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In Motion 4 Essential Training, Ian Robinson shows how to start building outstanding motion graphics and animations for video production. He demonstrates how to build custom text animations with the new Adjust Glyph tool and explores Motion’s amazing real-time 3D tools. Ian highlights working in the 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, and using reflections to add realism. He gives practical advice on how to integrate Motion into a professional video workflow, round-tripping with Final Cut Pro and sending a final project to Compressor. Exercise files accompany this course.
The Stabilize behavior is a great way to smooth out your footage. Let's get started by watching the clip. Press Play in the canvas, and you'll notice this clip is actually pretty shaky. So let's see if we can smooth that out. Stop playback, select the clip, go up to Add Behavior > Motion Tracking > Stabilize. Let's open the HUD and you'll notice we have a couple of different options. But if you open the Inspector, you can click this little I in upper right-hand corner or just go to the Inspector tab.
Under Stabilize, we have another option called Quality, where we can have a track Faster or Better. Now for this example, Faster is going to work perfectly fine. So let's go ahead and click that and now to activate Stabilize, all you have to click is Analyze. So now you notice the behavior has moved the playhead back to the beginning and it's going through frame-by-frame analyzing the shot as a whole, and it's going to try and smooth out the movement of this clip. When that's done, click the Play from beginning button, so we can check out the results.
You'll notice it's smoothed out the behavior in the center, and it's done so by sliding the clip around in the canvas. Unfortunately, you end up with these black edges. So let's see if we can fix that, because this seems a little not usable. Go ahead and stop playback. This time, let's try a different method. You notice in the Method pop-up menu, there is an option for Stabilize. There is another option for Smooth. Smooth works really well on clips like this where there is a little bit of a camera move in addition to the shake.
Since the footage has already been analyzed, we don't have to click that button again. Just go ahead and click Play from beginning, and let's check out the clip. That's significantly better, at least the clips not sliding half way of the canvas. But we are still getting these black edges. Go ahead and stop playback for a second and make one more adjustment. If you notice, both in the HUD and in the Inspector, we have an option for borders. Go ahead and change that to Zoom. What this is doing is scaling the shot up as a whole to make sure that there are no black edges.
If you zoom out, Command+- on the keyboard, you'll see the edges of the clip moving around. Go ahead and click Play from start again, and you'll see the clip is now smooth out significantly, but the shot still looks natural. If you want to be a stickler for how stable this shot is, there is one more technique, but unfortunately, we'll have to delete the behavior to do that. Let's go ahead and pause for a second, move our playhead back to the beginning, select your Stabilize behavior in the Inspector and press Delete.
Go up to Add Behavior > Motion Tracking > Stabilize. Let's go ahead and close the HUD, change the Quality to Faster, and this time let's add a point called a Tracker. Go ahead and click Add and you'll see this little circle with a red crossing the center of it. When you click on that, it's going to zoom in, so you can choose a pixel that's kind of high contrast. I'm just going to choose where the edge of this dark area is and let go. So this point is going to be a basis for this tracker as it analyzes this next attempt.
Go to Movement and click Analyze. You'll notice it's tracking that point on the top of the runner's head. Now let's click Play from beginning and see what our results are. Pretty close, but now we still need to zoom the edges of the borders. Go to Borders and click Zoom, open up the Project pane so we can deselect the Stabilize behavior, and let's watch the final clip. Now, this is a really, really stable lock down shot, but I don't know about you.
This just looks a little too stabilized for my liking. But hey, if that's the look you are going for, go for it. So to recap, we had three different techniques with three different results. So hopefully when you use the Stabilize behavior, you'll find something for your liking.
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