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Blurring Faces in After Effects in Post Production

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Nicholas Buck
Blurring Faces in After Effects in Post Production
on Jan 10, 2012 at 3:55:07 pm

Hi, doing a short, student, collaborative movie project here in Beijing while in an exchange program. I was wondering how hard would it be to blur faces using after effects in a short movie production and is there anything that I can do before hand to make this much easier? Such as using blue or green make-up to create lines around the faces that can then be easily tracked?
Essentially I need the faces completely blurred so that I can slowly reveal them over time.
Anyone's thoughts on this are tremendously appreciated. Thank you so much in advance.

Spinning, Spinning
the world goes by,
fast and quick,
without hesitancy,
without me at times.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Blurring Faces in After Effects in Post Production
on Jan 10, 2012 at 6:29:30 pm

That's not an easy task. I think you're going to be very, very busy.

You can't do chroma keying, because chroma keying is designed to make areas containing the key color transparent. Your characters would have no faces.

The most straightforward way to proceed would be to make an adjustment layer with your blur effect of choice, then animate masks around the faces on this adjustment layer.

Unless your characters are going to move like the kids in South Park, there really isn't an easy, straightforward, works-every-time way to do this. Play with this idea on some test footage with people moving as the characters will move when you shoot for real.

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


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Erik Waluska
Re: Blurring Faces in After Effects in Post Production
on Jan 11, 2012 at 4:54:03 pm

Also, if you have Mocha for AE, it does a great job of tracking masks, although it does take a while to learn how to use it. There are plenty of tutorials on their website, the cow, and elsewhere.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Blurring Faces in After Effects in Post Production
on Jan 13, 2012 at 11:17:57 pm

If it's not too late -- and you happen to have Final Cut Pro -- I might have a non-AE solution. It's called Andy's Region Blur. Here, read all about it:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1151271

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


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