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Digital Film Tools Power Matte

Generating mattes for After Effects By Jim Geduldick
If you are like me and every other user of After Effects, then you will be doing your fair share of masking and generating mattes for your compositing work in After Effects. I have been using Digital Film Tools products for a number of years and they have a few plug-ins for After Effects, Photoshop, Avid and Final Cut Pro that are extremely helpful.

One of the newer tools is a plug-in for After Effects 7 and above called Power Matte. Power Matte is an extremely easy to use matting tool that makes the task of extracting images for compositing a breeze.

As you can see from the plug-in controls, it is not a complex set of parameters that would usually scare away most users, the power lies under the hood of this plug-in. Power Matte uses After Effects open or closed masks as well as other source mattes to define the object's foreground and background, allowing you to isolate and extract what you want and don't want. These do not have to be pin point accurate masks either. They can in some cases be a looser mask depending on the images.

The two methods of using either open or closed masks is up to the user and based on the material used. If you do not like the outcome of the matte generated from an open mask, try using a closed mask to refine the areas. Power Matte creates mattes by using a pre-segmented image made up of three regions called Trimaps. Digital Film Tools explains this as foreground (what you want to extract) background (what to get rid of) and unknown are all used to make the final matte.

If you have ever had to deal with compositing anything with fringes from cloth or hair, you know how you have to tweak alot or parameters and do multiple masks and mattes to get a clean extraction. Well Power Matte will amaze you with how clean of a matte you can extract with just one pass of the plug-in.

If you happen to do alot of green or blue screen work, you're going to get good examples whether the green or blue of the screen was lit poorly. This is because Power Matte does not need a specific color channel for the material to be shot against. I am sure after you play with the demo available on the Digital Film Tools site you will see the need for this great tool to add to your arsenal.

The price is $195.00 and it is available on both Mac 10.4 and above and PC for Windows XP/Vista. It runs on After Effects 7 and CS3 with 8- and 16-bit processing. For more information, visit

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>Jim Geduldick is a freelance editor, motion graphic artist, post production engineer and cinematographer. He got he start with editing and cinematography by filming friends skateboarding and snowboarding back in the days of High 8 cameras. Jim co-leads AENY(After Effects NY) He is also a moderator at and has a blog with his buddy Nate. When he isn't stuck behind a monitor he can be found teaching his son to skateboard, nerding out with his music collection and spending to much money on vinyl toys.
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