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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®.
If you have access to the Exercise Files that came with this course, open up the project file, AEA_Tracking and Keying.aep. If instead, you are following along using our book After Effects Apprentice 2nd Edition, open up Lesson_09.aep. Over in the Project panel, inside the Comps folder is a composition named 01-Stabilization*starter, double-click that to open it. I'm going to start you off with a simple motion stabilization challenge. I am going to press 0 on the numeric keypad to RAM Preview, or if you don't have access to an extended keyboard, you go ahead and click on the RAM Preview button over here in the far right of the Preview panel.
This is some stock footage of wildebeests walking across the landscape, but you'll notice that the shot is bouncing up and down. If you're not quite sure about the motion, put your mouse over something that should be stable, like these clouds, and see how they move in relation to your stable cursor. That will show up any stabilization problems in the shot. If I had to guess I would say this camera is placed a long distance away from the wildebeest, and even if it was on a tripod, something such as the wind coming by and shaking the camera can cause this amount of shake in the shot. No problem, we'll remove it.
I'll stop my playback, all tracking and stabilization must take place in Eclipse Layer panel. So I am going to double click this layer to open it up in this Layer panel, and then I need to open up the Tracker panel. I'll go to Window > Tracker and here it appears down in the lower right corner. I am going to move it up here just to put it close to my footage and make it easier for you to see what I am doing. If you are using After Effects CS5 or earlier, clicking on the Stabilize Motion button would bring up the Classic Stabilizer in After Effects.
However, After Effects CS5.5 introduced a brand-new Warp Stabilizer. It works fantastic on some shots, doesn't work so well on other shots. In our separate course, After Effects CS5.5 New Creative Techniques, we spend some time explaining the ins and outs of Warp Stabilizer and how to get the most out of it. It just so happens that this shot is one it would not work well on. The Warp Stabilizer is looking for dominant motion and attempts to stabilize that. In this shot, the wildebeest were the dominant motion, but we don't want to stabilize them, we want to stabilize the clouds and the landscape.
Therefore, I am going to use the Classic Stabilizer in this shot. In After Effects CS5.5, instead of clicking on Stabilize Motion, I would click on Track Motion and change the Track Type to Stabilize. You'll notice this adds 1 Track Point, a series of boxes and a cross to my footage. In the next movie I'll explain what this Track Point is all about and how to set it up.
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