Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Roto-Removal Video in After Effects CS4


So I’ve been playing around with that footage that I shot in my previous Blog posting… and it was bugging me that the birds were distracting as well as the telephone poles, so I decided to just get rid of them!

Before and After detail of the Rotoscope process

Using the Clone Stamp tool on the video layer itself, you can either clone out inanimate objects (such as the telephone poles and lines) or chase down a bird in flight over time. I needed to do both in this clip.

I started with the phone pole and wires, working from frame 0 in the video and selecting various points on the video to get source material from. It works just like the clone stamp tool in Photoshop – use the Option (alt) key and click to select the source point and “paint” over the area you’re trying to roto-out. The big difference is, it’s taking video source instead of a single image, so if you select an area with leaves blowing int he wind, it will replicate them in the new area. However, you can also choose to offset the time in the clone tool panel, so you can more easily randomize the effect. Very helpful! I did have to fix a couple places where I didn’t count on the car driving by later in the clip and ended up with a mirror in the middle of a tree for a few frames, but it was easily remedied.

Rotoscoping over the telephone poles using the Clone Stamp tool

The flying bird across the top of the screen took a frame-by-frame “chase-down” roto, but still much easier than trying to mask in a still patch of sky and make it blend in. I was able to retain the video noise as well, so the results were really great!

Before and After video of the Roto process

This technique will be covered step-by-step in an upcoming video training DVD for After Effects CS4 – stay tuned for more info soon!

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