Removing an Object with the New Content Aware Fill Tool in After Effects CC

Surely, we have all experienced this one! Having a shot ruined by one annoying lamppost, a passing car or piece of gear left in the wrong place. It can be anything from a minor nuisance to a major problem. Perhaps there is no way to recreate that shot, maybe a broadcaster needs it fixed fast!

The only fix, barring expensive re-shoots, might have been a very costly trip to the local GFX house. Now, Adobe are offering a tool that may just bring a solution to this tricky problem to users at all levels of editing.

The content aware filter will be familiar to users of Photoshop, but now it has been added to after effects for video. So let’s see what it can do with seasoned video editor Justin Odisho.

It seems pretty simple. Select the unwanted object in the video and that area will be filled by content around it. Let’s break it down a little further.

Content Aware Starting Point

Content Aware Starting Point

First select the object by creating a mask. There are a few options to do this and it will depend on the shape and complexity of the object you wish to remove which one you choose, but the principle is straight-forward.

Content Aware Mask

Content Aware Mask

Set the mask to the subtract blending mode. If the object to be removed is moving within the frame then you will have to spend a little time keyframing. The keyframing may be rather laborious but again, this depends entirely on the complexity of the object and its’ movement.

There are some options within the Content Aware fill panel and they may take a little bit of tinkering to dial in your ideal settings. Content Aware might not get it right on the first try but using a reference frame and by adjusting your mask and settings, it is possible to achieve fantastic results.

Content Aware Result

Content Aware Result

Keep in mind that this tool is powerful and as such, takes quite a while to work its magic. The example in the video is really impressive but Justin goes to some lengths to point out that it really depends heavily on your footage, the type and shape of object that needs to be removed and the duration of your shot.

If I needed to save a shot then this looks to me like it would definitely be worth a try in a pinch.

[source: Justin Odisho]

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