Basically my problem is I have footage which I need to manually key. I need something like an unlimited point matte which would allow me to cut an actor out of a background by hand with no limits on the number of points in the matte. Ideally this would be done in Premiere, but I have access to After Effects as well, I just don't like using it. Also, if this is possible to do frame by frame as an image sequence in something like GIMP I can do that to. I'm not sure if it's possible to import an alpha channel into Premiere though.

2 Answers 2


I think you need to use the Rotobrush rotoscope tool in AE.. Good luck! It will take a while...

Tutorial link: https://library.creativecow.net/harrington_richard/after-effects-cs5-roto/1

  • Yeah, I knew no matter how efficient a tool I find, this is going to be pretty time consuming. It's about 1800 frames. I'll check that tool out though. Jan 1, 2015 at 0:21
  • Mocha plugin for AE is also worth a look. It's been used to roto a lot of feature films. Jan 1, 2015 at 3:48

I'm fairly certain you can use alpha masking in Premiere. Basically you make a black and white animated layer that provides the opacity for the footage in Premiere and the effect gets applied to combine the two layers. I will double check when I get home to make sure I'm not accidentally thinking of After Effects though. I sometimes cross the two in my head since I switch between them pretty readily.

  • Think the advantage of the rotobrush is that it will try to predict where the edges are moving to, so in theory you don't have to re-adjust every frame, only correct it when it goes wrong. In practice though, it's not that clever...
    – tomh
    Jan 1, 2015 at 0:23
  • You might also want to check out After Effect's mask tracking helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/rigid-mask-tracking.html
    – stib
    Jan 1, 2015 at 12:32

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