The Tracker panel
Video: The Tracker panelBefore we get started tracking and stabilizing shots, first we need to discuss how the Tracker Panel has changed from version to version. A lot of these changes have been triggered by the addition of the Warp Stabilizer in CS5.5 but there are other reasons this has evolved as well. In After Effects CS5 and earlier, it was pretty simple. After you open up the Tracker Panel, you selected the clip you either want to track or stabilize and you had two buttons: Track Motion or Stabilize Motion.
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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®.
- 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
The Tracker panel
Before we get started tracking and stabilizing shots, first we need to discuss how the Tracker Panel has changed from version to version. A lot of these changes have been triggered by the addition of the Warp Stabilizer in CS5.5 but there are other reasons this has evolved as well. In After Effects CS5 and earlier, it was pretty simple. After you open up the Tracker Panel, you selected the clip you either want to track or stabilize and you had two buttons: Track Motion or Stabilize Motion.
Both of these use what is now referred to as the Legacy Point Tracker in After Effects. It's a tracker that has been in there for years and what it does is look for a specific point in your footage to follow from frame-to-frame. If you want to do something known as a Perspective Track, for example tracking the four corners of this rectangle that is this screen, you had two choices: You could select the footage, and again use the Legacy Tracker, setting the track type to Perspective, or you could launch a separate application that exists in the same folders of After Effects called Mocha.
It uses a different technology than Points. It looks at the entire plane of the surface to track, and in many cases it's better. As of After Effects CS5.5, things started changing. If you wanted to use the Legacy Tracker, you would select your footage and Track Motion. However, if you wanted to stabilize your footage using the Legacy Point Tracker, you no longer use the Stabilize Motion button. Instead, you click Track Motion and change the Track type to Stabilize.
If on the other hand, as of After Effects CS5.5, you want to use the brand-new Warp Stabilizer. You select your footage then click the Stabilize Motion button and this would bring up the new Warp Stabilizer instead of the old Legacy Point Tracker. Finally, if you want to do a Perspective Corner Pin Track, this is just like it was in After Effects CS5 and earlier. Select your footage, and to do a Point Track, you use Track Motion. To use the Plain or Motion Tracker Mocha, it's a separate application in the folder next to After Effects.
All this changed again as of After Effects CS6. In CS6 the Tracker window actually got more clear as to what it was doing, personally because it's handling more functions. If you want to use the legacy point- based tracker, you select your footage and you click either Track Motion or Stabilize Motion. Very clear. If you want to use the newer Warp Stabilizer, introduced in After Effects CS5.5, select your footage and click on the button Warp Stabilizer not Stabilize Motion, which is what you used in 5.5.
Now a new feature in After Effects CS6 is the brand-new 3D Camera Tracker which can follow the movement of the camera that shot the scene. To use that, you select your footage and select Track Camera, not Track Motion. Finally, if you wish to perform a Corner Pin Track on a rectangular surface, you select the footage as always. If you want to use the Legacy Point Tracker, again Track Motion, set the Track type to something like Perspective Corner Pin or. I'm going to undo here, if you want to use Mocha, which is again a better solution in many cases, select your footage and take advantage of a brand-new Menu item called Animation>Track in mocha AE.
You will no longer see a separate Mocha application next to After Effects; this is the only way to open Mocha from inside the After Effects CS6. Most of the training in this course was performed in After Effects CS5.5 except for the features that are unique to CS6, namely the 3D Camera Tracker. But I'll be putting captions along the bottom explaining how the different versions have changed in the ways that you launch your preferred Tracker or Stabilizer.
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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