Background Clean-Up in After Effects

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In this tutorial series, our instructor Lee Lanier demonstrates creative techniques to clean up studio backgrounds in Adobe After Effects. Learn how to extend backgrounds, fix imperfections and even out uneven lighting fast and efficient using a variety of tools in After Effects

The After Effects project files and footage are included so that you can follow along.

About the instructor

Lee Lanier has created visual effects on numerous features films for Walt Disney Studios and PDI/DreamWorks. Lee is a world-renowned expert in the video effects field, and has written several popular high-end software books, and taught at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood.

Who is this course designed for?

Adobe After Effects users

Some of the topics

  • Set extension
  • Averaging backgrounds
  • Advanced keying techniques
  • Creating shadows
  • Masking
  • Tracking shapes

Software required

Adobe After Effects

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On 3/4/2019 at 8:17 PM, Gasa E Kenny said:

Love this course, any chance you plan to do this for Resolve Fusion in the future because it's so good. 

Glad you liked it. No immediate plans for a similar DaVinci Resolve Fusion course but you might find the techniques you are looking for in the new Introduction to Visual Effects course.

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Hi. by your experience cleanup and roto is better to use in After effects or in Fusion?   I like after effects for motion and cleanup but wondering if i should give a try to fusion? 

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11 hours ago, Nikolai said:

Hi. by your experience cleanup and roto is better to use in After effects or in Fusion?   I like after effects for motion and cleanup but wondering if i should give a try to fusion? 

I find Fusion a little awkward for extensive rotoscoping,, but the built-in tracking features can help make it easier.  It would be worth checking out my advanced Fusion rotoscoping course at Lowepost. I use After Effects quite often because it's very simple and straightforward, plus the Mocha  tracker is excellent.

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One of the nice things about Mocha Pro is that you can run it inside After Effects, Fusion, Nuke and Flame so it is very flexible for sharing roto and tracking between a lot of users and hosts. When you you use the native tools in Fusion or AE, there is less shareable workflow aspect to consider as well. 

Also to mention, almost all the companies who specialize in roto outsourcing use Silhouette, which has the most robust tool set for roto and paint. 

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This was such a cool tutorial.  I kept looking at the before and after of all three shots and was amazed that I did it.  Not because it was too hard, etc. just because it was a completely new approach to something I didn't even know could be done.    

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3 hours ago, Alessandro Cannarozzi said:

Cool tutorial! How can I do a set extension in Resolve?

That depends on the shot, but for a 2D extension you would probably need to create a larger domain for the extended set with a tool like Crop, motion track the extension art with the Tracker, and then re-crop the final result to the final render size.

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