17 Replies Latest reply on Apr 17, 2010 8:30 PM by aefilter

    New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?

    DC B. 09 Level 1

      I'm sure everyone by now has seen presentations of the new AE CS5. Besides native support for 64-bit platforms, they introduced a very appealing feature called Roto Brush. Besides Adobe employees telling "how great it is", did anyone outside Adobe try it? What do you think, is it really that intuitive? And, is it worth $300 for an upgrade?

        • 1. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          From everything I've heard (non-Adobe folks included) the new AE is worth the upgrade just for the 64 bit, never mind any new effects.

           

          Here's a non-Adobe person with a tutorial on it.

          It's still early days and I don't think an opinion on how useful it will be can be given just yet, but the results (even without him knowing the tool well) are promising.

          • 2. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
            yenaphe Level 4

            CS5 upgrade is definitly a must have. Rotobrush is of course far from perfect, but it's really a time saver, and you easily divide by 3 or 4 your rotoscoping time, depending on thecomplexity of your object, and the frame you choose as the starting point of your rotobrush.

             

            But it's not a  one button solution. The tool have a learning curve, but it quickly gives good results.

            • 4. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              Well, we are all perhaps too close to Big Red A or else we wouldn't even be able to tell you about RB... Still, aside from this and all the bias we may have, I think the tool can be valuable if you do a lot of keying, roto and color correction. You should not see it as the perfect one-stop solution to these problems, but it can help you to prepare such footage and, most critically, create quick results for previewing, so you can work with a crude version very early and worry about a clean matte later. if there is enough contrast, it may even be enough on its own e.g. for sky replacements or removing e.g. traffic sign poles in a shot. If it's enough upgrade incentive for you, depends on how much such work you do, I guess...

               

              Mylenium

              • 5. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                DC B. 09 Level 1

                Yea, thanks everyone. My only concern with the example posted above is that it is too contrasted and is not very realistic situation. Still, the native 64-bit architecture is quite appealing and may be worth on its own.

                 

                Todd, since your little avatar says "employee" (although I don't know your job title), still can I ask you one other thing. How come AE is always trailing behind Photoshop in all of its innovations? Why didn't you guys incorporate that new content-aware fill technology into AE as well. That would be so much handy for people that work with video as well.

                • 6. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                  yenaphe Level 4

                  Content fill aware is a very complexe technology for single frame images, but it requires very very very much more work to make it work for moving pictures. You have to deal with camera shake, color consistency, moving objects... (in the adobe horse exemple, you would have to key out a moving horse with his tail waving, and reconstruct the trees moving behind to the wind).

                   

                  Imagine the kind of development work it would require when you know that it's already so difficult to convincely remove a greenscreen from a shot without leaving artifacts even when it's shot properly. You even have dedicated software just for this. So content fill aware for moving picture won't be for tomorrow, but it will become available eventually during the next 10 years or so.

                   

                  That's why it's not really fair to compare PS and AE on this kind of technologies.

                   

                  BTW, you can learn more about Todd by visiting his blog

                   

                  And on a last note, combining AE rotobrush and PS content fill aware with Mocha tracking can greatly improve your workflow.

                   

                  Take your shot, select a single frame to export to PS, content aware fill-it, track your shot in mocha, import the content aware filled psd into AE, rotobrush your moving stuff you wanna get rid of, and fill the gaps with the content aware filled psd imported, and apply the mocha tracking onto it.

                   

                  Then do some color correction and the usual compositing stuff to make it look great !

                  • 7. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                    Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                    Sebastien answered well for me.

                    • 8. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                      DC B. 09 Level 1
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                      Sébastien Périer wrote:

                       

                      And on a last note, combining AE rotobrush and PS content fill aware with Mocha tracking can greatly improve your workflow.


                      That's what I mean -- if one can do this manually, why not automate it? That would definitely improve my workflow. But, that's OK. I was just curious to hear from the Adobe people why AE has to always pick up Ps innovations couple of years later?

                      • 9. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                        yenaphe Level 4

                        Because it's very difficult to be able to do it automatically for all explained above.

                         

                        If you execute the " AE rotobrush, PS content fill aware, Mocha tracking" you'll see that Rotobrush is not a "one button" solution, it really needs refining and manual help, same for Mocha.

                         

                        Content fill aware is incredible because it's done by sampling bits of images around the "hole area" and rebuilding the "missing data", but it's just a guess work, and guess work works brilliantly on single images not on video. This is because the sampling areas changes from frame to frame, and recreating consistancy on moving picture, and maintaining color consistency on footage are really really hard to do in an automated way.

                         

                        Maybe others will chime in with better explanations than me, but AE is not "behind Photoshop", it's just that PS technologies works best on single shots, because it's PS job at it's root (even if it can do some 3D / video now), and the AE team focuses on video technologies (such as Rotobrush for instance).

                         

                        As both teams are working on imagery, sure some stuff overlaps between the two, and sure it can feel like AE is behind PS, but honestly, there a huge huge gap between photo and video, and automated process in one area is much more difficult than in the other.

                         

                        But hopefully, there are bridges between the two apps allowing to get bits from PS and put them into AE.

                        • 10. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                          The claim that After Effects is behind Photoshop is silly. For example, which program had layers first? (Hint: It's not Photoshop.) A more recent example is Puppet effect and Puppet Warp.

                           

                          The teams work together, and we share innovations.

                          • 11. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                            DC B. 09 Level 1

                            Sébastien, thank you for teaching me the difference between video and still images. Just curious, are you in any way associated with Adobe to make those assumptions?

                             

                            And, Todd, I cannot go that far back in time to tell which application first introduced layers. I also understand that Adobe didn't develop AE prior to the version 3.0 (if I'm not mistaking) and Photoshop is it's "native" application, thus resulting in a slightly different interfaces (even today), and possibly more difficulty for you guys to adopt whatever had been introduced in Ps. Again, it's just my guess at this point since you don't say it otherwise.

                             

                            As for my previous claim about Ps being on the forefront of Adobe's innovations, then take a look, there are so many things that Ps has that AE doesn't, for instance: range of (handy) selection tools, or cloning brushes, or layer grouping would be just a few off the top of my head. So, no offense, but Ps is way ahead of AE in that sense. (Again I understand that I cannot compare two side by side, since they both work with different media. I'm simply pointing out those nifty tools that Ps has, that would be very nice to have in AE.)

                             

                            So is it just me, or anyone else feels the same?

                            • 12. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                              Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              Don't forget that you can open footage files in PS and work on them that way if you want to.

                               

                              The thing to remember is that AE and PS work in very different ways, and thus some technologies simply don't translate easily (or at all).  Primarily, the major difference is that AE is conpletely non-destructive, requiring constant and frequent re-rendering of effects as you work.

                               

                              Content Aware Fill is an extremely complex technology, and to translate it in a workable way into a non-destructive motion environment like AE is not as simple as popping the plugin into a folder.  Adobe are careful to implement features properly and completely, rather than quickly and haphazardly - thank goodness.  Odds are this technology will find its way into AE at some point, but probably in a quite different form to how it works in PS.  In the meantime, there are several logical and usable workarounds to take advantage of the best possibilities within each application, as documented above.

                              • 13. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                                yenaphe Level 4

                                Nop Deb, I'm not affiliated with Adobe other than behing of user of their software for around 10 years. Damn I'm feeling so old now . I make this assumptions because I'm working in that field as a post-production supervisor, but also as a developer.

                                 

                                But another thing is to understand that Ps and AE are going in different direction. Ps is obviously a "painting program" whereas Ae is a compositing program. That's why you have much much more painting tools inside Ps, including a clone stamp. On the other hand we have masks and keyers to do this kind of job. That doesn't mean that AE users are not wanting tools from Ps, like 3D import for exemple , or layer folders !

                                 

                                So to sum it up, Ae is not a Ps for video, it's aiming different goals, but as they are both using images as their sources and are developed in the same location, they share technologies and both adapt them for their specific needs.

                                • 14. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                                  As for my previous claim about Ps being on the forefront of Adobe's innovations, then take a look, there are so many things that Ps has that AE doesn't, for instance: range of (handy) selection tools, or cloning brushes, or layer grouping would be just a few off the top of my head. So, no offense, but Ps is way ahead of AE in that sense. (Again I understand that I cannot compare two side by side, since they both work with different media. I'm simply pointing out those nifty tools that Ps has, that would be very nice to have in AE.)

                                   

                                  So is it just me, or anyone else feels the same?

                                   

                                  I think you are getting yourself to worked up over this and not considering many quite specific things. Software engineering is a complex process (which you as a programmer should know) and doesn't mean just linking a few source files and compiling them. There are different APIs at work here and just the addition of time as a concept complicates matters a bazillion times. Or do you think PS selection tools would be of any use if the only produced jittery output because they did no temporal smoothing? Equally, "Groups" can mean a whole lot of differnt things and adding such a feature will have to be carefully weighed against things like rendering order and the whole concept of how AE structures projects. Would groups be just a meta structure to bundle existing property streams? A whole new way of working? Eliminate pre-comping? Please think about this. Blnaket statements as to one program being behind another are neither fair nor are the in any way correct after the fact. and last but not least, do not forget the human resource factor: Only so many people are working on any given program. Compared to a flagship app like Photoshop that keeps 300 people busy, AE with its 50 people (just do an Alt+click on the About to get a list), of which only a part are the actual programmers, has much less resources and I think it's still amazing, that they can manage to maintain the app on 2 platforms and handle of a bazillion media formats. Yes, AE has its flaws, but it's not that you cannot get anything done with it, is it? I also find such discussions insincere in that you are free to choose your tools and if you are unhappy with AE, you can always try Nuke, Fusion, toxik* or whatever.... Nobody is forcing you to work with Adobe programs.

                                   

                                  Mylenium

                                  • 15. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                                    DC B. 09 Level 1

                                    Well, Mylenium, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Yes, I am a software developer and I approach this discussion as one. And, yes, I agree that it is very difficult to develop code for a new concept that some "suit" or a layman came up with in a corporate meeting or on a public forum. If you sat me down and told me to write a functioning code for, say, Quick Selection Tool, it'd probably take me months to develop it if any. But, in case of Adobe that code is already written, and that is a totally different picture, whatever you guys say. Also all this talk that AE works with moving images and Ps works with still images and thus have to be totally different is just an excuse. The only major difference is that AE may have to analyze several still images (i.e. frames) at a time when Ps mostly works with one. As Mylenium pointed out, quite rightfully so, the main issue is resources and whatever politics may exist between two depts. (AE and Ps). Also, obviously, one being [quote] "a flagship" [/quote] of Adobe, gets all the resources first. And that is my point that you guys are all prooving for me.

                                     

                                    Although I do apologize if my statements offended the AE developers (if any read this forum). I would appreciate myself if someone gave me a constructive criticism of my work, and that is exactly what I was trying to provide here, because I do love Adobe products and I do plan on continuing to use them.

                                    • 16. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                                      Also all this talk that AE works with moving images and Ps works with still images and thus have to be totally different is just an excuse. The only major difference is that AE may have to analyze several still images

                                       

                                      I don't really think so. Yes, you could use the analysis, but what happens next? How to you blend the result? Smooth the edges to avoid them wobbling all the time? That's where it gets complicated - linear averaging/ median filters do not work that well temporally, as there is always a bias due to the direction of motion (motion blur both in the source images and for the output). Similalrly, because it moves, you may not see fine details in one or two frames that are visible in otehrs, so you need to take precautions with additional analyses for detail retention.... It really opens up a whole can of worms.

                                       

                                      Mylenium

                                      • 17. Re: New Roto Brush in CS5. Worth the upgrade?
                                        aefilter Level 1

                                        I also think more dev should go to After Effects since the goals are more challenging, but c'est la vie. These videos explain how some of these technologies work and the difficulties posed by video:

                                         

                                        http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2009/01/protect-options-in-content-aware.html (2nd video)

                                        http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2010/04/siggraph-videos-on-roto-brush.html

                                         

                                        Rich