Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

The Roto Brush workflow

From: After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

Video: The Roto Brush workflow

Now again, I want to be completely honest with you. That previous Roto Brush example was deceptively simple. Very, very few shots will ever work out that well with that a small amount of work. The problem is many After Effects users who want to use Roto Brush don't bother learning the correct way to use it, expect they can do that small amount of work, and expect those good results. Well, they're sorely disappointed and they walk away convinced Roto Brush doesn't work. The reality is, Roto Brush does require a lot of work on your part and it works much better if you follow a very specific workflow.

The Roto Brush workflow

Now again, I want to be completely honest with you. That previous Roto Brush example was deceptively simple. Very, very few shots will ever work out that well with that a small amount of work. The problem is many After Effects users who want to use Roto Brush don't bother learning the correct way to use it, expect they can do that small amount of work, and expect those good results. Well, they're sorely disappointed and they walk away convinced Roto Brush doesn't work. The reality is, Roto Brush does require a lot of work on your part and it works much better if you follow a very specific workflow.

And that's what we're going to be covering in the next several movies. The steps that workflow include: identifying the foreground that you wish to separate from the background, choosing a representative Base Frame with a maximum amount of foreground information visible, defining the Base Frame using a collection of foreground and background Roto Brush strokes, moving a few frames away from that base and tweaking the Roto Brush's Propagation parameters to optimize how Roto Brush tracks changes in the shot, returning to the Base Frame and then moving away from it one frame at a time adding corrective foreground-background strokes as needed, and finally tweaking the Matte parameters to refine the resulting alpha channel.

I've switched back to After Effects CS5.5. -- Roto Brush works in 5, 5.5, 6 or later -- and I'm going to close my previous example. And if you have access to the Exercise Files that came with this lesson, open up Roto Brush 2 Screen Replacement starter (RB2-Screen Replacement*starter). We've already done a lot of prep work for you in this shot. The original footage showed an actor sitting in front of a laptop with a fairly boring display. Note that the actor's hands are also in front of that screen.

What we would prefer to do is put a brand new, far sexier screen on the face of that laptop. I've already tracked this for you using Mocha, which was discussed in a previous lesson, and also did a little bit of blurring to make sure it matched the camera's depth of field blur that naturally existed in the scene. The next thing we need to do is cut out a copy of the actor's hands and arms using Roto Brush and put that copy in front of our new screen, that way it looks like it was behind his hands when the shot was originally taken. So with that in mind, in the next movie we're going to set up our project and go about identifying a good Base Frame to start our Roto Brush work.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.