Tracking for multiple effect points
Video: Tracking for multiple effect pointsEarlier in this lesson we introduced the idea of combining motion tracking and effects. This way, you can identify a feature in your underlying footage, use the tracker to follow that feature and apply that to some effect point or other position like parameter in particular effects. Here we're using radio waves, which is in essence a very simplified type of particle system, each ring of waves being a particle. There are numerous other particle system type effects out there including the great third-party plug-in Particular from Trapcode, but there are many other effects that also have effect points including things such as lens flares.
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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
Tracking for multiple effect points
Earlier in this lesson we introduced the idea of combining motion tracking and effects. This way, you can identify a feature in your underlying footage, use the tracker to follow that feature and apply that to some effect point or other position like parameter in particular effects. Here we're using radio waves, which is in essence a very simplified type of particle system, each ring of waves being a particle. There are numerous other particle system type effects out there including the great third-party plug-in Particular from Trapcode, but there are many other effects that also have effect points including things such as lens flares.
Well, not all effects have just one point, some have multiple points. For example lightning can go from one point to another. So let's take a quick look at how we would set up a project to use multiple track points for effects. I am going to drag Mountain Peaks to a brand-new composition, double-click it to open it up inside this Layer panel. You must be at full resolution while tracking and I also prefer to be at at least 100% magnification so I can see what's going on and I am going to apply an effect that uses multiple points to my footage.
There are some cool effects that I need to generate such as Audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform, but we're going to use Generate > Advanced Lightning. To use both effect points for the beginning and the ending of the lightning bolt, we need to set the lighting type to Strike. That's what makes it travel between multiple points. Right now we're looking at the result of the Advanced Lighting effect. But as soon as we say Track Motion, the Layer panel will switch back to viewing the Motion Tracker Points. There is a few different approaches, for example, I can go ahead and track one point at a time, such as the top of the mountain.
But, I am just going to do this quick and dirty rather than worrying about a really good track; RGB works well on this, don't need to extrapolate, instead I want to adapt feature if it changes too much, click OK, track forward, press Home to return to the beginning and double-check my track, looks good and set my Target to be an Effect point the origin or the direction of the lightning. In this case I am going to make it the destination of the lightning and have it come from that peak across the valley.
So I choose Direction, click OK and apply both X, Y dimensions. So now lighting goes to one point on the mountain peak. If I want to see it in context of the footage, I'll click Composite on Original and now you see the lightning bolt follows that mountain peak. Now let's go do the other point. I will go back to the Layer panel, make sure my Current Time Indicator is at the start or end of this clip to make life easy. I will go back to the start and I will track again. This starts a brand-new tracker down here in the Timeline panel.
Even though it's called Track Point 1, it is a separate track because each tracker may have multiple points. Earlier in this lesson you've used two or even four points per track. I'll place this over this peak. Again, I'd say RGB value is pretty good, so all my options should look pretty good here. Let's do a quick track of that peak, doesn't move as much anyway. Edit my Target to be Advanced Lightning, Origin in this case, click OK, Apply, both dimensions, and now we have the lightning jumping across the valley from the origin point across the valley to our peak that we tracked earlier, and there is the result.
You don't need to go through all that trouble inside the Tracker by the way. All the Apply function is actually doing is looking at the Attach Point keyframes for those peaks that you tracked and copying and pasting those into Origin or Direction keyframes for the effect. You can copy and paste keyframes later on, you can even use expressions to link a parameter to the result of a Tracker, you don't need to use the Apply switch. And indeed, some people, when tracking footage, may just go ahead and create simple Raw tracks, track a whole bunch of different features maybe ones here, ones here, ones here, you get the idea.
Then later on, use Expressions and the pick-whip to decide which ones to actually link their effects to. So I just want to give you a few different ideas and a few different strategies here of how you might use the Tracker in combination with effects to create looks such as this one.
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