Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video mocha AE CC 2014, part of After Effects CC 2013 New Features.
- Another major third-party update to After Effects CC 2014.1 is that the powerful planar tracker, mocha AE from Imagineer Systems, has also been updated to mocha AE CC 2014. This major upgrade is compatible with their full-blown Mocha Pro 4 and mocha Plus 4 project files, and also sports a streamlined user interface and high DPI compatibility with computers such as the MacBook Retinas. To show you some of the new features in this version of mocha AE, let's put it to work.
I'm going to switch back to After Effects, and let's create a brand-new project file. I'm going to use this movie we've used elsewhere inside this course, of this person typing on a laptop. We're going to do some screen replacement on this. For example, we're going to put this guy's kids in the middle of his laptop screen. I'm going to select the laptop, go to Animation, Track in mocha AE. Let's do a real quick and dirty track in mocha. As before, I'll get the New Project panel in mocha that's based on the name of the clip that I chose, and also the parameters of that clip, including its frame rate and its pixel aspect ratio.
Previously, this was your one shot to edit your project settings inside mocha. I'm going to drag it out here to fill my screen. Now you can go into File, Project Settings, and also change the Length, First frame offset and frame rate after the fact, without having to reimport the clip. There's also been some updates to Preferences. I'll go to its menu item, Preferences. There are keyboard shortcuts sets to match a variety of programs you might be using mocha with, including After Effects or, if you're more familiar with them, Cinema 4D, Fusion, and Nuke.
I'll choose the After Effects set. You can also duplicate any of these locked sets and create your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Now I can use some After Effects shortcuts, such as the space bar to go ahead and pan around my clip. I'm going to do that, and also zoom it down slightly to fit inside my limited display here. Space bar, temporary tool to pan, and zoom back down. There we go. Some other useful changes inside the Preferences is that you may know one of the big differences between mocha and After Effects is that it uses rotational controls for scrubbing a parameter, rather than linear controls.
What that means is, if you have a parameter such as this crop mask, you rotate it around the parameter to go ahead and edit its value. This is initially difficult to get used to, but actually it's a way to do infinite scrubbing, which is really kind of handy, because sometimes you run out of desktop space or screen real estate to keep scrubbing that parameter. However, if you do prefer the normal After Effects-like linear controls, you now have a much bigger zone to drag. You don't have to get right on the parameter. You just do it anywhere inside its box, get that nice little blue indicator underneath to show you the parameter's range, and, just like After Effects, you can hold the shift key to scrub more quickly, or hold command on a Mac, control on Windows, to scrub in much finer increments.
I'll set this back to zero. Okay, let's set up a really quick track. I'm going to move to a frame in here where this person's hands most obscure the screen, just to make sure they don't creep into my track region, pick the x-spline tool, and quickly choose as much of that planar screen as I can without grabbing this person's hands, which would distract the track. You can also set up a second shape inside mocha to be an exclusion zone, to exclude the hands, from a selection of, say, the entire screen.
I'm just doing a really quick track here, to demonstrate some other new features in mocha. I'll go ahead and sharpen up some of these corners, use the little viewer on the left to make sure I'm tracking just the screen and none of what's behind, pull that handle out, as well. I love that little magnifying viewer in mocha. Really helps me see what I'm doing and place things with much greater precision. Pull that corner out. And pull this corner out and this corner out, and place that final corner.
I don't want to track too much of the background because that's moving on a different plane than the laptop's screen. This should do me fine. Okay, my next step would be tracking this forwards and backwards from my initial keyframe where I've set up this tracking shape. The first thing I'll do is click the Track Forwards button. Since this will take a little while, I'm going to use the magic of video editing to cross-fade to a point where this track is already done. There, I'll return my time indicator back to that frame where I set up my track shape, and then track backwards to get the earlier frames.
Like before, let's just cross-fade to where that's done, so you don't have to sit and watch paint dry. Okay, now I have a pretty good track on my laptop. The next thing I want to do is set up a surface to indicate where that screen is, so I can replace it with my brand-new screen. I'm just going to find a frame where I can actually see all four corners of that screen, that I can just barely see it there. I'm going to go ahead and create a planar surface, use that handy viewer on the left to place the corners of my surface, just beyond the corners of the old screen, right around ...
there, maybe out a pixel, place this lower right corner, and then now, let's see if you can see that corner of the screen right here inside his hand. Right around there. Tap the space bar again to preview. And we have a pretty good track of that screen. Okay, nothing new there. But what is new is in some of the Export Tracking Data options. I'll click Export Tracking Data, and you'll see that this list has been simplified. Imagine your system's how a lot of people got confused by some of the choices, including the one that would animate the anchor point.
So they've removed that. You now have the three choices, doing just corner pin data, which also works with Red Giant Warp and the great mocha import script, just transform data, position scale rotation ... This does not take skew into account, by the way ... Or a Microsoft favorite, one that does corner pinning but also animates position, scale and rotation so you do get some natural motion blur in After Effects. I'll choose that. Copy to the clipboard, switch back to After Effects, make sure my time indicator's at the start of my timeline, choose the new video, and paste.
Screen snaps more or less into position, but, as before, you still need to manually set the anchor point to account for differences in video size between the tracked frame and the new inserted frame. And, as usual with mocha, if you choose half of the composition's size, which matches the footage you tracked, in this case that would be about 480 by 270, that makes a good starting point for your anchor point. I'll tap the space bar to play through this.
And we have a pretty reasonable track for something quick and dirty. If, on the other hand, you wanted to stabilize the laptop screen, I'll turn off that video overlay, go back to mocha, Export Tracking Data, and choose Invert. This will stabilize the shot rather than track a feature of the shot. Copy to the clipboard, go back to After Effects, choose the laptop now instead, paste. I'm going to put my cursor up by the corner of the screen so you can see how well this shot has now been stabilized by mocha.
Again, this was just a real quick and dirty track. I would normally refine it much more than that. But not too bad. There's also a couple additional features inside this new version, such as the ability to import Red Dragon 6K footage, and they've also made it easier to set up feathered edges for shapes. There's now buttons to add and subtract to the edge with. Anyway, those are the updates to mocha AE 2014, which is installed automatically alongside After Effects CC 2014.1.
The September 2013 update brought the new Rigid Mask Tracker, as well as additional ways to scale up footage cleanly, while the highlight of the December 2013 update was the ability to convert parametric shape layers to Bézier paths, and Bézier paths into shape layers. The NAB 2014 update shows off important new integration with Adobe Premiere Pro and Typekit, as well major updates to effects. Smaller yet still important new and enhanced features in each release are also touched on throughout. As always, Chris doesn't just show you where these new features are, but how to apply them to your own projects, along with preferred working practices and potential gotchas.
Note: This course was created and produced by Chris and Trish Meyer. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Integrating with CINEMA 4D
- Using the Refine Edge tool to fine-tune mattes
- Applying Reverse Stabilization
- Preserving scale while stabilizing
- Working with layer snapping
- Finding missing footage, fonts, and effects
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: This course was updated on 01/14/2014. What changed?
A: Chris added two new chapters covering updates to After Effects CC. Chapter 5 covers the new Rigid Mask Tracker and footage scaling capabilities and Chapter 6 covers the ability to convert parametric shape layers to Bezier paths and Bezier paths into shape layers.
Q: This course was updated on 5/8/2014. What changed?
A: We twelve new movies, covering what's changed in After Effects CC since the May 2013 initial release, the changes released in October 2013, and the changes announced at the 2014 NAB Show, such as Premiere Pro and Typekit integration, and effects masks.
Q: This course was updated on 11/20/14. What changed?
A: Four movies were updated to reflect changes in After Effects CC 2014.1. Additionally, seven new movies were added, covering changes to the interface, the release of CINEWARE v2 and CINEMA 4D Lite R16, updates to mocha, Dynamic Link color management with Premiere Pro and Media Encoder, and more.