ResolveFX Surface Tracker Part 2 – Executing Beauty Work Within Fusion

June 8, 2022

In Part 2, Igor Ridanovic leverages the stabilization work of the new Surface Tracker plugin to execute beauty work on the Fusion page.


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.

Key Take-away

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.

Learning Goals

  • 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

Additional Resources

Related Mixing Light Insights

Creative Commons Footage Credit

Yaroslav Shuraev
IG: yaroslav_shuraev

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!

– Igor

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Homepage Forums ResolveFX Surface Tracker Part 2 – Executing Beauty Work Within Fusion

  • Thanks, Igor … that was a very detailed and clear presentation of some pretty picky technical steps. Very useful …

    • Thanks Neil. It’s always a challenge to keep a complex subject concise.

  • Very cool! Lots to unpack here, this new tracker opens up so many possibilities.

    I notice that the Merge tool in Resolve 18b does have Linear Dodge, is that new? I’m still not sure what the maths is in that? It seems that between the Merge tool and the Channel Booleans operations you shouldn’t really need the Custom Tool? That said, when I’ve tried similar techniques using Subtract or Difference, I get the high frequency detail on black rather than grey so that’s not quite as easy to see.

    Anyway, thank you for this, painting on the high frequency only is a great idea!

  • Leon Grin

    Thank you Igor, amazing tutorial. Very helpful.


  • Scott Stacy

    There is a ton to unpack, which will keep me busy!

    Awesome Insight.  Thanks.

  • Cesar Amaral

    Hi, Igor. What would be the best way to deal with the cloning brush artifacts? Like here: and here a couple of frames before:

    Edit: Apparently if I use a timespeed set to 0 before the paint node, it works!!

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Cesar Amaral.

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  • Cesar Amaral

    New question: For tracking reasons, I did a surface track on the subject forehead, did the beauty work and then made a separated surface track on the right side of her face. Problem is I don’t know how to merge my work as one, and using the merge node will only show one of the two processes. Here’s a pic: and

    Any ideas?

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Cesar Amaral.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Cesar Amaral.

    View post on

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