Part 2: Beauty work using frequency separation in Fusion
In part one we learned how to track a face using Resolve Surface Tracker and round trip the stabilized face through Fusion. In this part we finish the task by using a frequency separation technique to do the beauty work in Fusion.
After tracking and stabilizing comes complexion smoothing
All beauty work requires tracking since living beings are poor at staying perfectly still. To simplify our work, instead of tracking individual shapes and strokes to the moving image, we stabilize the face (essentially, making it as still as possible), clean it up, and then warp/re-animate it back to its original plate. This is where the Surface Tracker may really shine!
In this Insight, we’re limiting ourselves to the specific task of complexion smoothing. We avoid geometry changes like enlarging the lips, moving the eyes, etc.
About beauty work
Beauty work is a big subject. It’s a very specialized discipline which takes a long time to master. It’s not something that can be easily distilled in a single tutorial. And even this two-part Insight is rather complicated for the uninitiated. However, if you are experienced with this type of work, the Surface Tracker can be a very useful, and welcome, new tool.
On the broader subject of beauty work, I have a mixed opinion.
Although the general public understands that models and actors are often made to look perfect way beyond their natural appearance, beauty work does contribute to body dysmorphia in teens and adults.
That said, our clients still very much ask us to do this work – so we need to be prepared. Tools like the new surface tracker hold the promise of letting us do this work more quickly and efficiently. In the process, we can guide our clients to using a light touch to avoid being unreal.
The key to this entire Insight is understanding how the new ResolveFX Surface Tracker enhances this workflow by stabilizing the image on input. This saves a ton of time and effort since we don’t have to track our paint strokes across time. Then, back on the Color Page, the Surface Tracker has many controls for refining how the Fusion beauty work integrates on top of the original plate.
- Using Fusion’s ‘Custom Tool’ to define the high-frequency separation
- How to retain important tonal detail, so the image doesn’t look unrealistic
- Using grain to add texture to the smoothed image
- Using masks to limit the smoothing operations
- Fine-tuning the final composite on the Color Page
- Blackmagic Fusion YouTube Tutorial: Frequency Separation Retouching – Simon Ubsdell’s Blackmagic Fusion Tutorial: Frequency Separation Retouching tutorial teaching the same technique used in this Insight.
Related Mixing Light Insights
- The Fundamentals of Color Correcting for Beauty – One of the original Insights released when Mixing Light launched in 2013.
- Practical Beauty Grading Series – Dan Moran’s 2-part series on this topic.
- Advanced Beauty Grading Series – Dan Moran’s 5-part series.
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Comments, Questions, Requests?
This Insight gets deep into Fusion and VFX workflows. Would you like to see more of these types of Insights? Do you have questions about this Insight or did you get confused? Use the comments to have a conversation!