EbSynth is a nice small tool that can help you create stylized versions of your videos with the help of one or more reference keyframes made from a still frame of your video. Right now, EbSynth is in alpha version, so that means it may give you some trouble while you use it, or that some features might not be finalized or may end up working better. The idea behind the application is you can turn your video footage into something that looks like a moving painting, a glow-traced moving image, or any other kind of special look you may want.
For my tests, I will be using this royalty free footage.
Using the software takes only a few steps. First, you select the base footage, in PNG sequence format, then you select your keyframes, and then let the software know the frame number corresponding to the keyframes. Additionally, you can select a mask, if you want the stylization to be applied only to parts of the footage.
The “keyframes” are stylized versions of your original frame, and these stylized versions will be used as an effect template, or as a basis, to modify the look of your video. Say, for example, that you want your video to look like a moving oil paint. All you’d need to do is grab a copy of a frame in your image editing of choice (like Photoshop or Gimp), add different effects so it looks like what you want, and then save it to be used as a keyframe.
The application is very simple to use, and the most difficult part is actually trying to figure out what frame, or frames, to use as keyframes for the stylized version, since selecting the wrong keyframes might give you bad results. In the video below you can see a sample where I used only one keyframe to alter the look of the entire footage. When the woman shows up in the frame, she looks transparent (somewhat like the Predator from Arnold Schwarzenegger), because the application was unable to figure out what to do.
After using more keyframes to process different ranges of the footage, I got something that was way better, as you can see in the video below.
What this means is that, depending on your footage, you may end up needing more than one keyframe, so you can use different keyframes for different ranges of the footage. The good thing is that the developers already know you would need to do that, so the UI allows you to add different ranges of footage so you set all of them based on your needs.
While EbSynth works really good regardless of being in alpha, but it’s painfully slow right now. In full HD, it can take up to 6 minutes to process 90 frames. Right now, that makes EbSynth more suited for short videos, or for users that can afford to wait long times for longer videos. If you use applications like After Effects, the render speed of EbSynth will definitely feel like a ste backwards, specially when you start to consider it would be a lot easier to simply get the same look using After Effects tools.
EbSynth is a really cool tool if you want an easy way to stylize a video based on the look of key images, but I don’t think it’s a replacement to more powerful applications like AfterEffects. If you are a professional media producer, chances are you are already using a powerful video application so there’s no point on using EbSynth. However, if you are a hobbyist who is looking for an easy way to get stylized video, EbSynth may be for you.
Get EbSynth: https://ebsynth.com/