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Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool

From: Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Video: Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool

We have applied that motion tracking data to the Spyglass Render layer and also rotoscoped that layer so that the handle does not cover up the front of her fingers. Now the rotoscoping took a few additional keyframes. If I look at the mask, this is the number of keyframes I wound up with, and that's to ensure that the shape changes to always fit the front of her fingers. Let's play it back and take a look. So at this point, it's looking pretty good, it looks like it's in her fingers. Now there is still a little bit of tiny motion where it appears like the spyglass is sliding a tiny bit, bobbling or jittering. Now there are several things you can do to try to get rid of that.

Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool

We have applied that motion tracking data to the Spyglass Render layer and also rotoscoped that layer so that the handle does not cover up the front of her fingers. Now the rotoscoping took a few additional keyframes. If I look at the mask, this is the number of keyframes I wound up with, and that's to ensure that the shape changes to always fit the front of her fingers. Let's play it back and take a look. So at this point, it's looking pretty good, it looks like it's in her fingers. Now there is still a little bit of tiny motion where it appears like the spyglass is sliding a tiny bit, bobbling or jittering. Now there are several things you can do to try to get rid of that.

Now one problem when you apply the tracking data is the fact that it applies a keyframe for every frame of the timeline, so if you look at the Transform section you can see that the position has a keyframe for every frame. Now that many keyframes packed closely together, often leads to really tiny motion that might not be good for this particular scene or some other project. In fact, if I click on Position, here, you'll see the motion path. If I zoom in, you will see there is a lot of keyframes really tight along this area. If you look closely enough, you can see how there might be tiny jittering going on as it moves back and forth.

So, one way to deal with that is to apply a special tool called the Smoother. Now the Smoother is hidden by default, but I can go up to Window and show that, just click Smoother. It comes up in its own tab over here by the Tracker. Now the idea of the Smoother is you can pick a property such as Position, it's going to look at the curve, and basically the motion path which is associated with that and decimate it so that there's fewer keyframes, while trying to maintain the shape. So tend to get rid of keyframes that are very closely packed together like up here.

Now there is only one setting in this case, which is Tolerance, so Tolerance is how aggressive it is. So if I apply it now, it's really aggressive, it really clears out a lot of keyframes. Not only on the motion path up here, but also you can see down on the Timeline. Now it's probably too aggressive for us, it's going to make it even more inaccurate, I am going to backup with the Undo. Let's try a lower number like 0.2 and reapply it. So it's not as aggressive, it's definitely killed some of the keyframes, and the idea with that is you potentially get a smoother result, so let's play it back now.

Not too bad. Now you can try to do different values in terms of the Tolerance, you just have to undo each time and reapply it. If you apply it multiple times it will be more and more decimated. Now that's one solution, and that's okay in this situation. Another way to approach any kind of unwanted small motion is to deal with the keyframes directly. For example, you can scrub through the Timeline and try and identify any place where maybe the spyglass is slipping, let's find a spot. Looks like right here if I scrub back and forth, there's a little bit of slippage, where it kind of jumps a little bit.

Now one problem is the mask is also a little bit off there, so before we edit the keyframes and the position, I think I'll go ahead and go back to the mask. Now you can edit this as much as you want, whenever you want. I am going to show the mask again, click on that layer to see it, double-click it to pick the entire thing, and move it up and down with my arrow keys. That's actually a shortcut, you can move it interactively like this in the viewer, or once the entire mask is selected use your arrow keys on your keyboard to move it up and down. That's great for really small fine tuning. Let me hide the mask again.

Now I can still adjust even though it's hidden because it's selected, that looks a little bit better. In any case though, aside from the mask, it feels like there's a little bit of a jump here where it's just sliding maybe too far to the left all of a sudden. Now it looks like these keyframes right in this area are a problem. So one solution, in this case, is to get rid of those. To do your own manual smoothing, I could pick these two keyframes and delete them. Now the motion path is unbroken, it's still there. I just have fewer keyframes, and it has to make a bigger jump between them in terms of the motion path.

But sometimes that will solve any kind of really small jittering, so let's see if we can play that back. So I think that little area looks better. Now there's probably other areas to deal with, and this is not going to be a super fast solution, you might have to spend a little bit of time editing these keyframes down here to determine what might be causing any kind of unwanted jitter. Now associated with deleting the keyframes, if you want to you can also update the positions. For example, let's say that you felt that certain frame had the spyglass too low. Well, you can go to that frame and then put your mouse over the X, or the Y, and then click left-mouse drag to increase, or reduce, the value.

Now note the mask will slide along with it, so you have to be careful with that. That's one solution to update the position manually. So I am going to undo that for now. Just keep that in mind for possible way to fine-tune that position curve. So we have applied the smoother to try to simplify that motion path to have fewer keyframes to move some of the jitter and slide. We have also manually deleted a few keyframes, and then we talked about how two update a keyframe for the position. Once you feel that you have sufficiently adjusted the position, curve, and the motion path, and have the motion tracking looking well, you can move onto the final phase of this project.

Where we're going to adjust the color, and other qualities of the render, to better match the original footage.

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This video is part of

Image for Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites
Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

34 video lessons · 5313 viewers

Lee Lanier
Author

 
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  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  2. 29m 49s
    1. Working with image sequences
      7m 24s
    2. Importing reference video as an image plane
      5m 13s
    3. Matching the 3D camera to the video footage
      4m 23s
    4. Lighting the model
      5m 35s
    5. Creating mattes and shadows in preparation for rendering
      7m 14s
  3. 15m 38s
    1. Using the Render Layer Editor
      4m 21s
    2. Splitting a scene into multiple render passes
      6m 6s
    3. Adding flexibility by assigning material and render overrides
      5m 11s
  4. 15m 2s
    1. Creating render passes using mental ray
      3m 50s
    2. Batch rendering render passes: Project one
      5m 24s
    3. Batch rendering render passes: Project two
      5m 48s
  5. 19m 4s
    1. Importing render passes into After Effects
      6m 25s
    2. Recombining render passes in a composition
      6m 31s
    3. Transforming multiple render passes as a single unit
      6m 8s
  6. 48m 7s
    1. Setting up a motion tracker
      5m 17s
    2. Using a tracker to analyze motion in footage
      3m 56s
    3. Adjusting tracker options for better results
      7m 2s
    4. Matching layer motion by applying tracker data
      6m 26s
    5. Refining a layer's transparency with rotoscoping
      6m 45s
    6. Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool
      5m 7s
    7. Improving the CG by adding blur and effects
      8m 7s
    8. Adding shadow to make the composite believable
      5m 27s
  7. 32m 36s
    1. Recombining render passes for project two
      5m 17s
    2. Removing unwanted elements with a garbage mask
      4m 57s
    3. Applying motion tracking data to a null layer
      6m 38s
    4. Adjusting shadows and matte edges
      8m 12s
    5. Using color correction to improve layer integration
      7m 32s
  8. 25m 46s
    1. Stabilizing shaky video with the Tracker
      8m 2s
    2. Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option
      5m 31s
    3. Adjusting corner pin points and paths
      6m 56s
    4. Applying corner pin data to multiple layers
      5m 17s
  9. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

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