Portraiture Video Plug-in

Portraiture Video Plug-in Skin Retouching for Video

Photographers often retouch portraits for skin blemishes, and you can do the same when editing a video. The algorithm to make skin smoother and improve its looks is the same, but to accommodate a moving subject, you must have the means to follow the subject's face as it moves across the frames.

I tested the Portraiture Video Plug-in for Apple Final Cut Pro X, although it's also available for many other nonlinear editors (NLEs), including Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Sony Vegas Pro, and Da Vinci Resolve (now in beta).

Portraiture offers two basic enhancements: smoothing and tint/warmth adjustments. To create a mask that applies only to a face, you allow the plug-in to first calculate the mask automatically. During testing, the calculation was blazingly fast, but it consistently created a mask that was either too big or too small for the purpose. Although you can adjust the mask yourself, you'll have a hard time making it work perfectly if skinlike colors appear in the background.

I was only able to obtain a clean mask against a uniform background that lacked skinlike colors. If the mask isn't perfect, you'll end up with a glamour glow that bleeds through in the background when the subject's head moves even slightly.

Because you can't block the mask with a secondary key, or create a tracking path that firmly defines facial contours, you can't achieve a perfect result against backgrounds with skinlike tints.

Some award-winning plug-ins have already demonstrated that this can be done. As it is now, the Portraiture Video Plug-in looks to me like a photo plug-in that was ported too quickly to make it work in NLEs.

Company: Imagenomic, LLC
Price: $99/year
Rating: 2.5
Hot: Easy to use
Not: No tracking capabilities; expensive