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Keylight and Furnace 4 for FXPlug

The Foundry has released both Keylight and Furnace FXPlug for Motion and Final Cut Pro By Kevin McAuliffe

For a while now, it seems that compositors, other than those of us using Motion, have been spoiled. We have had access to one of the best (if not THE best) keying plug-ins available in Keylight (ships with all versions of Adobe's After Effects), and users of higher end compositing applications like Shake and Nuke have had Furnace at their finger tips. Well, not any more. The Foundry has now released both Keylight and Furnace FXPlug for both Motion, and if you prefer, Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind that in this article I am looking at both Keylight and Furnace, but they are sold as individual packages. Keylight being one, and Furnace being the other. Let's see if you will want to add these to your arsenal.

Installation of both plug-in sets (Keylight and Furnace) are quick and easy. Something to keep in mind when purchasing The Foundry's plug-ins is that you do require a license file that needs to be put into your MAC HD>LIBRARY>APPLICATION SUPPORT>THE FOUNDRY folder after you purchase the plug-in.  The Foundry does offer a free trial of both packages which can be downloaded from their website.

What you get and how it works

Keylight is probably one of the most in-depth, but easy to use keying plug-ins you will find. Used on such feature films as Wanted, Speed Racer, Sweeney Todd and King Kong, Keylight will be your only choice for keying. The great thing about Keylight is that because it is an FXPlug effect, you don't even need to leave Final Cut Pro, which is awesome. I'm going to show you a very quick demonstration on how Keylight works, so you can see what I'm talking about. Here is a green screen shot from a past tutorial.

Now, I'm going to make sure that the layer I'm going to key is on video layer two, and I'm going to put an awesome looking brick wall layer behind me on video layer one (from BCC5).

Now, since there is a lot of the image I don't need, I'm going to crop it out with the basic "Motion" crop tool.

Believe it or not, I am now only a few clicks away from a great looking key. Don't be intimidated by the Keylight filter tab. It looks complicated, but for my key, we're really only going to deal with the "Screen Color" (the eyedropper that selects our green screen color), and the "Screen Matte" section.

Once I select my "Screen Color," you can see that my key looks. . . O.K., but I can still see a bit of the screen if I look closely.

What we want to do is clean it quick and easily, and how to do that is with our "Screen Matte" section, but first, we want to see the key only, so we can really fine tune it. How we do that is we toggle the "View" drop down from "Final Result" to "Screen Matte", and you can now see just the matte.

Screen matte selected

Now, by toggling the "Screen Matte" drop down, we can adjust the "Clip Black" and "Clip White" levels so that we have a nice, crisp mask. We're going to set our "CB" to 0.4, and our CW level to 0.8, and now look at our key.

Now we can switch back to our "Final Result", and you can see that the edges need a little tweaking, so we can adjust the "Screen Dilate" to -0.08, and the "Screen Softness to 0.05. Here's what the edges look like now.

And here is the final result with a little drop shadow added for realism.

Nice, especially considering the footage was shot in (very compressed) HDV. Overall, Keylight produces great results, but there is a slight problem. I find it to be very laggy for an FXPlug plug-in. Now, I'm running it on a Core 2 Duo, 4G Ram, 2.66, and as far as I'm concerned, a key should not be processor intensive. I'm not asking it to play it back in real time, I just want to see the results almost instantaneously. In my opinion, that is the only problem with it. Otherwise, I think it's one of, if not the best key plug-in on the market. 

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Related Keywords:motion graphics, effects plugins, visual effects,


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