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After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying
Illustration by John Hersey

Applying the results


From:

After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Applying the results

Now that I have successfully performed a track of that second wildebeest in line, next I need to apply this track to other layers, question is, what layer should I apply it to? Well, I have two separate layers that make up this little thought bubble I want following the wildebeest. I am going to bring my Comp panel back for temporarily. I have got this little pointer underneath, and this text, which one should follow the wildebeest. Well, quite often when performing the tracking operations, I find the best thing to do is not commit to what layer it should be attached, but instead attach a new Null Object.
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  1. 9m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 38s
    2. The Tracker panel
      4m 24s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 13m 25s
    1. Warp Stabilizer basics
      5m 59s
    2. Warp Stabilizer advanced parameters
      7m 26s
  3. 30m 6s
    1. Setting up a stabilization
      2m 57s
    2. Track points explained
      5m 48s
    3. Performing a track
      5m 11s
    4. Applying a stabilization
      2m 42s
    5. Cleaning up the results of a stabilization
      3m 0s
    6. Performing a motion track
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the results
      4m 31s
  4. 13m 48s
    1. The Radio Waves effect
      4m 16s
    2. Tracking the mountain
      5m 31s
    3. Compositing the effect
      4m 1s
  5. 24m 28s
    1. Perspective tracking overview
      2m 40s
    2. Tracking to a corner pin
      7m 1s
    3. Improving the composite
      5m 39s
    4. Tracking with mocha-AE
      9m 8s
  6. 31m 49s
    1. Tracking in 3D (new in CS6)
      4m 31s
    2. Creating 3D objects (new in CS6)
      5m 12s
    3. Hanging a poster (new in CS6)
      8m 8s
    4. Adding text (new in CS6)
      5m 33s
    5. Using shadow catchers (new in CS6)
      8m 25s
  7. 16m 46s
    1. Tracking dots
      5m 43s
    2. Dealing with obscuration
      5m 12s
    3. Cleaning up the stabilization
      5m 51s
  8. 12m 40s
    1. Basic keying
      7m 20s
    2. Refining the key
      5m 20s
  9. 13m 32s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      3m 35s
    2. Quizzler #1 solution: Stabilization plus masking
      2m 58s
    3. Quizzler #2 solution: Stabilization plus tracking
      2m 50s
    4. Quizzler #3 solution: Copying a camera's motion
      4m 9s
  10. 12m 28s
    1. Tracking for multiple effect points
      4m 44s
    2. Converting to ray-traced 3D (new in CS6)
      7m 44s
  11. 23m 59s
    1. Legacy tracker advice
      8m 14s
    2. Tracking interlaced sources
      5m 59s
    3. Using garbage masks for keying
      4m 51s
    4. Using the Rolling Shutter Repair feature (new in CS6)
      4m 55s

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After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying
3h 22m Intermediate Nov 23, 2011 Updated Dec 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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®.

Topics include:
  • Understanding motion stabilization and keying
  • Performing a track
  • Applying tracking to effects
  • Keying with KEYLIGHT
  • Replacing images
  • Improving the composite
  • Garbage masking
  • Dealing with interlaced footage
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Applying the results

Now that I have successfully performed a track of that second wildebeest in line, next I need to apply this track to other layers, question is, what layer should I apply it to? Well, I have two separate layers that make up this little thought bubble I want following the wildebeest. I am going to bring my Comp panel back for temporarily. I have got this little pointer underneath, and this text, which one should follow the wildebeest. Well, quite often when performing the tracking operations, I find the best thing to do is not commit to what layer it should be attached, but instead attach a new Null Object.

This gives me a good intermediary to go ahead and apply the track to, then later on I can arrange layers in relation to this Null without worrying about going back into the tracker. I am going to create the Null Object. I am going to go ahead and open its Layer > Solid Settings to rename the Null, head track null, you can call it whatever you want to. Okay? At this point I don't need to worry about moving the null over to the wildebeest. That will happen automatically when I apply the track.

Now I can reselect my Wildebeests Layer, go back into my Layer panel, make sure I'm looking at the Motion Tracker Points; if I wasn't, my Tracker will disappear, so to the back of that pop-up, and now I can go ahead and apply this track. The Motion Target is defaulting to the Pointer Layer, but instead I want it to be the null. So I click the Edit Target button to change which layer will receive my track, select head track null, this is the list of all layers inside this composition, click OK, and then click Apply.

As before, I get Apply Dimensions of X and Y, and this is a perfect case where I need to make a decision. Do I want the bubble to very closely follow this beast or do I want it just to follow the left and right motion and not include this minor up and down Y motion? In this case, I am going to choose to go ahead and use both axis to give me more of a handheld look as it bobs along. But this is a creative decision you can make at this point to go ahead and say X Only. I'll click OK. After Effects throws me back into the Composition panel, and I can see my null outline is now over the wildebeest's head.

If I can't see that null outline very clearly, I just need to change its Label Color to something with more contrast, perhaps something like a bright Pink will really stand out. I'll drag my Time Indicator, my null object now moves along with the wildebeest. And if I press U to reveal its keyframes, you will see it has received Position keyframes that correspond to my Tracked Feature. Now that I've done that, this is some fairly simple parenting work. I am going to select my pointer, Shift+ Click on my Text Layer, I have no idea, so I can move them as a unit, Position them where I want them to be in relationship to the wildebeest head; in this case line up the bottom of that pointer to the Anchor Point on my Null Object, reveal the parenting column.

The shortcut is to press Shift+F4, but I can also right-click on any Column header name and choose Parent, and with these two layers selected, I can use the pick whip or the pop-up to choose my head track null. Once I have done that, these two layers have been attached to the null's animation. And there we move across the screen. The reason I use this Null Object is I can go ahead and move the position of these layers at any point in time and not worry about screwing up the Position keyframes created by the Motion Tracker.

The Null Object got the Tracker's keyframes, now my actual tracked layers are going along for the ride with the null. Press 0 to RAM Preview, and there is my track thought bubble, complete with the wildebeest, turning his head at us, then turning his head back away again. Tracking isn't that hard once you know how to do it and once you know the essential options. Setting up the Feature and Search Regions are important, but also the Options dialog in the Tracker panel are equally important to getting a good track.

Now that I am done with this composition, I can go ahead and close all to clean up my display.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying.


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Q: This course was updated on 12/12/2012. What changed?
A: We added new chapters on the Warp Stabilizer and the exciting new 3D Camera Tracker, and new movies on the Tracker panel, converting to ray-traced 3D, and rolling shutter repair, all new features introduced in After Effects CS6. In addition, there are new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6 and a companion movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.
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