After Effects CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Tracking footage


After Effects CS6 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

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Video: Tracking footage

In this video we're going to use the Camera Tracker to track our desk here. And this scene is going to be a little different than the previous video, because in this scene the camera was actually locked down on a tripod. That gives After Effects a slightly different bit of math to figure out. So to show you what I'm talking about, let's go ahead and apply the Camera Tracker to our layer. Now in the last video we just right- clicked on the layer and said Track Camera, but this time let's go up to Animation > Track Camera.
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  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 16s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 22s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 28s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 17s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    4. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 20s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 34s
  13. 15m 57s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 25s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 16s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 40s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 39s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS6 Essential Training
8h 41m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the workspace, important preferences, and the cache
  • Importing footage and comps
  • Relinking missing footage
  • Creating type, shape layers, and masks
  • Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
  • Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
  • Timing animations to audio
  • Building backgrounds with effects
  • Rendering with the Render Queue and Adobe Media Encoder
  • Animating 3D type
  • Smoothing shaky footage and retouching footage
  • Keying green screen footage
  • Working with 3D: extruding shapes, adding ray-traced lighting, and more
After Effects
Ian Robinson

Tracking footage

In this video we're going to use the Camera Tracker to track our desk here. And this scene is going to be a little different than the previous video, because in this scene the camera was actually locked down on a tripod. That gives After Effects a slightly different bit of math to figure out. So to show you what I'm talking about, let's go ahead and apply the Camera Tracker to our layer. Now in the last video we just right- clicked on the layer and said Track Camera, but this time let's go up to Animation > Track Camera.

There's always more than one way to do things in After Effects. If we look in our Effects controls, you can see that the footage is being analyzed. Now since we've already went over some of these in the previous video, let's jump down to the Advanced section. Here under the Solve Method, After Effects usually does a really good job of guessing exactly which method to use, and that's why most of the time I just leave it on Auto Detect. But sometimes it's wise to just click on the pulldown and choose one of these options.

So Typical is the very first option and that's usually what After Effects ends up using, as long as your camera is moving throughout a 3D scene. If you shot a scene that's primarily a bunch of flat surfaces, you'd want to choose Mostly Flat Scene. Since our shot specifically had a camera on a tripod and it was literally just panning, let's choose that option. A lot of times when a footage is being analyzed, if you choose a different method from what it's using currently, it may start the analysis again.

But even so a lot of times when it figures out the analysis, even if it starts it again, it's not really always starting all the way over, it really doesn't delay that much longer. Notice down here in the Advanced section also, since the track has been worked out the Average Error is 0.65. The smaller this number the more accurate your tracks are going to be. If this number isn't something that's satisfactory to you, you can always select Detailed Analysis and let it go at it again.

Let's hover our mouse around some of these points and see, okay, so the target is huge first off which leads me to believe that there is something funky going on with the scene. Secondly, notice how the target is perfectly flat to the camera. Well that's because with the tripod there is no actual depth being created. See all of these points, imagine like a string attached to the end of your camera, attached to one of these points that distance is always going to be the same.

When you're panning, you're not changing the distance from the lens, you're just changing the orientation to that point. So After Effects feels no need to actually create 3D from this. I know you're thinking to yourself, well, how am I going to get an object in the scene without 3D data? Well I can tell you it's not that bad. Once you actually tie your graphic to a point you can actually orient it rather easily yourself. But let's move around and see if we can't figure out the issue with our target.

I could just crank the Target Size down, but it's so rare that the target takes over the screen like this. Let's click through some of the menus and see if we can figure things out. Let's start by the Shot Type. If you click on the pulldown, it was correct in the Fixed Angle of View, but let's see if we Specify the Angle of View if we get any better results. This Angle of View is set to 8.8 and I'm pretty sure I don't have a camera that shoots at 8.8 in terms of its Angle of View. So to figure out what my lens was I'm just going to go up Layer > New > Camera.

And in the Camera Settings here, I'm going to go to the Focal Length and type in my lens. I know I shot this with an 85 millimeter lens. So when I type that in, I get 23.91 degrees. So I'm going to cancel here and under Angle of View I'm going to say 23.91 and when I press Tab, now notice it quickly resolved the scene and, hey check it out, when I hover my mouse, now you can actually see the target, and also when you see the target, at the bottom it gives you the same note I explained earlier.

There's no depth from a tripod pan solve. That is perfectly okay. Let's scrub through our scene, so we can see exactly how this is panning over the desk, and you notice there are some points that are there and then there are some points that actually disappear. So let's choose one of these points over here on the left. Let's choose this green point. I'm just going to choose one, right- click, and say Create Solid and Camera.

Now when we do that, we have our camera, if you press U with the camera selected, you can see Position, Orientation, and Zoom. As we scrub through you can see the zoom never changes. Now our layer Solid, let's select Track Solid 1 and press Shift+Command+Y to open up the Solid Settings. I want to set this to about 200x200. Now when I click OK, I have a better idea as to the perspective of my Solid.

And just so I can see through the scene I'm going to press T to open up its Opacity and set it down to around 50%. Let's press R to open up the Rotation and Orientation. Let's click and drag on the X Orientation. Let's drag it to the left so we can see if we can match up the orientation of the table. After we do the X let's click and drag on the Z. Now what I'm trying to line up is this scene here and this scene here.

If we scroll in a little bit to the magnification and press the Spacebar, you can see this line and this line are not quite parallel. See, we need to scrub the Z Orientation and the X Orientation to actually get it oriented to its proper angle. There we go, and here let's scrub one more time. Okay, this is starting to look a little better. Let's zoom back out. There we go! Now if we scrub through the scene, you should notice that the Solid and the video are moving in conjunction with each other.

If you're not, definitely make sure you're in Draft mode and move your playhead back and just load up a RAM Preview. Now with this RAM preview, you should notice that our layer Solid is stuck to the table just as solidly as the yellow sticky notes that were sitting there in the first place. And as this loads you'll see there is hardly any drift. I'm going to stop playback here for a second and just watch in realtime. As you can see it's kind of stuck solid to the table, which is exactly what we're looking for.

Yes, we only use one point. I'm going to stop playback there, but it's still was able to get the job done. Now in our next video, we're going to focus on the 3D element that we will then in turn end up compositing back into the scene. Now just to show you the scene one more time, let's switch the magnification to fit up to 100%, and as we scrub through here, you can see that this element isn't ever going to fully end up in the scene.

I don't want you to panic, you can make adjustments to this even though this is applied to that one track point. If you press A to open up the anchor point, here we can scrub the anchor point on the X axis and actually have it slide around on the table, and even as we scrub through, you can see that it's still going to be stuck to the table perfectly well without any drift.

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