Introduction to After Effects Motion Tracking
Adobe After Effects is an animation and video editing software and, in this article, we are going to learn how it is used in motion tracking. We will look in-depth at how we can use the tracking method which will joints any layer or object with a point in the video and that point will be traced in the entire video frame by frame so we can use it to display additional information on the video footage. Many parameters can be analyzed to achieve the best result possible.
How to Use After Effects for Motion Tracking?
Here are the following steps mention below:
Let us first familiarize ourselves with the interface before starting to get a better understanding. At the top is the menu bar like File, Edit, etc. and each has its submenu. Next, just below it, we have a tool panel and its properties. On the left side, there is a project panel that consists of the project files and an effects control panel that shows the effects applied on a particular layer. Then there is the composition panel which shows the preview of the animation or video. At the top right, we have various layout presets which will arrange according to the type of work. We can even create our custom layout. At the right, there are various sections used to edit the video. At the bottom, there is layers and timeline panel which is used to add media and add animation keyframes.
To open the video go in the project panel and double click to import the video
Create the comp from the selection and rename the comp to Point Line
So we have the video and what we want to do is use some text to point to one of the windows of the building.
Now we will create a rectangle or press Q and drag a box as shown but make sure that you do not select the video or else it will create a mask.
So, click off the video drag the rectangle. Set the fill to black and stroke to none. For the shape layer set the opacity to 75%. To only select the opacity press T or transparency while selecting the layer.
Use the Horizontal Type Tool or press Ctrl + T and click in the comp and add the text as shown. The font is set to Museo Slab
Adjust and move the text such that it fits in the rectangle that we have created. You can change the font size from the character panel.
Next, use the pen tool or press G to create a line from the text to one of the windows of the building. Set the stroke to 5px and Gray white in color.
We can see that after previewing by pressing spacebar the text and line stays in the same place so we have to animate those using motion tracking
Now we will animate the path of the line which we renamed to pen. For this move the timeline to the beginning and set the path keyframe. Then move the timeline to just as the window disappears. Use the pen tool to drag the top point as shown.
Next, we trim the comp to the work area. So, we have done the motion tracking using the path tool. Ne
Now we will use the built-in motion tracking feature for which we will use the following footage and we will create the comp from it. The go-to window -> Tracker and click track motion which will open the layer panel in which you will get a track point.
Use the selection tool to make the squares bigger and in this footage, we will track the point on the person’s right specs dot. So, line up the point as shown.
There are 2 boxes the outside one is the general area in which after-effects searches for the tracking point. It should be kept according to the range of the motion of the dot. If we keep it too big then the entire area will be scanned at each frame which will be very system demanding. The inside box will keep track of specific things as the head moves in this case the glass and the rim. Also, set the tracking marker on the dot.
In the tracker panel now, you can start analysis but first, we have clicked analyze 1 frame forward.
Now we are analyzing frame by frame and the tracking point stays in the position. If it doesn’t then you have to adjust the rectangles to other parts of the face.
Select analyze forward and it will take some time so kick back and relax or take some coffee. We get all our tracking points. Now we will attach a null object so we can attach our speech bubble to it.
We create a null object in the layer panel and tracker edit target to null and then apply to both X and Y.
Now we can attach any text or graphic to this null object. We will import a speech bubble made in adobe illustrator.
Drag Speech Bubble.ai file onto our main composition and adjust its position near the head as shown.
Now we have to nest the graphic under the null object so to do that we will make the null object parent of the graphic as shown.
Finally, preview the video and the speech bubble follows the tracking points path and this is motion tracking in adobe after effects.
In this article, we have learned not only how to use the inbuilt motion tracker feature Adobe After Effects but also learned the techniques of keyframing the path property of the line to achieve the motion graphic animation. Apart from that, we have also learned how to parent objects to null objects.
This is a guide to After Effects Motion Tracking. Here we discuss steps to use After Effects for Motion Tracking along with the screenshots for understanding better. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –