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Removing a green screen background

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Removing a green screen background

In this movie, we are going to look at how to remove a green a screen background. When doing a film and video work oftentimes as subject is filmed in front of a green screen, such as this podcast host here. And then in postproduction in After Effects we remove the green screen to place them on a different background. That's exactly what we are going to be doing in this movie. This process is often referred to as keying. You might hear somebody say I am going to pull a key, or I am going to key out this background. So the word key is used as a noun and as a verb. So, what I'm going to do is I am going to apply perhaps the best keying effect in After Effects called Keylight.

Removing a green screen background

In this movie, we are going to look at how to remove a green a screen background. When doing a film and video work oftentimes as subject is filmed in front of a green screen, such as this podcast host here. And then in postproduction in After Effects we remove the green screen to place them on a different background. That's exactly what we are going to be doing in this movie. This process is often referred to as keying. You might hear somebody say I am going to pull a key, or I am going to key out this background. So the word key is used as a noun and as a verb. So, what I'm going to do is I am going to apply perhaps the best keying effect in After Effects called Keylight.

I am going to apply this to the top layer the podcast, part 1.3 clip here. Nothing happens at first. That's okay. That's normal. And what we are going to do is go over here to Keylight and there is this Screen Color property and we are going to click the Eyedropper tool and then we are going to click the green screen background. And instantly we get some pretty cool results. Now if we take the View dropdown from Final Result up to Status we'll see that the final results are not quite perfect.

You see Status shows us what is completely transparent and what is completely opaque. Gray pixels are semi-transparent, white is completely opaque, and black is completely transparent. So ideally we want the background be completely black and are subject to be completely white, neither of which is the case. So, what we do is we open up Screen Matte while looking at the Status view and we are going to increase the Clip Black value until the black is completely gone. And then we are going to decrease the Clip White value until the subject is pretty much all white and we do want a gray halo around the subject.

That's completely okay. Now if we take this view back to Final Result we see that we have an even better key here. Now in full disclosure, I should tell you that keying is almost never this easy. This video here of this subject was filmed by video people at lynda.com, their in-house video people. And they are unbelievably talented and they are extremely skilled at what they do. And a lot of professionals even that work with green screen all the time do not set up a green screen that good and a lot of things contribute to the way a green screen turns out.

A lot of times like video compression, if you have like a standard DV hand-held camera that compression will make the green screen look terrible. Bad lighting will make it almost impossible to get a good clean removal of the background. Video compression as I talked about, the different way that it's compressed. This is a very lightly compressed footage so it turns out really good. The color space with a camera also contributes to the final result, and so we had a lot of really great benefits working for. So, another that you'll have in most green screen footage is like a boom mike or some other garbage hanging around in the screen.

So, what you typically do in a professional workflow before you key a piece of footage, you create a mask called a garbage matte. So, I might select the Rectangle tool and click and drag a mask around our subject and that would get rid of all the other junk that's around here and it would help the keying tool, in this case Keylight, to be able focus on the area that really matters most. Of course, you want to make sure that as you scrub your timeline that the subject or the talents never moves their hands or their body outside of that mask, because it will appear to be chopped off.

But this is how you pull a standard key if you've got some really good footage to work with. Now there are certainly tweaks. Number one we could select the Selection tool and click and drag and move our subject over, and that makes things look pretty snazzy there. We also might scale them up or down or what have you, and another thing is compositing. We want to make these two shots look like they belong together and everybody who sees this virtual set in the background knows that he's not really there. Nobody thinks that there is some huge TV studio setup with this gargantuan TV and then someone happens to be filming at that spot that's somehow on the beach with palm trees.

But it still would help if we had these colors of these two layers matching a little bit better. So, as we go through, and we start talking about keying a little bit more, we're also going to start talking about compositing in this chapter, and that's basically taking these different elements and combining them and making them look better together. In the next movie, what we are going to do is talk about how to take bad green screen footage and refine it with a new tool in After Effects CS5.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 68783 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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