Introduction to After Effects Tracking
After Effect is the most popular video editing software which is widely used by the video editing graphics professional for their editing work. In this article, we will have a look at the ‘Tracking’ feature of After Effect software. You can understand Tracking as a method through which you can connect any object or layer of this software with any particular point of any video footage and that object fill trace the motion of that particular point with each frame of video footage. Tracking gives you a wide range of editing methods for getting the best result in your work. So let us understand Tracking in After Effect through an example and also analyze its parameters.
How to Use Tracking in After Effect?
We will understand this feature in a few simple steps.
Step 1: Before starting our learning about this feature, let us have a look at the user interface of this software for our better understanding. At the top of working screen, we have a Menu bar with different submenu, below this, we have Tool panel and their properties bar, next we have Project Panel in the left side of working screen with Effect Controls panel for the handling of any Effect parameters, at the middle, we have Composition window, at the right side we have some parameters such as Preview tab, Effect & Presets, Tracker, etc., at the bottom end we have Layer section and Timeline section.
Step 2: First of all let us have video footage for our learning. For placing video footage in After Effect software, go to that folder where you have saved it. Pick it from there and drop it in the Project Panel area of this software.
Step 3: Now drag this footage in the Layer section of this software which is at the bottom end of the working screen. I have downloaded this video footage from https://www.shutterstock.com/ website. You can take your own video footage or download it from any other website for your learning.
Step 4: Now go to Window menu of Menu bar which is at the top of the working screen. Enable the Tracker option from the dropdown list if it disables.
Step 5: Tracker option tab will be open in the right side parameters section of the working screen.
Step 6: Now click on the Tracker option tab. We have a different type of ‘Tracking’ option here in this tab. Here we will understand Tracking by Track Motion option.
Step 7: Now click on the ‘Track Motion’ tab.
Step 8: A new layer for making changes in this video footage will be open in the composition window area. Once you click on the Track Motion option, the Tracking Point box will be open on the screen of video footage.
Step 9: Inner square box with plus sign helps you for choosing a particular point around which you want to track motion and Outer square box will help you in searching for track point through each frame of video footage.
Step 10: You can increase and decrease the size of square boxes of tracking according to your requirement.
Step 11: You can move these tracking square boxes anywhere on the video screen.
Step 12: Now I will choose this point of a finger as a tracking point for my work.
Step 13: Now let us have a look at parameters of Track Motion. There is a Motion Source option in which we will choose video footage on which we want to apply to track.
Step 14: In the Current Track option there will be a number of Trackers which you use in your video footage.
Step 15: You can track Position, Rotation, or Scale of any point of video footage by enabling these options.
Step 16: Here is the ‘Analyze 1 frame forward’ option through which you can track the point of tracker in each frame of footage in the forward direction.
Step 17: Through ‘Analyze 1 frame backward’ you can go 1 frame background for editing any tracking point.
Step 18: With the ‘Analyze forward’ button you can continuously track point with frame.
Step 19: Now press the ‘Analyze 1 frame forward’ button again and again for tracking point with each frame. Make sure the plus sign doesn’t go away from its original position throughout the track.
Step 20: Or you can press the ‘Analyze forward’ button for tracking continuously.
Step 21: Now let us take the Text layer for connecting it with the tracker. For the text layer, make right-click in layer section with the mouse button. A drop-down list will be open, go to the ‘New’ option in this list and choose the ‘Text’ option from the new drop-down list.
Step 22: Type your desired text which you want to track with the motion of finger of video footage.
Step 23: Now go to the tracking layer of the composition window and select this video in Motion Source of Tracker parameter on the right side of the working screen.
Step 24: Now choose Tracker 1 in the Current Tracker option of the Tracker tab if you have more than one tracker in your video footage. Now click on the ‘Edit Target’ tab of this tab.
Step 25: A dialog box will be open. Choose the text layer from here and press the Ok button of this dialog box.
Step 26: Now click on the Apply button of the Tracker tab box to apply it.
Step 27: Now ‘Apply’ box will be open and asked you in which direction you want to apply to track. You can choose any one of these lists. I will choose the X and Y direction option and then click the Ok button of this dialog box.
Step 28: Now play the tracking by press Space bar of a keyboard or you can go on the Preview tab which is at the right side of the working screen for playing the tracking. When you play it our text will move with the motion of the finger of video footage.
Step 29: You can add more than one tracking point in your video footage by click on the ‘New Track Point’ option of the Tracker tab.
Step 30: And adjust it according to you.
Now after going through this article you can understand ‘what is tracking in After Effect software?’ and ‘How you can handle parameter of this feature?’ You can get expertize in this feature after practicing on this and get benefits in your work.
This is a guide to After Effects Tracking. Here we discuss the Introduction and how to apply tracking effects in a step by step manner. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –