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Additions to Warp Stabilizer VFX effect in After Effects CC (12.0)

(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)

For the basics of the Warp Stabilizer effect in After Effects CS5.5 and later, see these resources.

In After Effects CC (12.0), we have made several improvements to the Warp Stabilizer effect, which is why it has the new name Warp Stabilizer VFX to distinguish it from the previous version and the version in Premiere Pro. The improvements include the ability to delete track points to isolate the tracking to relevant image data, the ability to preserve scale during stabilization, and the ability to apply effects to the image such that they follow the motion in the scene.

Preserve Scale

In the previous version of the Warp Stabilizer, the effect could become confused by point-of-view shots and would attempt to correct for movement of the camera forward or backward by changing the scale. This was especially bad for aerial fly-throughs. If you enable the Preserve Scale option, then the Warp Stabilizer will not attempt to correct with scale adjustments.

Auto-delete Points Across Time

Steve Forde demonstrates this aspect of the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect in this video.

In the Advanced section of the effect properties, there is a new option: Auto-delete Points Across Time. This functions very much like the same feature in the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects CC (12.0).

If this option is on, when you delete track points in the Composition panel, corresponding track points (i.e., track points on the same feature/object) are deleted at other times on the layer, so you don’t need to delete the track points frame by frame to improve the quality of the track. For example, you can delete track points on a person running through the scene, whose motion should not be considered for the determination of how to stabilize the shot.

You can delete selected track points with the Delete key or by context-clicking and choosing Delete Selected Points.

Note: Even with the new Auto-delete Points Across Time feature, you may instead or additionally define an alpha channel for the layer to prevent the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect from considering a specific part of the image for the purpose of stabilizing the shot.


There are three primary ways to use Warp Stabilizer: for stabilizing a shot, for temporarily stabilizing to do visual effects work, and compositing a layer into a shaky scene. Each of these goals has a corresponding entry in the new Objective menu in the Advanced properties of the Warp Stabilizer:

  • Stabilize: This is the normal operation and default value for Objective.
  • Reversible Stabilization and Reverse Stabilization: To apply an effect to a region (including a moving object) in the scene: Use one instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect set to Reversible Stabilization to hold the subject steady, apply an effect (e.g., Paint, Liquify) following this instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect, and then duplicate the Warp Stabilizer effect and place it on the bottom of the effect stack, choosing Reverse Stabilization for this second instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect. (If you applied the Warp Stabilizer effect again rather than duplicating, the analysis would need to be repeated.) The end result will be an unstabilized clip with tracked effects.
  • Apply Motion to Target / Apply Motion to Target Over Original: To composite a layer into a shaky scene, use a single instance of the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect set to one of these two objectives and choose a layer in the Target Layer menu. Use the No Motion option. If you don’t use the Over Original option, the original shaky layer is not rendered; this is useful if you were only using the original shaky layer as a reference for the motion of the new layer.

Note that these new options benefit greatly from the new ability to delete track points and thereby focus the tracker/stabilizer on a specific region or object in the scene. For example, if you want to attach a layer or effect to a person’s face in the foreground, deleting track points in the background can improve the results.

After Effects, Region of Interest