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Streaming Media
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June 2019
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Tutorial: Red Giant VFX Suite

Paul Schmutzler demonstrated keying, cloning, and more using Red Giant's VFX Suite as an Adobe After Effects plugin.

In this tutorial, I’m going to introduce you to a brand new set of After Effects plugins from Red Giant: the VFX Suite.

On the right panel in Figure 1 (below), you can see all of the effects that come with this suite. Some of these are pretty self-explanatory, and some will be familiar to those that have used other Red Giant plugins. But some of these tools are entirely new, built from the ground up just for this suite.

vfx1

Figure 1. The VFX Suite effects in Adobe After Effects

Primatte Keyer

Let’s start with the shot that I have on my screen (Figure 2, below). In the background, there’s a fairly uniform blue wall which will make a nice test shot for a the Primatte Keyer effect.

Figure 2. We’ll apply the Primatte Keyer effect to this shot. Click the image to see it at full size.

This tool is very intuitive. It’s got simple icons that also include descriptions when you roll your mouse over them (Figure 3, below). You can choose to either select and refine your key color with these tools, or you can try your luck with the Auto Define Key button which looks for a blue or green background to key out automatically.

Figure 3. The Primatte Keyer effect

As you can see in Figure 4 (below), the auto button did a really good job for knocking out the background very cleanly and revealing the video layer that I have underneath the clip. It’s a little noisy, but it’s a good starting point that can be cleaned up by refining the key with some of the other tools within the effect.

Figure 4. The blue background keyed out with the Primatte Keyer’s Auto Define Key button

The Spot Clone Tracker

Now, let’s take a look at the second shot (Figure 5, below). It’s a static shot with the only motion being the waving flags and a changing traffic light.

Figure 5. The second shot

The first effect I tried on this clip is the Spot Clone Tracker. You can use it in a number of ways, but I tried two different tests. I cloned the yellow traffic light onto the side of the building (Figure 6, below). Maybe that’s a little odd, so I tried something a bit more realistic.

Figure 6. The Spot Clone Tracker (and the cloned traffic light). Click the image to see it at full size.

I selected the effect and dragged the blue circle over the logo on the building. Now the logo is cloned onto the side of the building. This works a bit better since the brown of the sign blends in better with the brick of the building.

Two things to know about this plugin. Number one, the dashed line represents your feathering. So you can see how far out your clone area is including by looking at the size of your dashed line. The second thing is the dot on the edge of the circle. If you click and drag this circle, it will rotate the cloned object. So you can see how it turns the logo onto its side as I rotate the blue circle (Figure 7, below).

Figure 7. Rotating the cloned object

Having these controls on screen in a visual format is much more productive than having to dig through all of the sliders and menus to determine what makes the adjustment you’re looking for.

Of course, this effect is called the Spot Clone Tracker, therefore it can also track within your shot. Simply use the tracking buttons within the effect to make the effect follow your subject within the shot.