After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
please wait ...
After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying
Video duration: 0s 3h 22m Intermediate Updated Dec 12, 2012


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 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 Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • 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
After Effects


- Hi, I'm Chris Meyer of Crish Design. And welcome to the After Effects Apprentice lesson on Tracking and Keying. Tracking and Keying are two essential cornerstone skills for creating visual effects. Tracking, is the ability to follow objects in already shot footage so that you can add new objects into that scene and the final composite looks realistic. Keying is the ability to take footage shot against a colored background, typically green or blue, remove that colored background, and now take your remaining foreground object, and put it in front of brand new scene.

First, we'll cover the Warp Stabilizer, which was introduced in After Effects CS5.5. This is a highly automated way of smoothing out what might otherwise be a rough camera move. We'll then cover the so called classic, or Legacy point-based tracker and stabilizer. That's been in After Effect for ages and is an essential tool to track and stabilize existing footage. We'll show you how to use Mocha AE, an advanced Planar Tracker that makes it easier to do screen replacement, change out billboards in already shot footage, et cetera. And then we'll play around with the brand new 3D Camera Tracker added in After Effects CS6.

Instead of tracking objects in the scene, this recreates the camera's original position in a shot. So that you have a new 3D world, that matches the original world. Once you've mastered these tools and skills, you can stabilize movement in a shot, attach another layer to a feature in a shot, have an effect point follow that feature, So for example radio waves emanate from it, replace an object with a brand new layer. We'll be doing some screen replacement later in this lesson. And create fantastical new worlds, where objects hang in 3D space. For keying, we'll be taking action shot with a handheld camera against a green or blue screen, make that background transparent, make sure that the action you want to keep is nice and opaque with some nice, smooth edges, and then place the result over the new background.

We'll combine that with stabilization to either remove the camera, or add the camera's original movement to a new background. This lesson also includes sidebars with advice on tracking and keying. Plus how to use a brand new Rolling Shutter Repair effect, to remove art effects introduced by many current-generation cameras. Now tracking and keying are very deep subjects, that require a lot of practice to master. Our goal here is to get you introduced to them, get you familiar with them, feeling more comfortable with them, so that you can go ahead and tackle jobs, practice, and get really good at these, so you too, can create visual effects in After Effects.

please wait ...