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How to blur out background image but keep foreground

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Ralph Moore
How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:51:04 pm

I have a scene that takes place in a setting that has artwork on the walls. I need to blur out the artwork b/c of copyright issues. My problem is that people move in front of the art during the scene. Is there an easy way to blur out the art behind them, but not blur them when they walk in front of it? The camera is also not stationary.

I'm new to AE and am using CS5 (Premiere Pro CS4).

Thanks in advance.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 6:35:05 pm

[Ralph Moore] "Is there an easy way to blur out the art behind them, but not blur them when they walk in front of it?"

Nope. Sorry. There isn't. Since you run AE 10, you can give the Rotobrush Tool, but be sure to read all the instructions for it in AE's Online Help, and go to the linked tutorials.

Basically, you animate a mask around the subject(s) -- frame by frame -- and put the masked subjects over a duplicate layer that's been blurred. The process is called Rotoscoping.



[Ralph Moore] "The camera is also not stationary."

That makes it tougher.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Ralph Moore
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:34:26 pm

Thank you, I will look into this tonight.


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Eric Chard
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 6:48:54 pm

It would be FAR easier to preserve the foreground and just blur EVERYTHING. Pretend you're shooting w/70mm film and have very limited DOF.

And, if you are hazy (har!) on what DOF is, hit the books.

++++++++++++++++
"Putting the HARM in 'harmonica' since 2005."
++++++++++++++++


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 6:57:19 pm

[Eric Chard] "preserve the foreground"

...and can you suggest a method by which this can be done when the footage already has been shot? I eagerly await a reply.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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John Cuevas
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 11, 2010 at 7:34:08 pm

Can't speak for him, but I can give you my bosses reply, "Yeah, when we were shooting, this guy walks through the back of the shot...SO JUST DO THAT THING YOU DO AND REMOVE THEM"

Apparently all you have to do is push the "thing you do" button.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 12, 2010 at 3:58:17 am

Yeah, Johnny... in the Harry Potter books I believe J.K. Rowling calls such a thing a "magic wand". Too bad such a thing only exists in fiction.

I could think so many ways to use a "thing you do" button.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eric Chard
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 12, 2010 at 2:09:11 am

You can't. But, say it's an interview: would you rather mask out one semi-static interviewee, or the multiple moving people in the background?

Either way, he's looking at a lot of work.

++++++++++++++++
"Putting the HARM in 'harmonica' since 2005."
++++++++++++++++


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 12, 2010 at 3:49:19 am

[Eric Chard] " would you rather mask out one semi-static interviewee, or the multiple moving people in the background?"

Considering that in the case in question it's multiple subjects against the same background -- and nothing is static, because the camera is moving -- I'd say you don't have much of a choice.

I suspect the gent is looking for one of those "a miracle occurs" type of solutions, and sadly, one doesn't exist... at least not in the way he's resolved to do it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Todd Kopriva
Re: How to blur out background image but keep foreground
on Nov 12, 2010 at 7:37:30 pm

As Dave said, rotoscoping is the way to accomplish this precisely, but that is very tedious. The Roto Brush tool can make this a lot less tedious, but it's still not a one-click solution.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
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