Difference Matte

In this combined After Effects and Photoshop tutorial we look at how to create a clean plate using Photoshop’s Smart Object settings, then use that plate with the Difference Matte effect in After Effects to composite text into a scene.

Discuss
  1. Erik
    Reply

    Wow, nice one! With quite a few good tips! Thanks John

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Erik.

  2. Alex
    Reply

    What a great episode, I especially liked the Photoshop part! I didn’t know the median technique and think it’s really really useful! Thanks John!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Alex.

  3. Mark Shingleton
    Reply

    Nice one John. I wasn’t aware of the median technique either. Very handy!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Mark.

  4. illd
    Reply

    Wow – solid work as always John.
    I nearly gave up on PS and Video. But this Median stackmode is really cool.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks illd, don’t give up on the Shop! Best, John.

  5. Calvinogood
    Reply

    Thanks, John. You’re always inspired me.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome.

  6. James Wicks
    Reply

    Hi John,
    Thanks for doing this series, Effects A-Z.
    It’s a very useful series, and this episode is one of the best.

    As I watched I wondered how much of your workflow would have changed if you had used VCP’s new Element 3D plugin. Would it have taken you less time to work on the project or the same amount of time?
    Just curious.

    Thanks again for all you do to help the rest of us.

    Best, J

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hey Jim,
      I actually initially considered Cinema 4D… then ProAnimator but decided in the end to keep the text 2D due to time restraints. If I had had Element 3D I most likely would still have left this 2D and don’t see any way it may have accelerated the process. All the best, John.

  7. richard_grant
    Reply

    seeing that clean plate happen instantly in photoshop relieved years of roto pain! i’m definitely going to try this out on a clip that has been stabilised. i enjoy seeing the amount of detail you go into with your graphics, nice that you get half a day to work on a graphic like this. cheers.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Richard, those kind of aha moments are great heh!

  8. MilanK
    Reply

    Very nice John. Thank you for great tips!

  9. AnnL
    Reply

    Hi John! VERY VERY useful tips!!! Thanks a lot for sharing them with us! By the way I wonder how did you come about this technics?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You learn these kinds of things over time!

  10. Adriano
    Reply

    I must say the first part in photoshop just made my life a LOT easier on an upcoming project.

    Great as always John.

    Cheers!

  11. James Sinclair-smith
    Reply

    Amazing tutorial, really very useful.

    Don’t suppose anyone has any tips for removing the background and leaving the foreground elements. I’ve got a timelapse and I want to keep the people but remove and replace the rather awful tent it is shot in.

    I was hoping this process would work with reversing the mask, but it’s not really getting there.

    Any help gratefully received.

    Best

    • David Byrne
      Reply

      There’s a few ways I can think of, but most likely I’d imagine a combination of factors will prove to be the best way to go. If you begin by simply reversing the mask that might help but I’d imagine it’ll be a case of trying to key out any background elements that are different enough in one pass – then building up multiple passes with maybe a rotobrush pass to get the basics before refining elements that rotobrush couldn’t separate. For the key you could even trying precomping the shot to really bring out the hues of the tent and using that as a matte, thereby saving the amount you might end up roto’ing.

      Without seeing the shot its tough to know but I’d imagine difference matte is a good starting place, then build on that. Multiple passes will still save you a ton of time I’d expect as opposed to do tons of roto by hand.

      Hope that helps to some extent.

      Cheers!

      @AnimoMG

      • James
        Reply

        Thank you very much. The job is over now but the footage was very rough indeed (over exposed, exported to low res formats – basically run through the mill) and didn’t stand up to much roto or key work.

        But I will be using this method a lot in the future I can tell. Thank you all again for the hints and tips and the excellent tutorial.

  12. Laurel
    Reply

    Great tutorial John, that clean plate info … unbelievable … just amazing how you can unravel components and do it so effortlessly. I hope Adobe is paying you royalties!

    Appreciate all your good work. thanks, Laurel

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Laurel!

  13. David Byrne
    Reply

    Hey John – fantastic tutorial – can’t believe how effective that Median technique is. Genius! I’d tried Difference Matte on a few things but without much success, great to see even effects and blending modes you’d given up on prove useful in the end!

    Cheers man
    Dave

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks David.

  14. John Dickinson
    Reply

    You’re welcome MilanK.

  15. Dave
    Reply

    That Median technique is a mind-blower (and obviously a major time saver). Wonderful stuff, so thanks for sharing!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Dave.

  16. didi
    Reply

    Sorry I do not have all the best English
    If was moving the camra how the work is
    complex clean plate

  17. vikas
    Reply

    This technique helps me too much, thanks for this tutorial.Does this technique work if i am using moving camera shot instead of static shot.

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