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

Improving the composite


From:

After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Improving the composite

I've corner-pinned a brand-new piece of video over the original MRI display inside this shot. I'll press F2 to deselect, turn off just when you display, and turn it back on again. As I look down here in the Timeline panel, I'll see that the corner-pin effect has been applied individually animating each corner of that display. This is what we tracked in the previous movie. In addition to that, After Effects will also animate the Position of what it believes to be the center of these four corners.
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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

Improving the composite

I've corner-pinned a brand-new piece of video over the original MRI display inside this shot. I'll press F2 to deselect, turn off just when you display, and turn it back on again. As I look down here in the Timeline panel, I'll see that the corner-pin effect has been applied individually animating each corner of that display. This is what we tracked in the previous movie. In addition to that, After Effects will also animate the Position of what it believes to be the center of these four corners.

The reason that it does this is so that you can enable Motion Blur for this particular shot and better integrate it into the final composite. After all, the original shot will have some motion blur as the camera moves, your new paste in graphic should have blur when things move as well. Our biggest problem however though is as I zoom in here, this brand-new graphic is not fitting quite right over the bloated out Bezel this old CRT display that bright blue we see peeping through is the old display. But fortunately, there is an effect that will help us fill in those gaps.

I'm going to make sure just the Heart Monitor layer, my new display is selected, go underneath the Effect > Distort, and pick this effect called Bezier Warp. Now as it turns out, these effects are not being added in the exact order that I like. I'm pinning then warping and really I want to distort the display there is going to be corner-pinned. So I need to reorder the Bezier Warp to happen to the footage before it's corner-pinned down those monitor. And to see things in better perspective, especially if I can see this footage in isolation and also see the final composite so I'm going to go ahead and then double-click Heart Monitor.

To open it up in its own layer panel, now I see my Bezier Warp user interface and if I didn't, I would just change the View pop-up to select that effect. And I'm going to drag my Layer panel to the left of my Composition panel so I can see these two side by side and I'm going to fit both up to 100%. I move my tracker out of the way to give me some more width here so I can see things in more detail. I am going to take this display in the right, zoom in a bit, and re-proportion my display so I can see before and after; there we go.

Now let's go about warping our new graphic. I'll start on these edges since they are the worst. I'm going to pick Bezier Warp for this corner, grab its handle for that corner and start to bend it out until I tuck the footage to cover that warped bezel. I've did the same thing here along the bottom, but with a pole. I'm editing in the left display, the Layer panel by looking what's happening in the right display to make sure that my final warps are correct. And I'm going to tuck these out a little bit too just so everything has that slightly bloated out look, the old CRT style display.

Just for comparison, that's before and after. 0 to RAM Preview. Now we have a better composite. If I wanted to, I could go ahead and stretches out even more to cover more of this gap. Let's go ahead and pull this out a little bit, there and there. Cover that corner that's better. Another problem I have with this new footage, it's just cut on put on top of this old display. It doesn't have quite the same lighting and look.

In a perfect world, rather than having a graphic or strong color in that display, I'd like to have to say 50% gray or for that matter even have the monitor turned off and be black. If that was the case, I could then use blending modes to better composite this new display over the old screen. If the screen was black, I would use something like add Screen or even Color Dodge to blend the new display over the previously black display. That way it so pick up any lighting in the room, anti-glare across the monitor, etcetera.

If the monitor was 50% gray, I'd use something like Overlay, Soft Light, or Hard Light. I'm going to drag the Layer panel back into the scene frame as a comp panel just to give myself some more space again and bring that forward and zoom back down. If you want to see another level for refinement, go into our Comps_Finished folder and open up 04-Corner Pin_final. An additional step we did was we apply what we call the Filmic Glow trick where we have an Adjustment layer with a Blur effect applied, set to a blending mode on top.

This not only improves the contrast in the scene, it also helps blend together highlights and shadows and gives a better composite to the overall scene. This is before; this is after. And we'll go a little bit later when there is more on the display. Again, before with camera paste on graphic and after where some of these glows and shadows are now blending together better. So once you master the technical aspects of tracking, you're not done; you still need to make a better composite that's going to require sometimes more effects, sometimes color correction, and sometimes other treatments to better blend your new shot in with the old.

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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