Beauty Box - Premiere plugin

So this is the first time, and certainly not the last, that a client has asked if I’m familiar with a beauty plugin “because that’s what Paris Hilton wants and that’s what the Kardashians use for everything.”

Not commenting on the plastic results of that, and I don’t know about this particular tool, but I suspect this type of thing will continue to come up, especially as AI progresses.

That has been around for quite some time. It’s in the same vein as Boris Beauty Studio and Resolve beauty ofx. They’re all variations of FS blurs with different levels of control and detail recovery. Not suitable for serious beauty work, but if you just have to smooth something out for a less discerning corporate comp it will be what it will be.

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When we had clients come in asking for a series of 3 minute how-to videos with years worth of roto and skin work for less than $100, we used to have a running joke around the office - “Just BeautyBox it!” It’s a very simplistic algorithm that takes skintones, subtracts major features like lips, nostrils, eyeballs (not well) and blurs the skin. It’s genuinely terrible.


Frequency Separation Blurs, separating the texture from the color and tone. Same concept that’s behind A2Beauty and Washer matchbox.

These plugins essentially come down to running a single instance of a cruder version of a2beauty on the whole face with some color keying and maybe a simple ML face detection and calling it good.

The quality difference comes down to having a big node tree, approaching each retouch step with separate and appropriate tools, keeping original where possible and being least destructive. You certainly can do that in any other node based app where you can clone, paint, mask, track, and then apply beauty box or other plugins n number of times on individual nodes within a mask for a small area, etc. Performance may suck though.

The difference is not so much the tool, but whether you work with a lot of little steps of careful change or throw a single sledge hammer at the whole thing and spend 30min max. So it’s not about the tool, but the effort and attention to detail. But that is driven by budget. Everyone would love a miracle for free. But that’s not how the world works. But people seek shortcuts all the time.

It’s the same divide in stills beauty retouch. Are you spending hours in Photoshop with clone, dodge, and burn addressing each blemish individually, or are you just using using frequency separation to rush through it? If you even use the word FS amongst stills retouchers you will be called out as a cheat. In video when used correctly within the workflow it is essential due to the nature of multi-frame material.

I originally learned retouching on stills way back and had some great teachers.


Did some spots with one of the Kardashians. Had to send plates to “their beauty person, the only person they trust.” Was a cheap looking median keyed into skintones…


Every job has its breaking points due to budget and time. I have to turn and burn hundreds of shots in minimal time with budgets that would be embarrassing. So guess what they get the plugin hammer. But they are perfectly happy to have it. Now i love to do nuance and quality but that is a budget and time thing. So judging others quality should be taken with a grain of salt and consideration of the job perimeters.


So bleak.

Dude makes a film laden with f-bombs and suddenly becomes aware that you can’t swear a lot in non-R-rated films.

And THEN his solution isn’t to edit but use AI. I mean it’s not like there is decades of history creating swearless edits for TV and air travel…

Like it would be one thing if people used AI for creative purposes, but it’s just a new mop for fuck-ups and bad planning. That is my job.

I mean I know they’re just touting the AI because they ran out of other ways to promote the film, but AI still sucks.


It worked on me - got me to watch the film to check the work. Totally believable, but of course the difference in the phoneme from the one word to the other is not that substantial, and it’s very quick. Movie turned out to be not bad at all.