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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
Motion Tracking is the process of following a pixel or a group of specific pixels around your scene. And then taking that data to drive other elements in your project. The most common example is having graphics fly around the scene, making them look like they're tied to an individual element. In our project today, we're going to use a single point tracker, to tie a graphic, to the end of this snowboard. So, to do that, let's make sure that we have the Tracking timeline open and then double click on layer 1, to load that layer, into the Layer panel.
In the Layer panel, we can apply our first tracker, by going up under the Window option, and opening our Tracker. I want to drag the tracker from the lower-right corner of the Interface. Up into the left of the Composition panel, by clicking on the grips to the left of the word Tracker. Now to apply your tracker, just click the Track Motion button, and we'll see our tracker in the center of our Comp panel. If we change our magnification up to 100 by tapping the Period key twice, we can resize this track point.
Click on the outer square and just drag out. If you notice this is changing the size of the square and that change is changing the search area. The Search area determines how far the tracker's going to look for any specific feature that we specify on the inside square. So let's make the inside square just a little larger, by clicking and dragging out. If you hover your Mouse over the inside square, making sure not to click directly on the plus symbol. We can Click and Drag, and you'll notice it changes the magnification of the scene. This allows us to be very precise about the placement of our tracker. Now, since I want to tie this to the snowboard, I'm going to Click and Drag down to the bottom of the Comp panel.
As I look through this scene I'm looking for an area of high contrast that the tracker can easily lock onto. I'm going to go ahead and position my Tracker here towards the upper right portion of the snowboard. To begin tracking, all you have to do is click the rightmost button next to the word Analyze in the Tracker. This'll analyze one frame forwards. Notice I've created a keyframe in the Comp panel. If we select Layer 1 in the Timeline and press the U key it will automatically open up the Tracker and any other animated parameters of that layer.
Now, we can continue tracking frame by frame forwards, but it would be rather tedious. So I'm going to go ahead and click the next button over, analyze forwards. You can analyze in reverse or forwards, but before you click that button, position your hand over the Spacebar. If the tracker ever loses its place, you'll want to press the spacebar to stop the analysis. Let's go ahead and click the Analyze Forward button. Now I'll stop playback here around two seconds. Any time you see a tracker drift off of an element, what you need to do is stop playback, and then move your current time indicator back in the scene. You want to get back to an area where it last successfully tracked. For me, that's around frame 216.
Now, I'm going to zoom in on my Timeline just by changing the Magnification sliders here. We can go ahead and draw a lasso around all the extra keyframes we don't need and then delete them. Now you may have to repeat this process over and over again anytime the target looses its track. Now rather than showing you the same thing over and over again we're going to keep moving forwards. But there's one other thing with the tracker that you can adjust to see whether or not you're going to have issues with the rest of the track.
And that's the options area. If you click on the options button in here you can specify what the tracker is looking at in order to create the track. A lot of times, I'll change from Luminance to RGB, especially in a scene like this where I have red letters. Another thing you can change is this Adapt feature. If you click on the pull-down, you can tell it to continue tracking, even if the Confidence is below a certain parameter. The lower this number the worse the track can be and it'll still continue to track.
You could even tell it to Stop Tracking if the confidence is below a certain level. Now, I'm going to click Cancel because like I said before I've already shown you the basics of how to set up the track. Now, let's change the magnification of our timeline back. Now I'm going to press N on my keyboard to reset my work area to stop here. Just so I don't have any more random data in the composition, I'm going to right-click in the work area and trim the length of the comp. To become the length of the work area.
Now since we have our tracker applied to the footage, what we need to do is add our graphic into the scene. Before we do that, I want to go over to the Project panel and open up the Graphics folder. If you double click on the H Sport Comp, you'll notice the Comp panel open, and we do have a graphic in here. Now if you'll look at the layers of the graphic, the film is set to soft light. So this'll blend into the background footage. Let's go back to our Tracking composition, and then drag our H Sport Comp into the timeline.
With it in the timeline, let's press S to open our scale, and just scale it down. We don't need this huge logo. Once you have the scale set, let's make sure the blend mode comes across by enabling collapse transform. As you can see, that helped the logo blend with the footage. If you double-click back on Layer 2 to open up the Layer panel, our tracker becomes active again. And there's a button here for Edit Target. If we click on that button, we can specify another layer that we want the motion to be applied to. Now, rather than applying this motion directly to this logo, I want to have a little bit more control.
I'm going to click Cancel and go up under Layer and choose New Null Object. Now, with the Null Object in the scene, let's go back to our Layer 3 by double-clicking on it. And that'll activate our tracker again. Now we can choose Edit Target and specify No One. When you click OK, you've specified the target. But in order to tie the graphic to the target you need to click the button Apply. Here you can decide whether you want to apply the dimensions X and Y or just the X, or just the Y. Lets actually do both and click OK.
Now the Comp panel becomes automatically active and if you notice here our null object has been applied to the end of the board. Its going to follow along with the track perfectly, but I want my graphic to follow along. lets make sure Parenting is open in the Timeline. If you don't see the Parent column, go ahead and right click next to the source name, and then choose Columns > Parent. Here we can click on the peak width for the Parent layer of Layer 2 and point it to Null 1. Now let's go ahead and position our graphic in the scene. I'm just going to click right on the logo and position it over to the side of my snowboard.
Now if we load up a RAM preview of our project, you can see that our logo has been tied to the board and it's moving throughout the scene just like the board is. The only difference is it's not tilting or rotating. With a single point track, you can apply the X, Y data. But if you want the object to rotate, you need to either add more trackers to the scene or choose a more advanced tracker.
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