How to Extract Elements from Footage with the RotoBrush & Refine Edge Tool in After Effects CC

Sometimes you want to composite elements into the background of a shot, but a character is in the foreground, and you need the VFX elements to go between the character and the background. Or you have a really tricky shot where you need to isolate and extract one element from a shot, but didn't have a green screen handy.

Using the RotoBrush and Refine Edge tool in After Effects CC, you can mask out elements of a shot over time. Frame-by-frame masking and rotoscoping you say? Not in my workflow, grandpa! The rotobrush lets you quickly paint the element that you want to retain, and After Effects will use this data over time to handle the movement. The more information you give the RotoBrush tool the better, but it'll still be much faster than the painful process of frame-by-frame roto work. With the Refine Edge Tool, new to After Effects CC, you can now adjust the edges of the element even further, to account for tricky shots like hair.

Looking for more After Effects Tracking, Compositing, and Visual Effects Tutorials?

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