Removing small things (and some people)

Hi all,
Today I went through every shot and figured out the little problems, which disturbed me for a long time. I would like to show you a few and how I solved them.

1. Bling-Bling on the skin

During the shooting we used some glitter in one scene. Unfortunately the glitter stuck to the actors hands and is visible in this shot:

To solve this I tracked the motion of the bright particle in After Effects and applied the motion to a null object, so that the null layer sticks to the particle.

Tracked Spot

Then I created an adjustment layer and parented him to the null object and drew a mask around the spot on the skin. Because of the parenting the mask follows the spot.


In the last step I added a fast blur effect to the adjustement layer, which “smears” the surrounding skin tones over the bright spot. I also increased the mask feather to get a smooth transition between original layer and blurred mask.


This is the result:

2. Visible Spotlight

There is one scene in the movie, where Lea opens a window. Curiously nobody realized the bright reflection of the spotlight in the glass during the shooting. So it became another task for me.

In the beginnig I wasn’t sure how to tackle the task and I had different approaches in my mind. The first idea was to replace the window with a CGI one,  paint a matte with everything behind the window and composite a reflection-free window in front of it. But then I realized, that it was dark (black color) for the most part behind the opening window and that the spot was visible for about 20 frames. So I decided to paint it out frame-by-frame.


I imported the clip as a picture sequence in Photoshop and erased the reflections with the clone brush. It took some time but because of the limited amount of colors and geometry (just vertical lines and bars) it wasn’t that difficult. I didn’t want to spend the whole day on this task, so the result could be more accurate. You can notice some unfitting colors and distorted parts, but that’s okay.


I ended up with a reflection-free window. Because of my lazy painting you can see some kind of wobbling, but that’s far from the distracting effect of a visible spotlight.

3. Removing a bicyclist                                                                                                    Although we were very watchful not to have people in frame, one bicyclist got his little performance in the background of one shot. You can see him besides the actress.

To remove him I used After Effects. At first I duplicated the video layer and drew a mask around the part of the image, where the person becomes visible. Then I time-froze the new layer on a frame without the bicyclist (right-click -> Time -> Freeze Frame) to cover that area.


Because there is camera movement in the clip, the frozen layer doesn’t stay on the right place.


To achieve this I motion tracked the background and parented the frozen layer to an null object with the tracking data applied. This way the layer follows camera’s movement and covers the person. Afterwards a little mask-feather was applied to blend the frozen layer smoothly on top of the background. This is the result:

If you would like to get a full video tutorial covering one of the examples please comment!

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