Match Rack Focus v1.0

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Contributor: Tyler Lockard
Analyze the changing focus values of a plate, and bake out to an animated Defocus node.
8.0 or later
04 Sep 2015

Match Rack Focus 1

Match Rack Focus 2


Designed to analyze the animating focus values of a plate.  Simply provide a stabilized input, the frame that's most in focus, and the frame that's the most out of focus.


• First, run the analysis. (It's strongly recommended to mask out the defocusing area. Denoising and stabilizing the footage also helps.)

• Scrub through and find the sharpest frame you can, then hit USE CURRENT FRAME under FOCUSED FRAME.

• Likewise, find the most defocused frame you can, and hit USE CURRENT FRAME under DEFOCUSED FRAME.

• MULTIPLY and LIFT are supplied for user control. LIFT should be increased if your plate is never fully in focus. MULTIPLY will scale the overall effect.

• Hitting BAKE will take the resulting curve and bake it to keyframes. This animation is then applied to a newly created Defocus node. From here, the curve can be tweaked as desired.


(Note: After analysis, this node output operates like a normal defocus. Connect me to your element to preview the effect before baking.)

Known Caveats:

• Results may be inaccurate if mask changes in shape and size throughout shot.

• FG occluding objects will probably create spikes in the analysis. Delete these keyframes once you bake the curve and let it interpolate this section.

• Strong motion blur will skew results, requires manual finesse of resulting curve.


Comments? Questions? Feel free to reach out!
// Tyler Lockard // 2014 // //


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-11 # Vlad Akhtyrskiy 2015-04-24 11:33
very happy to see that my tutorial inspired you to make a tool.
0 # Tyler Lockard 2015-04-25 01:18
I finally got a chance to watch your video after work, that's pretty awesome! There are a bunch of similarities. I'd imagine your method might work better in certain situations.

To create my animation curve, I'm running the footage through an EdgeDetect and deriving my keyframes from the average intensity data using a CurveTool. From there, we're probably also doing similar things to control the resulting curve, with multiplication expressions and floor/ceiling conditions etc.

It's a pretty messy expression but here's what I got all in all:
(( egrate(frame-2, frame+2)/4-Controller.low)/(Controller.high-Controller.low))*Controller.Multiply+Controller.Lift

Great work!
-3 # Vlad Akhtyrskiy 2015-04-24 11:40
Would recommend to bake the curve to NoOp node - so people can use it in Convolve, ZDefocus, etc...
0 # Tyler Lockard 2015-04-24 17:18
Yup that works too. I figured I'd give people a starting point with a simple Defocus node.

If needed, the user can copy the resulting animation to the nodes you mentioned, and scale the curve accordingly with that node's behavior.

But I should actually pop a dialog asking what node to create. Good call!
+1 # nic Jovan 2021-08-04 22:27
what to do if there are multiple frame location that different defocus?

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