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Workflow - Object Removal in Adobe After Effects

Community Beginner ,
Apr 08, 2020

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Hi!

 

I am working on a project and I have a question about workflow.

 

I am going to be editing video, audio, color correcting and then color grading. There are a few objects I need to remove via rotoscoping such as mics and mic packs. At what stage in my the editing process would you suggest I work on object removal?

 

Thank you in advance for all of your help!

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Creative Cloud, Feature request

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Workflow - Object Removal in Adobe After Effects

Community Beginner ,
Apr 08, 2020

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Hi!

 

I am working on a project and I have a question about workflow.

 

I am going to be editing video, audio, color correcting and then color grading. There are a few objects I need to remove via rotoscoping such as mics and mic packs. At what stage in my the editing process would you suggest I work on object removal?

 

Thank you in advance for all of your help!

Topics

Creative Cloud, Feature request

Views

266

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 08, 2020

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Roto, background repair, and all the associated workflows are usually extremely tedious so it is critical that you only work on the frames that are going to be in the final edit. Sometimes you need a few frames on either end of the shot (called handles) if the edit is not finalized. I recently answered a question about distorting a layer. You'll find some more hints about analyzing and setting up roto work in this thread: how to stretch objects

I am currently working on a project to remove a tattoo from the neck of an actor in 37 different shots from the edit. For many of the shots the tattoo is visible for the entire length of the shot but for a few, it is only visible for a few frames. I split those layers so that only the part of the shot where the tattoo is visible is being worked on.  In some shots the every frame needs to be worked on. Take a look at how I set up the Scene 3 - 01 shot:

Screenshot_2020-04-08 23.24.28_fu7AsW.png

In the final edit Scene 3 shot 01 is only 51 frames (just barely over 2 seconds) but only 18 frames need roto work. The efficient way to handle the repairs was to split the footage layer one frame before the tattoo came into frame, use Mocha to corner pin track those 18 frames concentrating on just the area of the actor's neck that contained the tattoo, apply that corner pin data to a second copy of the clip, pre-compose the corner pinned layer and then use CC Power pin to give me an enlarged copy of the neck that didn't move. I then added a solid with the overlay mode enabled so I could see through the layer and keyframed the masks as needed to give me a track matte that I could use to isolate the repair I would make using a combination of frames from the footage repaired in Photoshop, puppet pin, gradient layers used as luma mattes to match the lighting, and AE's clone tool. Those 18 frames took me about 3 hours to perfect. Here's a screenshot of just part of the process:

Screenshot_2020-04-08 23.35.29_k2jvdD.png

In the frame you see here, the motion of the actor's chest from the right edge of the neckline of his shirt (camera left) to the center of his neck does not move in the frame making it much easier for me to do all of the repairs. I put that motion back in the repair in the main comp so the repair lines up with the rest of the shot. If you are interested I can point you to a tutorial that shows how to do that using Mocha AE.

 

All in all, 35 of the 37 shots are complete, 178 layered Photoshop files have been created and edited, more than 40 animated gradients have been created and edited to match lighting and shadows, and almost all of the shots required more than one hand rotoscoped track matte to complete the repair. When I first looked at the project I thought that it would require about one-tenth of the work that it has required because Rotobrush would not work on any of the shots, almost every motion tracking pass that I made required a fair amount of manual adjustments, and the color corrections were a lot more difficult than I expected. 

 

So here's the most important thing you should get out of this post. Only work on the frames that are going to actually need to be repaired, only work on the part of the frame that requires repair, motion stabilize and enlarge the shot if you can to help simplify roto, and don't be afraid to pre-compose, pre-compose, pre-compose.  

 

If you pick what you think is going to be your most difficult shot and can't figure out how to approach the problem post a screenshot and description of the camera movement and action in the scene and maybe we can give you some pointers. Every shot requires a little different approach. In the project I described there are only 4 of the 37 shots that used exactly the same workflow. The rest all had unique variations of the same general idea - Motion Stabilize to stop the movement of the thing you are trying to fix, fix it, then put the motion back in the shot and add it to the repair and do your color correction. If you start with what you think is going to be your most difficult shot you will have a general idea of how long the entire project will take. You won't make the mistake I made thinking a project would take me a couple of weekends when it has taken over 140 hours and I'm still not done. 

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