Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video The Tracker panel, part of After Effects Apprentice: 12 Tracking and Keying.
- [Instructor] Before we get started tracking and stabilizing shots, first we need to discuss how the tracker panel has changed from version to version. A lot of these changes have been triggered by the addition of the warp stabilizer in CS5.5, but there are other reasons this has evolved as well. In After Effects CS5 and earlier, it was pretty simple. After you opened up the tracker panel, you selected the clip you either wanted to track or stabilize, and you had two buttons, Track Motion, or Stabilize Motion.
Both of these use, what is now referred to as, the legacy point tracker in After Effects. It's a tracker that's been in there for years, and what it does is look for a specific point in your footage to follow from frame to frame. If you want to do something known as a perspective track, for example, tracking the four corners of this rectangle that is this screen, you had two choices you could select the footage and, again, use the legacy tracker, setting the track type to Perspective.
Or you could launch a separate application, that exists in the same folder as After Effects, called mocha. It uses a different technology than points. It looks at the entire plane of the surface to track, and, in many cases, it's better. As of After Effects CS5.5, things started changing. If you wanted to use the legacy tracker, you would select your footage and track motion. However if you wanted to stabilize your footage using the legacy point tracker, you no longer use the Stabilize Motion button.
Instead you click Track Motion and change the track type to Stabilize. If, on the other hand, as of After Effects CS5.5, you want to use the, brand new, warp stabilizer, you select your footage, then click the Stabilize Motion button, and this would bring up the new warp stabilizer instead of the old legacy point tracker. Finally, if you want to do a perspective corner pin track, this is just like it was in After Effects CS5 and earlier. Select your footage, to do a point track you use Track Motion, to use the planar motion tracker, or mocha, it's a separate application in the folder next to After Effects.
All this changed again as of After Effects CS6. In CS6 the tracker window, actually, got more clear as to what it was doing. Partially because it's handling more functions. If you want to use the legacy point based tracker, you select your footage, and you click either Track Motion or Stabilize Motion. Very clear. If you want to use the newer warp stabilizer, introduced in After Effects CS5.5, select your footage and click on the button Warp Stabilizer.
Not Stabilize Motion, which is what you used in 5.5. Now, a new feature in After Effects CS6 is the brand new 3D camera tracker, which can follow the movement of the camera that shot the scene. To use that, you select your footage and select Track Camera, not Track Motion. Finally if you wish to perform a corner pin track on a rectangular surface, you select the footage, as always. If you want to use the legacy point tracker, again, Track Motion, and set the track type to something like Perspective corner pin.
Or, I'm going to undo here, if you want to use mocha, which is, again, a better solution in many cases, select your footage, and take advantage of a brand new menu item called Animation, Track in mocha AE. You will no longer see a separate mocha application next to After Effects. This is the only way to open mocha from inside After Effects CS6. Most of the training, in this course, was performed in After Effects CS5.5, except for the features that are unique to CS6, namely the 3D camera tracker.
But I'll be putting captions along the bottom explaining how the different versions have changed in the ways that you launch your preferred tracker or stabilizer.
The After Effects Apprentice series was created by Trish and Chris Meyer. These tutorials are designed for After Effects CS4 through CC, and can be used on their own or as a companion to the Meyer's book, After Effects Apprentice.
- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 12/12/2012. What changed?
A: We added new chapters on the Warp Stabilizer and the exciting new 3D Camera Tracker, and new movies on the Tracker panel, converting to ray-traced 3D, and rolling shutter repair, all new features introduced in After Effects CS6. In addition, there are new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6 and a companion movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.