Fixing Star Wars with After Effects | Face Swap VFX tutorial

In the previous videos in this series
we’ve used new animation technologies to reanimate the Simpsons Rick and Morty
and create whatever this is now let’s try and fix Star Wars rise of Skywalker with the rise of Skywalker on the
horizon we all know that the best way to end an epic and beloved story is to turn
the strong female lead evil at the end for no reason so let’s take this shot
from the trailer and see how we can turn Rey to the dark side with some simple
animation techniques I’ll be using EBsynth which is a software that will
apply the style of a single frame to the whole scene it’s got some limitations but
on a shot like this with little movement it should be useful we need to export
the shot as an image sequence which I’ve done in After Effects this first frame
here is the most zoomed out where we can see the most background so let’s choose this
one as our keyframe and take it into Photoshop I found some references for
the Emperor and then first I darkened her top and desaturated the skin with an
adjustment layer using the selection of her skin as a mask I had add a curves
adjustment layer to darken the lips and around the eyes using a mask to only
affect those areas then I painted the saggy face wrinkles and discoloration of
the eyes with the brush tool just using a round brush with the opacity set to
pen pressure this is our final frame with EB synth open I added the new
keyframe which we just made then added the image sequence for original footage
choose one number frame it was and then hit synth and this could take a while
depending on how long a shot is and the resolution of each frame here is what EBsynth rendered it’s not bad the change of the color to the skin and to the top are
pretty much flawless but these wrinkles are jiggling all over
the place clearly wasn’t enough information in the original footage to
track to if we look at the original footage there’s not much contrast around
the cheek areas it’s mainly a sort of one flat fleshy color it doesn’t change
but frame to frame I did hope this would turn out better for a first shot but
working in motion design is all about problem solving so there’s a few things
that we can do to fix this it’s the wrinkles that’s the problem they’re
moving too much and they shouldn’t really be moving at all so I’m going to
try to track the static wrinkles to the motion of this shot
so let’s hide this EB synth layer I’m gonna create a new null I’ll rename that
track 01 because we’ve always label our layers I want to select our original
clip go to the tracker window over here if you can’t see your tracker window go
over to window and should be under tracker if you can’t see it in your
workspace already and then we’re gonna select track motion this will bring up a
single tracking point and we want to select scale to track to the
position and scale of race head because the face is gonna get bigger as the
camera gets closed so this gives us two tracking points it’s best to select
areas of high contrast that don’t change much in the scene so we’re gonna select
Rey’s hair over here and then with this tracking point I want to select Rey’s
eyebrows at this side because those areas have some high contrast and stay
pretty stationary compared to race movement throughout the shot we’re gonna
select our target and make sure that is layer one out tracking null and we’re
gonna select the play button which will analyze this video forward it’ll take a
minute or so and then let’s click apply now the position and scale data from
that track is now keyframed on to our null and if we scrub through we can see
it’s reasonably accurate now into this composition I’m going to add the still
that we made of Rey or Palpatine up and I want to parent that to our we’re tracking
null using the pick whip and with that pen tool selected up here let’s draw a
rough mask around Rey’s face that tracking isn’t bad but you can clearly tell that
it’s just a still over her face let’s turn on our Ebsynth layer again so we can
see that underneath now you can see it matches much better but the head still
kind of sticks out a bit we need to get back that movement in the eyes nose and
mouth that were all pretty good from that EB synth layer so that’s on that
still we’re gonna draw another mask which is gonna go around her eyes nose
and mouth and we’re gonna bring up and masked probabilities with m on the
keyboard and we’re gonna set our mask to to subtract which is just gonna reveal the
eyes nose mouth underneath you’ll still see a pretty crisp edge here
so let’s feather that mask by pressing F on our keyboard let’s make that about
30 now for play that back the wrinkles are static and the rest of the face is a
subtle movement and blinking now it’s still not totally convincing but there’s
a few more things to help make the scene more believable
add some flame and the particles now you could make these in trapcode particular
or even CC particle world but on Mitch Martinez comm which has provided a bunch
of free for Kate stock footage including a whole lot of amber particles that are
perfect for this what you see is you’re going to notice them everywhere even in
ads and movies all over the place so let’s drag that footage into our
composition set the blending mode to screen scale it down now that we’ve got
some additional destruction happening let’s add a camera shape to add some
camera shake I’m going to add another new null parent out footage and our
tracking null to add a new camera shake null open up its position and I’m gonna
alt click the position stopwatch to open up our expression window and add the
expression wiggle 12 comma 3 and what this expression does it will increase
the position 12 times per second up to 3 pixels and if we play back with this
rapid little shifting of everything which mirrors a camera shake and let’s
scale this up to 101 percent as well so we don’t get any little black edges as
that footage slips outside the composition window and this quick camera
shake gives the whole scene a bit more weight to something destructive
happening but more importantly it hides and distract from the imperfections in
this track and the compact of this new face
now these techniques with the particles and the camera shake can be a bit
overused and used as a crutch but I was desperate let’s have a tiny bit of color
correction with an adjustment layer and the curves effects applied just to make
that orange pop a bit more after the shot we’re done now this certainly
wouldn’t hold up in a studio setting or under a lot of scrutiny from a VFX
enthusiast but for two hours messing around in Photoshop After Effects and
some free software it’s not bad I also made a version replacing Rey’s face with
chewie which works as horribly as you might expect and on with jar jar binks
as well this once again is not great but also not terrible for how different the
faces are and we can all agree that this trilogy is missing some desperately
needed Jar Jar I’m thinking of doing a video with baby
Yoda next in this series so how should I’ve vandalise him with
animation let me know down in the comments please let me know down
in the comments what other animated properties you’d like to see me
vandalize for this and some other cutting edge software I’ll see you in
the next video Subtitle: Zoe J Marriott

Bernard Jenkins


  1. This had so many good tips in it. And I had no idea EBsynth existed until now, so thanks!

  2. Love this. ALSO you should totally do a series where amateur motion designers send you compositions and you can give tips on how to make them better!!

  3. Don’t vandalize Baby Yoda please 😂 🙏🏼 I was going to suggest you add visible points to her face and run the program again to see if it improved the results 🤷‍♂️

  4. The only way to fix Star Wars now would be to mask Rey completely out of every scene she is in lol. That short Jar Jar Binks clip will be forever stuck in my nightmares.

  5. Big eyes is a cheap trick to make something cute to distract everyone from the mediocre plot and wafer thin character motivations. Give Baby Yoda the same size pupils as adult Yoda.

  6. Instead of the mask what if after you tracked it you put a grid pattern tracked over her face so that ebsynth won’t be as confused by how to properly scale things? It’s been awhile since I played with it.

  7. Why not trying using AE tracking to add points to her face, and then export that to let EBsynth have something to hang onto for its own tracking?

  8. First Thing he does to Rey…
    me: Interesting

    Reddit Leaks which may or may not be true: Interesting

  9. Your honesty is gold when you recognize the desperation hahah. However, before actually seeing the how-to, I totally bought it by the IG stories you posted. I love the vandalize thing, it should be a movement and I would love to write the manifesto. 😂

  10. The intro of the video is telling me that all of this happens up the bats ass. Seems legit.

  11. Great! I think the tool is pronounced as eb-synth, as a pun on the drink Absinthe.

  12. Fix Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen show… That CGI and make up is so bad 🤮

  13. It is really helpful how you give little tips and shortcuts throughout while still focusing on the main content.
    Great commentary and video! Thanks!

  14. Could you provide a link to the software, I couldn’t understand what it’s called E.B. Sen. ???

  15. Nice work, should change Rey's Eyes to Yellow so they stand out more from all that darkness.

  16. When I saw Palpatine in the rise of skywalker, he reminds me to Valak. I'd love to see Valak holding a red lightsaber.

  17. for me personaly, that would have made the movies way better already if she run around like that, and thats not a joke
    dont vandalize my baby yoda, everytime i see it in the series i want to cut my head off because its so cute 😀

  18. Star Wars spoiler alert!

    Funny how he made her the emperor, because in the movie, he is shown to be her grandfather

  19. Do you think this AI can be used to digitally restore in HD low quality videos? It would be interesting to use it to restore an old SD animation.

  20. you're very creative.

    but this kind of work is shit done with motion graphics.

  21. Ben Marriott: Gives Rey the Emperor's face

    Me, after seeing The Rise of Skywalker: The prophet speaks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *