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How best change color of moving hair?

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Tom Clasman
How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:24:41 pm
Last Edited By Tom Clasman on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:35:36 pm

Trying to solve difficult problem - due to bad footage, that can't be redone.

A camera filming forrest path. A woman wearing a facial mask walks by the camera from behind, walks past (her back to the cam), continues forward, stops, takes of a plastic facial mask, and turns around facing the camera. When she turns she is visible from top of head to waist.

She's got long hair to her waist, and her natural hair color is sort of gray/blonde. But I need to use AE to make her hair color dark when she comes into view, and when she removes the face-mask she's supposed to violá go light haired (her natural hair color). She was supposed to wear a wig when shooting, but this didn't happen.

This is my problem, finding the best way of doing it. I've tried, and failed.

It's hair, lots of small strands and stuff, difficult to make it dark without causing background to get too discolored, and also follow the hair since she's moving. Though the whole clip is dark, nighttime, and her clothing is dark too, so that factor makes it easier to change the hair color and sacrifice some of the background behind the hair.

I found no obvious way to use AE's filter, so I exported the whole sequence as Photoshop images and edited each frame in Photoshop (about 200 of them *phew*), then re-imported. Photoshop gives me great control, but the small differences in how each frame is edited causes the end flow to flicker clearly visible - even with motion blur and frame blending enabled. It's not even enough frame to frame. I can't seem to edit each frame exactly the same, because she's moving and so is the hair, and I can't seem to make the edits of each frame flow evenly enough to not cause flickering.

I know it's a madness thing, but there's no way around it. Looking for suggestions on most suitable ways to create this, methods or tools. If you HAD to do this, where would your put your efforts to most likely succeed as well as possible?
(I do not own Premiere atm).

Thanks for any advice


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:35:58 pm

That's an impossible situation from your description.

You can't work miracles in AE unless you PLAN for them. And whoever shot this clearly did not plan for it. Now the shooter must suffer the consequences -- a reshoot. Even then, an instantaneous hair color change is pretty stinkin' iffy without extensive testing... so you KNOW the effect will work before you shoot it for real. The phrase, "we'll fix it in post" works only rarely. Yours is not one of those rare occasions.

"Well, they can't re-shoot because blah, blah, blah and some other lame reason." Then they've hosed themselves for lack of foresight.

MAYBE they can help on the Photoshop forum once you detail your predicament. Maybe. But there's no salvation forthcoming in AE.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 14, 2017 at 9:58:03 pm

You might be able to recolor the hair a bit with a garbage mask and some keying. Can you post a sample frame or clip?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Tom Clasman
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 15, 2017 at 12:57:04 am

@Walter Soyka: Didn't want me to put film online, so I took screenshots every 0,5 secs instead. Raw footage screenshots, original quality is XAVC 1080i. Begins with background, then she comes in from right. We need her to have black hair, or at least looking like black. Settle for 'dark' I guess, during the circumstances
https://welder80.byethost31.com/fotd_ss12/


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Richard Garabedain
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 14, 2017 at 10:44:26 pm

now thats commitment right there...if I were a employer id hire ya...But you mentioned her hair was light color and evertrhing else is dark..Considering the work you put into it I assume you probably already tried using a luma matte by upping the levels and


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Tom Clasman
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 15, 2017 at 1:01:02 am

@Richard Garabedain: Actually I havent tried a Luma Matte, yet. I though the Photoshop option was the safer bet so I went with that, since whatever option I go with is probably going to be .. lengthy.
This is not only nuts, as LaRonde pointed out above, but I'm not as experienced in AE either :P Spent a some time in Vegas before though.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: How best change color of moving hair?
on Feb 15, 2017 at 5:56:17 am

I would probably do a semi-loose and feathered mask around the whole hair area and use that on an adjustment layer.


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