Tracking 101 in After Effects tutorial
Tracking is the process where you collect data on a particular point in video footage and then apply it to something else. Sounds boring, right? I’m with you, but it is an essential tool for a variety of effects and looks that you see quite often. In this tutorial, you can get the basics on how to use After Effect’s internal tracking tool.
I’ll warn you that the download is a bit bigger than usual (about 6MB) because I wanted to include a short piece of video. Even after bringing it down to Quicktime’s H.264 codec, it still was pretty big. Sorry…
Back to tracking: One movie that struck me with it’s tracking usage that you may remember was Wil Farrell’s Stranger than Fiction movie. In the opening credits, you basically saw tracking data in every scene as the movie set the story up about his character.
Aharon Rabinowitz wouldn’t want me to neglect to tell you that when we had a meeting of AENY that featured a third party tracking solution (Mocha from Imagineer Systems) we polled the audience of about 100 people if they used tracking often. I was truly astonished to see that more than half of the hands went up.
So…I hope this tutorial is worth the download. Once you have it, be patient as tracking does take a little hand holding, but once I got the hang of it, I actually kind of enjoy it.
As always, there’s a lot more to tracking than what I covered, so if there is interest in learning more, let me know. In other words, comments are welcome.
UPDATE: I got some comments from Michael Coleman, the Product Manager for After Effects and I wanted to post them here as he points out a couple of mistakes on my part…
* The apply button should be used to move the relevant keyframes to
the target. I don’t recommend copy and pasting KF, unless there’s
something special you’re trying to do. Use the "edit target" button
to choose a place to apply the data. This saves a lot of time,
particularly if you need to tweak the tracker and re-apply the data.
* The final result of the tracker data is the Attach point. It’s the
little plus symbol and it’s not necessarily within the feature
region. It’s separate so that you can attach something to a different
location from the object being tracked.
See, that’s why they’re beginner tutorials – I make mistakes once in a while!