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Performing a track

From: After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

Video: Performing a track

Now that I set up a good Track Point, next I can actually perform the track, but before you tell After Effects to go track this shot, it is essential that you open up the Options dialog in the Tracker panel. This contains an important set of parameters that After Effects will use while performing the analysis and track. You can rename it if you want such as first attempt - cloud. Adobe has left a provision for third- party Tracker plug-ins, but as of the time I have recorded this, none exist. Most important is this Channel dialog.

Performing a track

Now that I set up a good Track Point, next I can actually perform the track, but before you tell After Effects to go track this shot, it is essential that you open up the Options dialog in the Tracker panel. This contains an important set of parameters that After Effects will use while performing the analysis and track. You can rename it if you want such as first attempt - cloud. Adobe has left a provision for third- party Tracker plug-ins, but as of the time I have recorded this, none exist. Most important is this Channel dialog.

What is the contrast inside the feature region that you're tracking? Is it a difference in Luminance? Well, in this case, we'll have a bright speck of cloud against a dark background; Luminance is indeed what I want to track. There will be other occasions where you'll have a bigger contrast in color. So make sure you set up channel according to what feature you're tracking. Process before match comes in handy if you have got particularly noisy or blurry footage. If the footage has a lot of film or video noise in it, you might want to pre-blur it, so After Effects does not accidentally track those grains of noise.

On the other hand, if your shot is particularly soft or out of focus, you might want After Effects to enhance or sharpen this shot to give it more contrast actually track. Most shots, you don't need this and I will leave it off. If your clip is interlaced, in other words, there are separate fields on each frame of the shots and there is movement between those fields, you want to enable Track Fields to pick up that inter-frame movement. You always want Subpixel Positioning to be turned on, leave that on.

Adapt Feature On Every Frame only comes up if you have a lot of change in the shot. For example, if you are zooming in or zooming out, if the object that you are tracking is moving further away or coming closer to you, there's basically changing perspective or changing size, then you want to adapt the feature on every frame. Again, there will be minor changes in the shot, I'll leave it off. Finally, you can give After Effects a hint of what to do if it loses confidence that it has indeed found your feature region in the next frame.

This pop-up contains several choices. Continue Tracking basically says it's not going to get any better than this; keep going. Stop Tracking says oh, if there's a problem because you've lost the track, let me know. Extrapolate Motion is useful if something obscures your feature that you want to track, in other words, if someone walks in front of your particular feature and we will use that later in this lesson. And finally, there is Adapt Feature. Basically it says don't change what you are looking for from frame-to-frame, unless it changes so much from where you started that you have less than 80% confidence.

Then on that one frame, readapt to what you have found and continue using that shape from this point forward. Again, this shot has very little motion in it, but this isn't a bad for setting to try on a lot of your tracks. And by the way, if you have troubles with the track, all is not necessarily lost. You can undo, come back and try different Tracker Options to see if you get better results. I will click OK and now that I have done that, I can go ahead and analyze my clip. If I chose to start on the last frame of that clip, I will go ahead and analyze backward.

If I want to just move a frame at a time to make sure After Effects is finding its way, I will go one frame at a time; these two buttons. Well, in this case, since I have started in the very first frame of the clip and I want to do the entire clip, I want to go ahead and analyze forward. I will click on this button and watch After Effects do its thing. And since I have already cached this clip into memory because I previewed it, it actually went by pretty fast. A lot of the time involved in motion tracking is just in reading the file off the drive, and this is the reason why you want to have your assets on a fast drive, or go ahead and perform RAM previews to load your clips into RAM.

Okay, After Effects finished already and I can start to see a little hint here of the path it followed while stabilizing this clip. At this stage is just tracking a feature. We haven't stabilized yet. As I go ahead and drag the time indicator through which shows how After Effects is adapting to that feature from frame to frame. Now if I wanted to, I could go ahead and zoom in and see that path in much greater detail. Now I can see the After Effects is actually moving by fractions of pixels to track motion in the shot. I will zoom back out press the spacebar and reset of my shot.

It's a good idea at this point to save. This track information is saved as keyframes in the timeline. If I press the U, you will see all my keyframes down there. This is how After Effects saves track information with your project. So after I perform and analyze, I will save our project at this point to make sure I have indeed saved all these keyframes that After Effects has calculated for me.

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Image for After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying
After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

39 video lessons · 14187 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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