Ben's Comp Newsletter: Special Issue 03

Aug 07, 2023 3:01 pm


Ben's Comp Newsletter

Special Issue 03 -- Keying Tips

Hey ,

One of the questions I'm often asked is, "How do I improve my keying abilities?" It's a simple question, with an answer that has many branches. The right keying technique is never a one-size-fits-all approach, and always depends on the characteristics of the greenscreen in the plate.

A common mistake people make is jumping into using EdgeExtends too quickly, so I want to focus this newsletter on resources you can leverage to help key a better alpha channel, and despill your plate (including edges) in a more accurate way.

Hope you enjoy!

Best Paid Resource.


Comp Academy NK505.

If you are looking for a comprehensive course that teaches you the A to Z of keying, this is it.

There are many resources available on the internet to teach you the basics, or show specific tips for solving specific problems. This course is the only one to pull it all together & teach you how to tackle the majority of keying shots you'll encounter.

Alex was kind enough to offer you a 15% discount if you use the code ben at checkout.

Check out the course.

Best Free Resources.


Tony Lyons' Advanced Keying Breakdown.

Tony Lyons' videos on YouTube are still the best for learning advanced keying techniques for free. These tutorials cover the fundamentals of what you're looking at in an image, and what you're trying to achieve when pulling a key.

Don't let the upload date fool you -- the techniques that have been used for the past decade are still very relevant today. What's new in 2023 are just tools aiming to solve the same problems based on the same fundamental knowledge.

If you've watched any of these videos in the past, do yourself a favour and watch them again through beginners' eyes. I often revisit this playlist when I need a refresher, and find it incredibly helpful.

Check out the YouTube Playlist.


The AG's Way -- Keying Hair Details.

Once you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of keying, it's helpful to approach specific keying challenges to continue sharpening your skillset.

One great resource is Alexandre Gaudiano's great tutorial on keying tricky hair details. It shows how to approach a shot like this from scratch, and covers some tips on additive keying.

Check out the YouTube Video.

When approaching challenging keying shots, the 80/20 principle applies:

  • 80% of the shots you encounter will be solvable with 20% of the tools and techniques you know.
  • Conversely, 20% of the shots will require you to combine 80% of the techniques you've learned to get a nice result.


  • It should take 20% of your time to pull a first-pass key that's usable in a shot.
  • It will take 80% of the time to polish the last 20% of the details, and make the shot "perfect".

My Favourite Keying-Related tool.



When looking at keyed edges, getting a good despill is just as important as keying a good alpha channel. Replacing the colour and luminance of the greenscreen with the colour of your foreground and the luminance of your new background is your goal. apDespill is my go-to tool to help do this!

I appreciate how it's image-based, and has controls to help isolate and despill parts of your image differently. Here is a tutorial showing how it works.

Get the Gizmo.

That's it for this week! Of course, if you already know about these resources and are hungry for more keying knowledge, please reply to this email. I'd love to hear about what you've struggled with in the past, or what you would like to learn more about in the future.

Happy Comping,