15 Steps for Blurring Out Faces In After Effects

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This technique is very important as you don’t want to potentially get sued by people appearing in your footage. It’s also highly used in interviews where the subject specifically requires to remain anonymous. Each person that shows up in a video and the faces shows clearly, is legally required to sign in a release form so, in order to conceal their identity, we’re going to take a look at a cool and easy technique that you can implement right away

For this tutorial, we’re going to use a tracker to track the face of the subject, more specifically the eyes and the movement of the head, and then we’re going to apply a mosaic effect. Alternatively, this would work with any kind of blur effect as well.

So let’s jump right into it and take a look at the steps for achieving this effect

15 Steps to The Face Blurring Technique

  1. Import your footage into After Effects and create a new comp from it by dragging it onto the new comp buttonblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-1
  2. The next step is to track the motion of the head so before heading out to the tracker menu, we’ll insert a null object which will serve as a reference for the blur effect later. Choose Layer-New – Null Objectblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-2
  3. Place the null object on the face and open up the tracker panel by going to the Window Menu and clicking on “Tracker”. Double click on the footage to open up the footage panelblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-3
  4. Click on track motion and we’ll choose “position” and “rotation”. This will add 2 boxes into the frameblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-4
  5. Place the two boxes on the subject’s eyesblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-5
  6. Click on the Edit Target button and choose you null object as the targetblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-6
  7. Click the play button to start analyzing forward. The tracking boxes will follow her eyesblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-7
  8. Click Apply once the process is done. This will result in multiple keyframes being added into the compositionblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-8
  9. Next, we’ll need to add a new Adjustment Layer by going to “Layer-New -Adjustment Layer”blurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-9
  10. On the far right, click on the search box inside the Effects & Presets panel and search for “mosaic”. Drag the effects on top of the adjustment layerblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-10
  11. Set the number of boxes to around 70 vertically and horizontallyblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-11
  12. In order to apply this effect just to the subjects face, turn it off for the moment and choose the pen tool from the tool panel
  13. Next, you will want to create a mask around the subjects’ faceblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-12
  14. Turn the visibility back on for the adjustment layer to see the resultsblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-13
  15. At this point, we have a nice mask that blurs out the face but we need to make it follow the movement as well so with the adjustment layer selected, click on the parent menu and choose “Null 1”. This will make the blur mask follow the moment of the headblurring-out-faces-in-ae-by-bluefx-14

So this is how to obtain a very simple face blur inside After Effects, with only the built-in tools and in the next article we’ll take a look at how to remove a logo from a scene and replace it with your own logo or a generic one

Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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