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.
What you'll need
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.
Change the mask’s blend mode from Add to Subtract. You’ll now see a hole in the video, hiding the masked object.
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.
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.
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.
Experiment with different mask shapes until you’re happy with the final result.
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