Getting Great Greenscreen Keys Using Fusion’s Delta Keyer

October 11, 2022

Have you ever used Fusion's 'Delta Keyer' for greenscreens - but with poor results? You missed a step! Joey D'Anna gets you keying properly.

Fusion’s Delta Keyer: An incredibly powerful but misunderstood tool

When I first started using the Delta Keyer in Fusion – I never seemed to get the results I was expecting. Keys took a lot of tweaking, and it always seemed harder than it should be.

This got me thinking of one of my overall philosophies when it comes to just about any type of workflow:

“If you are working really hard – there is probably a better way to approach the problem”.

Joey D’Anna

Understanding the delta in ‘Delta Keyer’

Turns out – I was using the Delta Keyer completely wrong!

‘Delta’ refers to the difference between two things, and differences are exactly what this powerful keyer exploits to make great keys.

Instead of removing a single color from the background, the Delta Keyer subtracts a clean version of the greenscreen, including its imperfections and nonuniformities. This eliminates many of the normal pain points of greenscreen keying – but requires you to have a clean plate – or a shot of the greenscreen with nothing in the foreground.

Thankfully, if you don’t have an actual photographed clean plate available – Fusion has a great way of generating one using the clean plate node. In this Insight, I’ll walk you through building a clean plate

Key takeaways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight, you should understand the following:

  • How the Delta Keyer is different than normal keyers, and why a single color selection isn’t ideal
  • Using the Clean Plate node to make a good clean plate for the Delta Keyer to work from
  • Adjusting and tuning the resulting key and adding garbage mattes
  • Finishing the comp on the color page

Questions or Comments? Leave a comment!

Is this Insight useful to you? Let us know! Mixing Light is all about community discussions, and we’re curious if you found this helpful, if you have something to add, or if you have more questions we can address?

– Joey

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Homepage Forums Getting Great Greenscreen Keys Using Fusion’s Delta Keyer

  • Jim Robinson

    Hey Joey –
    I am not that familiar with these tools as well and was probably doing it wrongly before too. Is the clean plate able to have an actual clean grab of the green screen used? – it seems like in the past, when I did get footage for green screen, they filmed a 30 second clip of the green screen without the talent in front of it.
    Just curious.
    The tip at the end, using the 2nd media out for grading on the color page, is worth the watch alone.
    I didn’t know that was possible either.
    I always seem to find your insights , insightful. So thanks again.

    • Thanks so much Jim! Yea absolutely- assuming the framing/lighting hasn’t changed, if you have a shot clean plate of the green screen it should work awesome.

  • Joey, this is great! Exactly what I need on the job I’m working on… and the stupid thing is that I already knew most of this but I wasn’t using it. Your demo really brings home how much better this tool is when used correctly!

  • Leon Shields

    Excellent tutorial Joey. I have used the Delta Key with good results in the past, but this method puts a really unique perspective on pulling a good key. Will try soon.

  • Okay, Joey… this is game-changing 😅

    I found myself jumping to the 3D Keyer too, after getting frustrated with the delta Keyer. But I will definitely try this new trick out on my next job (which happens to be in a few days).

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thanks! Don’t get me wrong – I still think the 3D keyer is amazing. For a lot of keys its the perfect tool – and I love being able to build the whole comp on the color page.


      But for super challenging keys with non-uniform or overly compressed or noisy backgrounds? Man the delta keyer is killer. Same as you I was having frustrating initial results and it was never the tool’s fault – I was just approaching it wrong!


      • Absolutely! The 3D Keyer is a killer feature to have in the Color page (and man, I’d stay away from the fusion page for as much as I could eheh).

        That said, for more complex keying and ‘true’ VFX work, I’ll definitely play around with the Clean Plate in combination with the Delta Keyer. 🤝

  • Massively helpful Joey!

    Now I just need to start experimenting!

  • John Carl

    Great tutorial. This is also a great reminder to me as a DP to always shoot a clean plate of the green screen. Seems like having a truly clean plate (rather than having to create a clean plate) would give an almost perfect result. And so cool that the clean plate node exists in those instances where a clean plate was not provided by the production. Actionable tips like this really justify the cost of Mixing Light. This tutorial will directly help me on many shoots/color sessions in the future. Thank you!

    • thanks so much! yea if the camera is locked down – shooting a real clean plate should work nicely. Only worry is if it got bumped or moved etc it may not line up perfectly. But it’s definitely worth recording it.

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