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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
So, right about now, you might be asking yourself, "Well, what's the point of tracking motion other than stabilizing motion?" Well, in this video I'm going to show you exactly why you'd want to track motion. Again, it's a very powerful commonly used feature in After Effects. What I've already done for you here is basically the same process we did in the last movie. If I double-click this cool bird movie, by the way, here is our footage. It's like this little cool bird at the zoo. It's moving around and doing some talking there. If I double-click this layer to open it up in the Layer panel, you'll see that I've already done the tracking for you because the process is the same as stabilizing.
So, we have like our little point in the middle, we have the feature region, and then we have the search region, same deal. What I decided to track was there was like a shadow here, and there is a line of shadow, and there is vertical lines where there is posts. So, I decided to track that. That was a little bit risky because horizontal lines are dangerous, because After Effects can't get a grip on where those lines stop and start. So, often, they'll be drifting, which is a bad thing. But because there are stark vertical lines, and there was a kind of like diagonal line here, After Effects was able to figure out what was going on, and we get a pretty good track out of this.
But I have not applied any of that tracking data. What I did is I started by clicking Track Motion and then I got the same little gizmo here, tracked the footage, and now what I need to do is click the Edit Target button, and I choose the layer I'm going to apply the motion to, and we have choices now. We have the light, we have the original footage, and then we also have this TALKING Bird4, which is actually the text that you just saw in the previous composition where we're just looking at. We can't apply the footage to the light or the original footage. We need to use another layer.
The only other layer is this text layer, TALKING Bird4. So, I'm going to go ahead and click OK. Then I'm going to click Apply. I'm going to apply the dimensions X and Y. Click OK. Now we go back to our original footage here. You can see that as this moves around, that the TALKING Bird text moves along with the background, and because there is this cool lighting added here, we're getting this very awesome 3D effect. You'll see this oftentimes in commercials. You see it in the beginning of every episode of the TV show "Heroes." They will track motion, and then as the camera is panning in, you'll see text.
It seems like its kind of moving along with the camera as if it were there when it were being filmed. That's kind of the look that we've just created here by using tracking to track this text into our shot. So, it's very surreal almost the look that we've created here by having this fake text that moves in tandem with our layer. It's very interesting. Now we can also select the light and sometimes lights are a little bit weird, so we might not be able to get this to work out quite right.
But if we select our layer, I'm going to press P for Position. I want to adjust our layer here so that it comes just on Z space. What's happened is that the position has been completely replaced for every single frame. I want to adjust all keyframes at once. So, to adjust all of your keyframes at once, I need to be on a frame with the keyframe, which I can see here, a little gold. Let me know that I want on a frame with a keyframe. I need to select all the keyframes, which I can do easily by clicking the name of the property.
So, by clicking the name of the property and by being on a frame with the keyframe, whenever I make a change, it will be a change to all the keyframes. So, I can click and drag in Z space, make this a negative value, and I'll bring this forward here until I like the shadow on the background. I might need to go back to the light and adjust this a little bit. That just adds an even greater degree of realism, because now we have a three-dimensional shadow in the background that appears that it's almost like on the posts in the back.
So, again, a very realistic effect, and actually let's just wait until that does a RAM preview, and then we'll see the entire little mini project from scratch. Give it just another couple of seconds here, and let's just go ahead and preview that. There we go. We have our 3D text with the 3D shadow that appears like it's on the background. It's a very common look. Again, like you see in "Heroes" or in commercials all over the place where text is tracked into the shot.
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