If there’s a large object drawing the viewer’s eye from the main subject in your video, you can remove it using Content-Aware Fill in Adobe After Effects.

Elephant walking down a dirt road on a postage stamp. The words “LETTERS FROM A PRECIOUS PLANET” appear at the top.

Qué necesitas

This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file. Any reference to “Letters from a Precious Planet” is for demonstration purposes only and is not intended to refer to any actual organization, products, services, or creative work.

Just as you can remove a large object from a photo using Content-Aware Fill in Adobe Photoshop, you can remove a large object from a video in After Effects. For best results, the items you want to remove should not overlap anything you want to keep. Feel free to use our practice file, or use your own.

With the video layer selected in your composition, click the Pen tool (press G) and draw a mask around the distracting object — or group of objects. Press M to reveal the Mask Path properties. Toggle the stopwatch on to set a keyframe at the playhead’s position. As you scrub through the composition, readjust the mask’s position or shape to keep the object contained, in case it or the camera moves.

Two vehicles in the elephant video are distracting. The Pen tool is used to draw a mask around the object for deletion.

Change the mask’s blend mode from Add to Subtract. You’ll now see a hole in the video, hiding the masked object. 

The selection around the cars is a mask with Subtract blending mode. A hole appears, masking the objects.

Choose Window > Content-Aware Fill to open that tool’s panel. For the Fill Method, select Object if it moves within the shot. (Use Surface to replace an object that doesn’t move and use Edge Blend to replace a flat area of color.) Select the range you want to fix and then click Generate Fill Layer. 

Content-Aware Fill is selected and a fill layer is generated.

After the Analyzing percentage indicator runs its course, you’ll see a Rendering progress bar as each replacement frame is added to the fill layer above the video clip, filling in the hole created by the mask. 

The Analyzing percentage indicator and Rendering progress bar at the bottom right show progression of the hole being filled.

Play the composition to make sure the object has seamlessly vanished. For example, if you see a shadow cast by the now-invisible object, expand the mask to include it and then click Generate Fill Layer again — after first deleting or hiding the previous Fill layer. 

Cars are removed from the video of the elephant walking along the road.

Experiment with different mask shapes until you’re happy with the final result.

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