Nasty Reflection problem

I’ve got one of those classic shots where someone closes the car door and as it closes you can see the reflection of the camera man in the car window. he is just a dark shape which is good. I’ve tried some Max/lighten blends but it obliterates the subject in the car too much so thats not an option.
The best i’ve found is to paint / reveal a brighter graded version of the shot where the dark reflection is seen in the window and its working. The question is i where i’ve painted reveals on the overlap not a good blend. Is there a clever way to blend a dark shape into a light shape and blend the edges well. Jeez does this make sense , i hope it does to someone. Thanks all as always.

If you can get a decent matte of the dark reflection, I would use that matte for pixel spread contract, iteratively over several pixel spread nodes, to first get rid of the dark edges.

Use that as your BG, use the same matte to put the brighter grade over it.


I had a gig once and we had to “just” comp a bright FG grade over a dark BG grade and I now believe that it’s impossible via just roto. Haha.

The problem I ran into was all the semi-transparent areas—motion blur and whatnot—would not blend believably. There isn’t a perfect matte you can cut, so you have to out-paint the fill edges and treat it like two totally separate layers. It sucks because everyone—you, your supe, your clients—all think it is easy.

With car reflections I lean HEAVILY on stabilized paint work and directional blurs, but as with all things, it’s shot-dependent. Some shots are just going to be horrible.


Thanks Chaps, So in the end i’ve taken a sample of one of the brighter colours on the window and added a solid max lighten blended colour over the top and blurred it a bit which got rid off the darker areas on a basic level then i’ve added a new reflection over the top. The door opens and closes on the car so i’ve dissolved it in and out. Personally i think it works but as you say Andy the clients look at these type of shots and just think its’ easy and they’re actually super tough. Very un rewarding.

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