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Paint Out Moving

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Josh Spivack
Paint Out Moving
on Mar 4, 2014 at 1:08:26 am

I have a shot where a helicopter is landing and I'm trying to paint out some part of the helicopter pad that's flapping before it lands and right after it takes off again.
Using my paint tool in CFX, I pained a still frame and used the mux node. I've tracked it and used action to offset. However, it clearly doesn't look right and this is because the shot itself changes focus and even the shading of the area around it changes. Is there a way to have a recurring brush constantly sample an area, or does anyone have a better approach to what I'm trying to do?

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Grant Kay
Re: Paint Out Moving
on Mar 4, 2014 at 8:02:23 am


There are a couple ways of potentially doing this.

If you use the still frame method you have been using, you will have to manually match the defocusing which could be a bit tricky at best.

The other option is not to lock the still frame and use recursive clone with the frame updating.

If you do this in ConnectFX, I would suggest stabilizing the plate first because there is no tracking in ConnectFX paint.

If you do this using desktop paint, you could track the stroke to match the move.

You could also use a combination of both to clean up the frame.

Hope this helps!


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David Jahns
Re: Paint Out Moving
on Mar 16, 2014 at 5:24:04 pm

without actually seeing the clip, it's hard to say for sure what the best technique is, but for most of this kind of work, I would use a SOURCE NODE in Action.

Grant's suggestion of Desktop Paint and "auto-paint" with tracking would probably work, and I thought that was the coolest trick when I firs started using Smoke - but there's a much better way. It sounds a bit complicated and confusing, but once you get how it works, it will change your life for these kinds of tasks. I use it all the time for beauty/clean up/logo removal type stuff.

Here's how I'd do it:

Create CFX on your clip.
Add Action node with your plate as background.
Add an Action Layer with the same source plate.
Inside Action:
On the first frame of the clip, enter the modular keyer in the Layer 1.
Switch start mode to GMASK
Draw a shape around the part of the image you wish to remove/hide (the pad flapping). Add some feathering to hide the transition.
Track the shape, so that it moves with the plate - adjust keyframes of the shape if necessary.
Exit Mod Keyer.
Go to Action Schematic - you should see an Axis connected to your surface.
In the Media List, make sure layer 1 is selected.
Switch to Action Bin to see the nodes available in Action.
Find the SOURCE FRONT node.
Double click it or drag it into the schematic.
This will add 3 more nodes to the schematic - an axis, camera, and surface.
(It's a good habit to drag that over next to the original Axis-Surface clip for sanity's sake. If you have a bunch of these, your schematic can get really confusing - as they are working together, but not visually linked.)

Now the fun part:

Click on the Source Front axis to select it, and then adjust the X,Y positions so that the flapping area is pushed out of the mask and replaced by the non-flapping area. You may also have to adjust scale and center if there's not enough material to completely cover the flapping area.

This will replace the flapping area with the nearby non-flapping area, and each frame will be updated, so that changes in lighting/focus will apply to every frame - very similar to what Auto-Paint in Desktop Paint would do - but much better, because instead of using brush strokes to clone, you're using an adjustable Gmask - and you can see the results immediately and make adjustments as needed.

Quite often, this will work well, but you still may need to do a small color grade to get the area to match exactly (if the lighting falls off, for example) - but that's easy too. Just add a Color Grade to the media layer, press F6 to see the results in context, and tweak the grade until it matches.

Good luck!


David Jahns
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR

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