Join Mark Christiansen for an in-depth discussion in this video Performing a basic stabilization with Warp Stabilizer, part of After Effects CS5.5 New Features.
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Stabilization in After Effects CS5.5 is totally new. Not only is unlike anything you've seen before built in to After Effects, it's actually more sophisticated than any of the third-party or other custom options you can add to this app. The reason for this is pixel analysis. This tool actually tracks individual pixels throughout the full frame in motion and therefore it can work with different objects moving in separate directions over time and stabilize the whole shot as one.
Having this arrow in your quiver may change the way you shoot and it will raise production values on existing footage you might have previously considered unusable. Let's preview the shot and see what we're starting with. (Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) You can see that although the camera operator clearly did his best to keep this shot steady, he is riding around on the back of a bouncing vehicle, the camera goes slightly Dutch just about a second in, and at about the middle of the clip there's this awkward kind of stairstep-y zoom that occurs as the shot was being reframed.
So this is not a shot that you could just simply lock off and that's what the previous stabilization in After Effects would have offered you. That's why you need Warp Stabilizer. You can apply it in a few different ways. I will use the Animation menu to find the Stabilize Motion command. Now this command existed in previous versions of After Effects but it now does something completely different. As soon as I click it, the Warp Stabilizer effect is applied over here and you see this blue banner telling you that an analysis is already in progress.
You can see the progress over here in the Effect Control panel. It's ripping right through it. I see the percentage and it will show me the time remaining as well and while it's doing it, if it was a longer clip, I'm free to go work elsewhere in After Effects and even open up other comps while that's happening. In this case I'm just going to wait for it. You are going to see it complete and now it's going to the second phase where it actually stabilizes the shot and it's done. Now I'll preview the result, again hitting zero on the numeric keypad to whip up a RAM preview.
(Bicyclist: Down tubes and seat stays, those are all different in 2010. That's how they got a more compliant?) Clearly that's a huge improvement and I didn't have to really do anything at all. If I twirl down the effects in the timeline, you'll see there are in even any keyframes created by this effect. So everything is happening on the first pass automatically.
So you can get started stabilizing any shot in After Effects, as simply as just choosing stabilize motion and then letting the application go to work on the shot.
- Adding smooth light falloff
- Using inverse square falloff
- Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera
- Working with Warp Stabilizer
- Recreating bokeh blur artifacts
- Creating rack focus
- Setting up stereo 3D
- Working with RED camera footage
- Saving preview time with disk caching
- Creating an orbit null