combined with procedural matte. When the mattes are created for every actor you can combine them in a single pre-comp and use that as a track matte for the replacement image for the mirror.

 

When all of that is done you can add a null to the comp, tie the position, rotation and scale of the null to the Anchor Point, Scale, and Rotation of the stabilized footage, then move to the first frame of the comp and parent the replacement image, the track matte pre-comp and the stabilized footage to the null to put the movement back in the shot and add it to the replacement image and track matte.

 

 If the camera is locked down you can eliminate the motion stabilizing. If the camera movement is erratic, you may need to do a Stabilized Corner Pin workflow to help simplify the roto work. 

 

Here's what one of the frames of the shot you sent us would look like as you are creating the matte:

Screenshot_2020-08-03 21.35.41_sxo18C.png

I used Curves and Linear Color Key to create a black matte for the hair then added a rotoscoped white layer to hide the other objects in the mirror and leave the actor. That was pre-composed and used as a luma track matte for the mirror replacement.

 

As I said before, if the camera is moving there is a lot more to do, but the procedure is the same. Create a matte as efficiently as you can that just separates the actors from the mirror, then use that matte to poke a hole in the replacement mirror image (the blue solid in my sample comp). Then all that is left is to do the final color correction of the replacement image and put the motion back in the shot and add it to the matte and the replacement image.

 

The reason you want to motion stabilize the footage is to make masking the mirror and the actors easier. 

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Aug 03, 2020 1
New Here ,
Aug 05, 2020

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Hi Rick,

Thank you very much for this detailed workflow. I've starting prepping the mask for the roto and came across a confusing part. I used Warp Stabilizer on the original footage in the original comp and then copied that file into the new comp for the matte. But when I'm making the mask for the inside of the mirror, the line of the mask and the actual area are not lining up because of the cropping the stabilizer had to do. So I'm not sure if I'm making the mask correctly. If I turn the stabilizer off then the area shrinks to realign with the mask line. I am totally new to this to kind of work, so I'm happy to learn but this is just not familiar to me, so I might have more questions..

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Aug 05, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2020

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If you need to use Warp Stabilizer on some footage that is going to be composited it should be the last step. The footage is obviously moving so some kind of motion tracking must be involved. Here's how i would approach the project:

  • Motion Stabilize the original footage
  • Duplicate the motion stabilized footage for use as a procedural matte
  • Create the procedural matte
  • Add any masking or hand roto required
  • Add the replacement image and use the procedural matte and roto layers as a track matte by combining them in a pre-comp
  • Put the motion back in the shot and add it to the mattes and the replacement layer (lots of ways to do this)
  • Select everything and pre-compose
  • Run Warp Stabilizer on the nested comp (your pre-comp)

Render the final using the Render Cue instead of the Media Encoder, then use that render in the Media Encoder to render a deliverable MP4.

 

The reason that you want to run Warp Stabilizer on the project after it is rendered is that WS always distorts the image and you want the replacement image to warp in the same way that the rest of the footage does so it doesn't jump off the screen and holler "I'm a visual effect that somebody tried to pull off."

 

If you tell me how you motion stabilized the footage I'll share a couple of tricks that will help you put the motion back in the scene.

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Aug 05, 2020 0
New Here ,
Aug 12, 2020

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Okay that makes sense, thank you. 

I have the footage motion stabilized so I dont think I need Warp Stabilizer anymore. I selected all three boxes, Position, Scale and Rotation and set the track points to recognize RGB and that worked. I'm working on creating the procedural matte now. Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 5.05.50 PM.png

 

This is where I'm at now. I want to make sure I'm using Linear Color Key and Curves correctly, I just set the color similiar to what you had and then adjusted curves until the hair was black but had a soft edge and the highlights were as light as I could get it. It still looks like a gray though instead of pure white, how do I fix that?

 

And then for seperating the hair from the TV, I see that you have Roto in a different layer, how did you do that? Is that a null object or an adjustment layer?  How do I use Roto to recognize the black of that tv to seperate it from the hair? Whenever I try to use roto it only selects the white inside the mirror. I see you have a "Background Matte" layer, is that a white solid? 

 

Thank you for your help!

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Aug 12, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2020

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As is shown in the screenshot, the Background Matte is just a white solid with a mask.

 

You'll also want to have the Info panel open so you can mouse over the different parts of the comp and check the color values to make sure your luma matte works. 

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Aug 13, 2020 0
New Here ,
Aug 13, 2020

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Okay, what's the purpose of the white solid? 

 

And then for seperating the hair from the TV, I see that you have Roto in a different layer, how did you do that? Is that a null object or an adjustment layer?  How do I use Roto to recognize the black of that tv to seperate it from the hair? Whenever I try to use roto it only selects the white inside the mirror.

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Aug 13, 2020 0
New Here ,
Aug 13, 2020

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Hi Rick, I basically made the mask in the duplicated "procudural matte" layer with the Pen tool and RotoBezier checked, and just tracked the path to follow the edge of her hair as she walked, is that right?

 

Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 6.54.57 PM.png

 

So it looks like this now. For the replacement image, can I use the "Reference Frame" that I made while trying Content Aware Fill or do I have to make that a different way?

 

Thank you for bearing with me, I am trying to learn with a combination of tutorials, adobe articles and your advice, so thank you.

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Aug 13, 2020 0
New Here ,
Aug 13, 2020

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I should add - once I made the mask in the procudural matte layer, I duplicated it into a "roto" layer that is a white solid. Is that right? 

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Aug 13, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 14, 2020

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The roto layer is just a white solid with masks used to hide any problems with the procedural matte where you have black where the white should be. If you just have black where the actor appears in front of the mirror and the rest is white, then you are done with the track matte precomp.

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Aug 14, 2020 0