Try these 2 techniques for removing imperfections from your footage.

An image of people being edited out of a video of a snowy landscape under the aurora borealis

It’s the perfect shot … except for that one thing

We’ve all been there. Check out Content-Aware Fill for an easy way to remove unwanted elements from your footage.

The process — a look back

Before Content-Aware Fill, the only option for removing imperfections from footage was a technique called rotoscoping. This involves manually removing the element from each and every frame.

The approach with Content-Aware Fill

  • Add a mask over the element to be removed
  • Specify Fill Method and Range in the Content-Aware Fill panel
  • Click Generate Fill Layer
An image showing the process of removing people from a scene using Content-Aware Fill in After Effects

Content-Aware Fill vs. rotoscoping

Content-Aware Fill works best in situations where the background and foreground are clearly delineated, or are relatively high-contrast. But even when things are challenging, there are ways to guide Content-Aware Fill to better results. If you don’t like the results from the initial fill, there is an advanced option to paint a reference frame in Photoshop. Once you have created that frame, Content-Aware Fill will use it for guidance when it generates the next fill.

Rotoscoping is a common method for removing sections of footage when Content-Aware Fill doesn’t fit the bill. This usually involves creating multiple masks over the sections of the image you’d like to remove, then animating those masks on a frame-by-frame basis.

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