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By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 19, 2013

After Effects Technology Preview: Part 3

Warp Stabilizer VFX and 3D Camera Tracker enhancements

Next in my review of significant new features that Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, let’s look at enhancements to the Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker tools already available in After Effects.

Warp Stabilizer VFX

Many treat Warp Stabilizer as an apply-it-and-done stabilization effect. Now it looks poised to become a serious visual effects tool in its own right with the ability to take on many of the tasks you might have previously reserved for a motion tracker.

For example, in addition to stabilizing footage, you will now be able to reverse a stabilization. That means you can stabilize a shot for the sake of applying effects to it (including the After Effects Paint tool, which is rendered as an effect), and then reverse the stabilization to restore the original camera movement to the affected painted shot. The camera motion calculated in the original, unstabilized shot can also be applied to another layer to composite it onto the original.

Warp Stabilizer VFX can also be commanded to not stabilize the scale of a shot, which comes in handy when stabilizing fly-throughs or other shots with continuous motion. I’ve personally had good results with walking shots that previously displayed sudden jumps in scale after stabilization; by telling Warp Stabilizer VFX that all of the apparent “scale” changes are actually positional changes, it can perform a more appropriate stabilization. I give an example of this in my new course After Effects Technology Preview.

You can also now reveal the underlying tracking points in a shot that Warp Stabilizer VFX is working on, including the ability to delete undesired points. The current generation of Warp Stabilizer can occasionally be thrown off if a portion of the shot it assumed was supposed to be stable actually moved (such as actors moving in a different direction than the camera movement, or a snare drum jumping in its stand as a drummer hit it), requiring masking or other tricks to hide the offending pixels from Warp Stabilizer. Being able to display and delete the offending points provides a much nicer workflow.

AECC04_WarpStabVFX

clip F129-02 courtesy Artbeats.com

3D Camera Tracker

Not to be left out, the 3D Camera Tracker—which, like Warp Stabilizer, can automatically analyze a shot and derive the original camera’s movement, in this case to recreate a 3D camera inside After Effects—is also getting upgrades. One that it shares with Warp Stabilizer VFX is more intelligence when you delete unwanted track analysis points: It checks to see if the same tracked point appears later in time, and deletes those instances as well.

Another nice upgrade is the ability to define a ground plane and origin in a scene. The current version of the 3D Camera Tracker has no true idea of where the floor or ground is in a shot, so the Position coordinates it creates can seem a bit random. Now you can select one or more points, set a target, and declare that this is where the Position 0, 0, 0 is in the scene, as well as the orientation of the ground plane.

AECC05_GroundPlane

clip #5891637 courtesy feidro/iStockphoto

For a demonstration of both Warp Stabilizer VFX and the Define Ground Plane option for the 3D Camera Tracker, see my new course After Effects Technology Preview. In my next blog, I’ll go over some of the other small but useful additions being planned for a future version of After Effects.

Interested in more?

• Start a Become a lynda.com member • The full After Effects Technology Preview series • Courses by Chris Meyer on lynda.com • All lynda.com After Effects courses

Adobe and After Effects are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

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