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VFX Techniques introduces common yet critical visual effects techniques that are used in film and television shows on a regular basis. This installment shows how to build complex composites with Adobe After Effects and mocha, where motion graphics are mapped to live-action footage of an actor. Author Lee Lanier starts by combining rotoscoping and effects to digitally apply makeup to an actor to disguise motion tracking marks. Then discover how to transfer footage into mocha and generate planar tracking data that you can use to motion track graphics to the moving face of the actor. Plus, learn how to build and adjust motion graphics to create the look of a virtual tattoo and a pair of holographic heads-up glasses.
Using the Adjust Track tab, I was able to fine tune the planar surface. It's hidden now, I'll turn that back on, though. I do have to make sure Layer is selected also, and there it is. In terms of the number of keyframes, I click on one of the corners after I zoom in. They match all the keyframes that the X-Spline had. So that's set up and good to go now. I do want to mention one other way to edit, and that's the Curve Editor. If you go down to the Curve Editor tab and click that, you get a Curve Editor similar to one you might have in some other program like After Effects.
What you'll see is a list of various things you can edit. Now in terms of the points, if you click on one of those, like this corner of the planar surface, and you go down to the layer name, for instance Cheek, expand that, you'll see various sub- categories, including Track. Also there's Adjust Track section for what we just did with the planar surface. Here are the corners here. What we're doing is an offset Animation, so expand that, you'll see various qualities like X and Y.
The curves started to appear here in the Curve Editor. The yellow boxes are keyframes. You can frame the entire curve if you press Frame all. You can select a curve by just clicking on it, or deselecting by clicking Off. When it's selected, it's a bluish color. You can select keyframes at that point by clicking on the keyframe, it will turn yellow. To pick multiple keyframes, you can Ctrl+click after the curve is selected. Now you can move these keyframes around if you want to.
Now anything in between the keyframes is provided by mocha when it tracked. It's not exactly linear and it's not exactly smooth. You have some bends in those curves. If you do want to move a keyframe, you are free to do that, just do it very carefully. Now whenever you set a keyframe up here on the timeline, let's say interactively, these curves will update, you don't need to reanalyze, you don't need to retrack at that point. What mocha will do is it will update the curves in between those keyframes automatically. So as soon as you make an adjustment interactively in the viewer, mocha will update all the curves in between.
You can view small areas, let's say I pick several keyframes here by clicking the Frame selected button or go back to Frame all. For the most part when we're working in mocha, we're going to just use interactive ways to adjust the X-Spline and the planar surface. But I wanted to mention this because you could do a lot of very, very fine tuning in the Curve Editor.
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