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Creating a single point track

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Creating a single point track

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.

Creating a single point track

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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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 55285 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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