I have a 5 second Video clip of our main Character smiling and when he opens his mouth we see that his tooth is gone. We have painted the whole tooth black but there is a shine on it and it doesn't look right. You can see that the hole up to his gum is black and probably should probably be more red.The shot itself is static.

I was wondering how to remove this tooth in after effects. Its the final shot of the film so is important to get right. I have after Effects CS5.5 and Motion.

If necessary we would shoot it again if anyone has any tips. Thanks!

Thanks everyone that replied. Sorry for the delay in getting back. We had a bereavement in the family and everything was left. I think Rotoscoping is the way to go. Will update when i fix the problem.

  • Could you possibly be working with the MC Bat Commander? Nov 19, 2014 at 20:45
  • Could you add a screenshot of your issue to the question?
    – p2or
    Jan 18, 2015 at 18:17
  • You might want to look at the Roto Brush, and mask tracking. These will make roto a lot easier.
    – stib
    Jan 19, 2015 at 7:45
  • I like that you went the practical route first, ie painting the tooth black. Any chance you could just pull the tooth? ;-) Jan 20, 2015 at 17:27

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately, the only answer is rotoscoping. You have to remove the tooth from each frame manually. Rotoscoping tools will help give a closer starting point, but that kind of object removal where both the object and the background behind it are changing and moving is nearly impossible to do without manual effort.

Note, if everything in the mouth behind the teeth is black or basically the same color, then you have a lot more options as Brett outlined in his answer. I was assuming that there was more detail in the mouth based on your description that would require background painting, but if you can avoid background painting for the mouth, then rotoscoping isn't needed.


I have a couple options you might consider.

1) Create a small picture in Photoshop that looks like the "hole" you want. Include a transparent (alpha channel) background, so it's really just the black or black+red color that you want, in the shape of his tooth. Then in After Effects, or even Premiere, place that image in the right place. Finally, animate it to follow any subtle movements of the actor's face. (This probably won't work if the actor is talking or if his lip is moving at all.)

2) This one is a bit more dicey, but COULD work. Since you're willing to shoot the shot again, do a test where you cover someone's tooth with BRIGHT GREEN, with the same lighting conditions you'll use. Then use the After Effects chromakey (green screen) feature to see if you can replace that green area with a black or red-black color or image. Using that technique will create a traveling mask FOR you, so you don't have to mask every frame yourself. But as I suggested, do a test FIRST. Since the actor's upper lip will create a shadow on the tooth, it might not work (or might not work very well).

  • Since they painted it black, they might also be able to try a luminance key with the existing footage (and some major healing tolerance for the bright spot). What to replace it with is going to be the major issue though unless it is exposed such that the back of the mouth is completely or near completely black.
    – AJ Henderson
    Nov 19, 2014 at 18:56

For such a short clip, just paint over each frame as needed using the brush tool.

This reminds me of "The Hangover", but Ed Helms actually had his implant removed for the film. No effect needed there.

If it helps, everything I've ever seen where they just painted the tooth has been obvious to me. I think the audience is pretty forgiving here. Should be easy to at least remove the shine ("specular highlights" if we're being technical), and anything further that you do is just bonus.


I came up with another option last night. It involves reshooting, and would cost some money. The idea is to get "dentures" for the actor that have a tooth missing. The gumline of the "dentures" would be where the actor's real teeth are. The artificial teeth would extend beyond that, and of course one would be missing. If the actor could position his lips so it looked natural, this would probably give the most believable effect since the tooth would actually be missing.

  • Great idea for a non-technical solution to a complex technical problem.
    – AJ Henderson
    Nov 20, 2014 at 19:50
  • @AJHenderson Thanks! I wish there were more questions on this forum that had potentially low-tech solutions like this one. Nov 20, 2014 at 20:10

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