Platform: Adobe Creative Cloud CC (premiere, ae, etc.)

Basically I have a shot that I would want to do practically. The shot should look like one shot, static, and we see a guy (profile-medium) talking then stops...and smoke gently comes out of his mouth. Now the source of the smoke is not a cigarette in the shot but I could use a cigarette to get the smoke look. My reason for going practical is because I cant find a realistic AE effect and this is a realistic video. So the way I originally wanted to go about it was like this:

  1. Have him stand in the profile and talk until the point that I would cut (between him talking and the smoke), have him stand in the exact same position then have him drag a cig, keep his face in that position and then let the smoke come out.

Are there any special Adobe techniques to make this as fluid and unnoticeable (the cut) as possible.? thanks and sorry for the verbosity.

  • 1
    Please add some reference images to the question. What kind of smoke do you want to achieve?
    – p2or
    Apr 13, 2015 at 14:14
  • 1
    Adobe just teased "morph cut" functionality in Premiere. There will probably be an official announcement, and possibly release at NAB, which is going on right now (week of apr 13, 2015). Apr 13, 2015 at 14:39

3 Answers 3


I like your idea. You might be able to make a convincing smoke element to superimpose on your shot like this:

  1. get a black sheet or piece of posterboard
  2. cut a small, mouth-sized hole in the posterboard
  3. paint the actor's lips black
  4. have the actor stand behind the black posterboard, and blow smoke through the hole

The lighting would be pretty tricky. The best bet would be to have a light directly overhead, not on the black posterboard at all. The light would (hopefully) catch the smoke but keep the posterboard exceptionally dark. It could be darkened more in After Effects when you're superimposing it (probably as a chromakey where the key color is black). In addition, you could create a traveling mask over the shape of the smoke.

  • would that traveling mask be difficult because of the flowing tenuous nature of smoke?
    – TreeKing
    Apr 14, 2015 at 6:43
  • I draw my masks a frame at a time in After Effects. I also include as many points on the mask as I think I need, and I adjust the feathering of the mask edge to make it blend in. To be fair, my masks are usually for quick motion that is not the central focus of the shot, so it doesn't have to look 100% perfect since the audience won't have all of their attention on it. Apr 14, 2015 at 19:15

It might be possible to create a small, breakable container of powdered sugar that the actor would keep in his mouth while talking. At the key moment, the actor could subtly inhale, break the container, and blow the powdered sugar out. It should look a lot like smoke (though the smoke would have to be blown rather than drifting out of the actor's mouth).

If you test this, be careful since inhaled powdered sugar can make you choke & cough.


Rather than cut you could consider compositing the shot, with the face coming from the first (talking shot) and the smoke coming from the second. Or as @BrettFromLA suggested, shoot the smoke against black, matching the angle.

Either way, do some tests before you shoot.

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