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Keying out; seperating forground from background

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Josh BrineKeying out; seperating forground from background
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 1:41:43 pm

Hello all

So, I have keyed out a series of shots, and added magic bullet looks and made it look really good, except that the talents hair is as dark as the background and there is no seperation. i have tried adding a light and directing at the hair, and messed around with colour, which i know nothing about..

so yeah my question is, how can i make the darkest parts of the talent (in this case her hair) not merge with the darkness behind?

let me know if im not being clear, and im sure its obvious by now how new i am to this so please be patient with me lol.

thanks for any help.

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Brendan CootsRe: Keying out; seperating forground from background
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 8:06:35 pm

If you could provide a still frame of what you're describing, it would really help because this isn't a one-size-fits-all situation.

If the background behind the actor is as dark as their hair, the separation you're looking for would typically have come from having a rim light (aka "hair light") on the talent during the shoot, to provide a little highlight on the hair.

Without seeing what you're working with, I would guess that you have two options. The easy option is to apply the Levels effect to the background and lighten it up a touch so the hair is darker than the background but at least has some separation, OR you can simulate a rim light on the actor. The method for doing this is a little complicated:

- turn off all of your Magic Bullet correction for now
- duplicate both the background and keyed actor layers, and move them above the original actor/actress key layer.
- hide the original background and keyed actor layers for now
- set the track matte on the new background layer to "Alpha Inverted Matte" using the keyed actor layer as the matte
- this should give you the background with a big black hole where the actor should be
- precompose these two layers together (Layer > PreCompose) and make sure you select "move all attributes into new comp"
- apply a Fast Blur effect to this new comp. only turn up the blur enough to soften the edge between the background and the black hole from the actor
- set the blending mode for this comp to "lighten"
- once again, duplicate the original keyed actor layer and move it above this new, blurred precomp you just created
- set the track matte on the blurred background layer to "Alpha Matte" using the duplicated layer from the previous step as the target
- unhide your original background and keyed actor

You should now have a soft halo on your actor. You can increase the Fast Blur amount on the blurred background layer to make the halo larger or smaller, and you will probably need to turn the opacity of the blurred background layer down quite a bit to get a natural look. Once you get a look you like, you will need to use a feathered mask to restrict the effect to just the hair area.

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