Using the Roto Brush Tool in Adobe After Effects CS5

Ken Stone by Steve Douglas

You must have a great deal of patience to be an editor. There is not a one of use who has not said to their companions," I'm just finishing this up, will be there in 15 minutes tops.", only to find themselves still at work in the editing bay 4 hours later. Heck, once you're in the zone you just can't leave. Even more so, you must have the patience of a bona vide saint to be a Rotoscoper. In the past, when rotoscoping any moving object out of its background environment, it took several hours, days or even weeks to mask the subject frame by moving frame just to get a small clip, and then there was even more time spent refining that matte.

Prior to the release to the public of Adobe's CS5 suites, I was able to view and review many of the exciting new features now available in most of the Adobe applications, but none excited me more than to see the After Effects Roto Brush in action and to see just how easy and relatively quick it worked. Of course, much of the speed can be accredited to Adobe's 64bit Mercury engine, the NVIDIA graphics card and as much RAM as you have available for as many cores as your computer contains, however, the process of rotoscoping your foreground and background subjects is no longer a lifetime endeavor.

Very similar to Photoshop's Quick Selection tool, the Roto Brush in After Effects CS5 will save you an enormous amount of time in post production. Let's get started and see how this tool will work its magic.

Initially you create a new composition as you would for any After Effects project. I try to make it a habit to make sure that my comp settings are the same as the footage I am importing. read more...

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