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Explore how to use the motion tracker and stabilizer built into After Effects and shows how to handle a variety of shots. Author Chris Meyer leads a quick tour of the third-party software mocha and demonstrates the workflow for The Foundry's KEYLIGHT, both bundled with After Effects. The course also covers tracking a greenscreen shot with a handheld camera and replacing its background.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
We have our poster applied to the side of our building. Now to further enhance the shot I think it would be fun to hang some text out in front of this building. If you have been following along you can go ahead and use the project you've already created. If you've jumped straight into this movie and you have access to the Exercise Files that come with this course, open up the Comp Camera Tracker 2 Text starter (CT_2-Text*starter) and you'll see it's a very similar scene to what you have created in the previous movies. Now I want the text to track this face of the building, so I'm going to look for a frame where it's facing me the most head on, that would be the most accurate view of it, and I'd say that's at the very start of this composition.
I need to see my Track Points again to create another surface for another layer, so I'll select the footage I've tracked, press E and there's the 3D Camera Tracker and there is my Track Points. I'm going to lasso a bunch of points on the face of this building to average together for my new layer I'm about to create. Here's a bit of advice. I tend to avoid points that are on the very edges of objects like this. There is a chance those points creep around to the other side, the other plane on the other face of the building, they may wander or not be as accurate.
So I'm going to start over, and make sure I don't include points on the very edge of the building. I'm going to do a similar thing here and avoid points that are on the edges of the shadows of that building. I'll go ahead and collect these points up around here like that. Here is my target, which is an average of those points. I'll drag it up to roughly where I want the text to be. I want to be fairly high in the scene to help clear this building in front and then I'll right-click. Now if you were using your previous Composition, you will not see the option, and Camera, because After Effects knows you've already created camera from the state up.
So I'm using a Composition here that was created some time ago. After Effects forgot that it created a new camera, now that's okay, I can just go ahead and delete one of them. So I'm going to say Create Text and Camera. I've got two cameras. I'll go ahead and delete one of those. You get a generic Text layer, I'm going to select it, press R to reveal its Orientation, zero out its Z Orientation, which gives me a better initial pose, and I'm going to go ahead and change to my Text workspace to get access to the Character and Paragraph Panels for my text.
I'll rearrange my display so I could see things better here. And with my text selected, I'm going to make sure that I have centered my Paragraph text because I did put my point in the middle of where I want my text to be and play around a little bit with what text size looks appropriate, etcetera. Now instead of saying text I want to say, New Season. So I'm going to double-click this text layer to highlight it and type New, Return, Season, Enter. Now I've got a better idea of how I might want to style my text.
And feel free to use any font or style that you like. I happened to know that the text on this poster used Myriad Pro so I wanted to use a matching font for this other element in my scene. Set your color to taste. I've already eye-droppered it to match this building behind, but you might pick something a little bit paler like down here or even this white building on the background. I kind of like this beige building, it ties into the scene nicely. I think I'm going to add a very slight Black Stroke.
I'm going to put Fill Over Stroke just to make the text a little bit more readable against those windows. I will drag my current indicator through the scene; text is more or less on the face of that building which is a good start. I think I'm going to pull it away from the face of the building so I'm going to press V to get my Section tool back, make sure I see the Z axis arrow in Local Axis Mode and pull the text away. So I'm getting a little bit of parallax and it appears that the text is actually floating out there in space, and pull a little further away, maybe make it just a little bit larger.
I do have an issue where this building off to the side could arguably be in front of the text. Since I'm just doing a graphical representation instead of a realistic visual effects shot, I'm going to see if my final composite is good enough to fool the viewer into not thinking about this issue. On the other hand, you can indeed create solids or other layers that track the face of this other building and use those as Track Mattes to blot out part of the text as it goes behind that building. You could also just manually mask it, but I like to use automated tools whenever possible and 3D Camera Tracker would make this more possible by selecting a few points on the face of that building and creating a nice little matte to stencil out where that building is.
So I've got my text hanging in space tracking the camera, but you know that Composite is just not working for me; it doesn't look very realistic. The text needs to integrate better with the rest of the scene. And what would really tie this together is in fact text cast shadows on that building just like these other buildings do. Well, to do that requires what's known as a Shadow Catcher, and that's the subject of the next movie.
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