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Learn how to create stunning motion graphics and animations for video production. Author Ian Robinson explains how to format and animate type with the Transform Glyph tool and explores Motion's real-time 3D tools. The course also covers working in 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, keying green screen effects, and working with particle systems. In addition, Ian offers practical advice on integrating Motion into a professional video workflow and explains how to work smarter using rigs and templates.
If you've been watching television lately--and let's not kid ourselves, who hasn't?--I think you'll notice that tracking type into its background environment seems to be all the rage nowadays. It's pretty much in every commercial I've watched, so I want you to get familiar with the match-move behavior, because this is going to allow you to tie things together in the scene, regardless of whether it was originally created in Motion or not. So if we look at our project, I am going to press the spacebar and watch playback and as you can see, we've got this beautiful dolly move going on here.
And basically, we want to have some words look like they're stuck to this back fence. Now, we've already added the words. If you just turn on the visibility for the words here, you can see right now they're not tied to anything. So we'll use Match Move to tie this to the railing. So to get started, select the Type layer. I am just going to click in the Canvas and position it where you want it to be kind of "stuck". Now, I am going to position it so it's placed a little bit over this flower holder here that's kind of tied to the railing.
Now, with the type selected, to apply the Match Move behavior, go to your Library under behaviors, and there is a section for Motion Tracking, and Match Move is right here. So just drag Match Move and drop it right onto the type layer. Now, I'm going to press Command+3 and jump into the Inspector. Now, with Match Move selected, in the Inspector you'll notice we have a couple of different options. First off, our Source layer. Well, how did this get dropped in already? Well, anytime you have an object that you want to match to a piece of video, you want to place that object on the layer just above the video.
That way when you apply the behavior, it's automatically going to load the video right below in as the source. You can always click on this and reload a new source on the right-hand side here, but that's how it was loaded. Now, there's this button for Analyze Movement, and if you look in the Canvas, there is a red circle with a cross in the middle. This is going to be our tracker, and if you click and drag on it, notice that I'm getting a magnified view of what's going on in the scene.
And if you look on the left side of your screen, in the Inspector there is a Tracker Preview window that's even larger that's updating. The tracker is literally going to track things pixel by pixel, and what I want to do is make sure that the region it's searching in has something that's unique enough that it will be able to determine, hey, there is that same pixel. Now, on the railing, you notice it's very dark, and there are large areas without any definition. So that's why I am choosing this area here right at the edge of the railing, because I can get that kind of 90-degree white-to-black look and that will give some kind of distinction for the track.
Now, another thing to pay attention to when you're doing tracking is where your playhead currently is. I already placed my tracker here, and my playhead is at frame 58. So if we drag through the scene here you'll notice, yeah, I need to actually move my playhead. Here I am going to move my playhead to around frame 10 and move my anchor point here to that position. Okay, perfect! I know I'm not analyzing right to left. We'll deal with the beginning in a second, because I want to explain how having something in the foreground can make things a little harder to work with.
But we'll get there in a minute. Let's actually do our first analysis. So under Movement, in the Inspector, click Analyze. Now, notice as this is happening I am getting a real-time preview, and the Type is kind of bouncing around, and up here I'm getting all these little dots. And these are marks that the tracker is making as it's tracking each individual frame. And if you look in the Timeline here, you can see I have keyframes for absolutely everything.
Now, if we preview our animation, I am going to go ahead and deselect everything just by clicking Project panel. Now, press the spacebar and let's see. And while that's relatively okay, it's way too jittery for my taste. It's kind of bouncing up and down. And the reason that's happening, if you scrub through the Timeline, you notice the background for this railing is changing drastically. And since my track point is right on the edge here, it's being slightly influenced by the different pieces of the background that are rolling through that little bright white area.
So instead of tracking up here on the railing, we need to look for something more consistent. If you look down here in the foreground, we have these beautiful tiles, and these tiles are very distinct. And if you scrub through the clip, you notice they don't really disappear. So instead of undoing the track, I am just going to delete the Match Move behavior. I'll move my playhead to around frame 17 here, and let's add another Match Move. I am going to go to the Behaviors button here in my toolbar and under Motion Tracking choose Match Move. Okay.
With Match Move selected, we are looking at the Transformation values that we are going to track. Horizontal and Vertical. We want to attach the track points to our type, so let's just click and drag and specify a new point down here on the corner of one of the pieces of tile. Now click Analyze and watch what happens with the Type. I can already tell this is a much more solid track because of the density of each one of these points.
Also, you can see it's almost a perfectly straight line. Now, if we watch our playback here, you can see the type is moving in unison with the tile. But the problem is this tile is a few inches in front of the railing. So we're getting that drift that happens from the parallax of the camera. As you're far away from something, obviously things look like they're moving a little more slowly, whereas when things are really close they look like they're moving faster.
So we need to move the type back a little bit. Now, we can move the type back in the scene by adjusting its position on Z space, just by selecting the type. And if you go to the Properties area of the Inspector, under Position, we have X, Y, and yes, Z. Even though this is a 2D layer, it is able to be moved in Z space. So let's just move this back around 66 frames, and now if we play it back, you'll notice, okay, it's much more stuck to the railings.
There's still a little bit of a drift, but it's pretty darn good. Now, another thing that I'm noticing, if we look at our track points--select the Match Move behavior--notice how over here on the left side the track points are a little closer and over here they are a little further away. Well, that's just kind of telling me that there is a slight perspective shift that's happening here. So instead of just tracking the position, just to nail this down a little more, I want to specify another track point. So if we go back to our Behaviors section of the Inspector, notice there is an option for Adjust for Position, and if I click on Scale, it will adjust the scale.
But I want to look at Rotation, just in case things are spinning around here a little bit. Now, notice on the right side I have a second track point. Just to kind of practice what I preach, I do want to move my playhead back to where we started tracking, and I know I'm right on that frame because I get that bright white circle right there in the middle of my track point. Now, I just need to drag the red crosshairs over here to this other tile. Now, I chose the corner of this other tile because I know it's distinct and roughly it's the same length as our type.
I know it's not quite, but it's a little closer than if I'd tried to tie it to that edge of the tile. So now let's click Analyze one more time. Okay. It was very minute, the amount of adjustments for the rotation, but if we watch this back, you'll notice now it looks like the type is almost nailed to the railings. Again, you may notice just a little shift, but honestly, that's pretty darn good. Now what we need to do is adjust things for the start section of our clip.
See, you notice, as I move my playhead, I'm on frame 17. That was our first track point, right? So I am going to move to frame 16, and you notice no track points. That's fine, this is where I'll start the new track. But if I try and track forwards, look what happens to this left track point. All the sudden the point that I was tracking on has disappeared. Let's see what happens if we track knowing that that's going to happen. Move your playhead back to frame 16, and all we have to do is select Reverse next to the Analyze button.
Now, if you click Analyze, watch what happens. I get this bright white X, and it's telling me that it lost its mind, basically, and if we press the spacebar, you can see, hmm, not quite. So what we need to do is undo that last set of tracks. Now, what I am going to do, we'll position our playhead on frame 17. Instead of choosing to Analyze right now, we need to go down here and choose Offset.
When you go to Offset track, what you can do is click on one of the track points. You have to be very careful. Notice when I clicked I accidentally dragged out this white circle. That's not what I'm trying to do, because that was the original track point. What I am trying to move is the tracker. So if you zoom in, which is Command+Plus, I can click right here on the edge of my tracker and get the tracker back, and what I am going to do is just offset it down to this rather unique area of tile.
I'm pretty sure this area isn't going to get covered up when we have the move. So now that I've offset my first track point, I want to go ahead and Analyze in Reverse. And I think we're okay. So if we press Shift+Z, you notice we can resize our view. I'm going to press F6 to hide the Timing panel and just make sure that we have everything deselected.
Open my Project panel and just click on Project here. There we go. Now let's see the results of our track. And sure enough, we've dealt with a lot of frustrating issues that could have caused problems by adjusting the offset of our track. We've also learned about parallax and adjusting things in Z space, and I think you know how to troubleshoot a track and work your way through the progression that a typical designer would have to go through to pin something down in a scene.
Just to understand, every time you do tracking with the Match Move, you want to try and create good results by using as few track points as possible.
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