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After Effects - Learn Motion Graphic Design

Text to follow live action

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 28 of 53

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Hey there, in this video we're going to look at getting text to follow some live action. In an earlier video, when we had our room inside of our Dublin office we put kind of 3D type sitting statically within a live action footage. That's one way of doing it. What we're going to do now is like more than stranger than fiction, and start when it's going to move, and attach itself to a point. So what we're going to do is, we're going to get the skate boarder, and we're going to see if we can get the text to follow parts of his foot so that the text can follows along. So, let's bring it in.

Let's go to-- we're going to bring in one called 'Track Motion'. We're going to make a 'Comp' from it. Then we're going to go to our 'Tracker Window', and we're going to go to one that says 'Track Motion'. What happens is, you get this little tracker point here. We're just going to use one in this case. We're going to chase this foot here because it moves up and down, it's going to be cool to follow the text with it.

Now what we don't want to do is, we want to try and follow something that is in the shot the whole time, and that we can see, and it's got to be a reasonably good bit of contrast. It's always easier to follow. If you're following his knee here, it's all kind of same color as the background, it will be quite tough. This wheel here might be good, this little spot here in the wheel. We're going to use his foot. You can play around with different stuff on your footage. It can be a little hard to do. So let's work through to things that make it work better.

First up, we need to go through and-- to get a good tracking, you need quality video. If you got a fuzzy video, it's going to be a pretty hard. So if you've got-- sorry, if you've got access to HD video use that, don't use the lower res stuff, even if you're going to put it later on to a lower res, try and find the original stuff. Make sure as well, when you're working on it, when you're back here, just make sure you're on 'Full' rather than this 'Third', just means that it's going to be a nicer quality to try and follow.

I'm going to put it to high, 'Full'. He's going to be 'Full' as well. Next thing we need to do is, we need to make these little targets lock on to a point. Now, it's quite far away, so I'm going to zoom in. I use my trackable wheel thing on my mouse but you can use the shortcuts, you can either use this one here, or you can hold 'Command +', or 'Control +' on a PC.

Now what we want to do is, move these targets. So what I need to do is, I need to drag it this way. Now, if I drag the center of it, it just drags the center. That's not what I want. I want all three bits, there's two rectangles in the center. So what you do is, see my cursor? When I hover above, that's bad. Black arrow is good. You can drag anywhere, as long as it's near the black arrow, that icon. That's bad. That's bad. This is good. We drag it over here. We're going to have to slide along. And the easiest way to slide things along-- you can click, hold, and drag if you want, or you hold down space bar on your keyboard.

Watch it, if I hold space bar, I can click, I'm holding space bar, that's it. Now if I click and drag my mouse, I can move around. That's often what I do. So I'm going to drag it using that good method. I've practiced this one before, and I had a couple of gos at it. You will have to give it-- if you have your own footage, you'll have to give it a couple of gos as well. Find a good track point. I found this one pretty good.

Next thing we need to do is-- the target is where it's following, and these little boxes tell it where to look. Now, we're going to be-- takes a bit more system, but it's okay. You want to say, look in this joint, over here, for the track point, because what it's going to do is, this leg's going to move up and it's going to try and track it through the square here. So I'm going to make it very big. How big can you make it? Just make it that sort of size. You might have to play around with this.

Next bit is, going through and tracking. So next thing I want to do is-- you can hit this 'Play' button, watch this, 'Play' and it's going to go through your footage and depending on how fast your computer is, yours might be going a lot faster than mine, mine is stressed out to the max. So, it's going, it's going And what will happen is, it will lose it’s-- can you see it's lost a little bit there, so it's automatically trying to track it. This might work for you, give it a go. Back on track, there it is. Come on. And it's going to definitely lose it. It's back. Kind of go on. It's going to lose it here, watch this. Oops! Don't hit space bar while you're doing it. Continue playing. It's going to lose it when it gets to behind the skate board, because it loses behind, watch this. Whoops! Doesn't know where it goes. And it gets lost, then it starts tracking the board and it's completely lost the foot.

So what happens when it's doing this tracking, this kind of automatic tracking? I never use automatic, it always ends up badly. So I'm going to 'Edit'. 'Undo Track Motion'. And I'm going to go 'Edit' again. 'Undo Track Motion', so back to the beginning. So, it's always better-- for some reason, if you click it frame by frame, it gives you time to catch up. And you can adjust it if it gets lost. So watch this, click, click… It's doing good, but this is the boring bit. Depending on how long your footage is you're going to have to go track, and just keep an eye on it. It will track definitely better than when it was doing by itself. Can you see it's lost a little bit there? I'm going to zoom in a little bit more. I'm going to drag it down. And you just go through frame by frame and just make sure it doesn't get lost.

When it does, you put it back on track. Back on track. If you can't track it and there's nothing automatically tracking about it you can do this frame by frame. Say you've got the fuzzy video that just won't track anything, you could spend your whole day just tracking one point. And every time, moving it, adjusting, and moving, adjusting. If it's still not working, drag this edge. It's almost tracking it, but not quite. Drag these rectangles out a bit bigger. Just keep going through. I'm going to keep going. Grab the lace, so I'm going to move him up there. It's got to get interesting when the board gets behind, sorry, when the shoe lace gets behind. You see, I kind of let it go a little bit, I'm okay with that because it's a nice smooth action. And we're tracking with a big block of text so it's not going to be very obvious, it's not pin perfect.

As long as it's following a nice smooth line, it's more what I want. Click, click, click. If you're really tempted to just smash away at this button clickety, click, click, that will work to a point but it doesn't get enough time to reanalyze the footage, so it's often better just to be a bit patient. This is going to be kind of tricky. It's going to lose him here. Now it's a guessing game. Where is the shoe lace? I don't know, neither do you know. I know a little bit, I can guess better than the computer can. I'm kind of just moving it around. And remember, when I'm dragging it, I'm avoiding these things. I'm just dragging anywhere in here. I feel like it's there now.

What we'll do now is power our videos again, we'll get this just to speed up double time. So you'll see me adjusting and fiddling. All right, ready, set, go fast forward. All right, I'm back. So I tracked it all the way through. You saw me in fast forward, I'm going to zoom out now until the last little bit there. But that is it, now to track it-- I'm going to hit 'Save'. And what we need to do now is a couple of things, you might get lost here. You might have hit the tracking points, and you're like "Oh, I lost them, they all disappeared." Haven't gone, what's happened is, you've gone back to that composition where we normally are. You can see, here's our video, but none of the track points. You might have jumped out of this, this is kind of—

We're inside the video now, doing the track points and they have been here, so they disappear. Jump back out into here. We've done this, but next thing we need to do is we need to get something to follow it. Now what we could do, or what we can’t do at least is, we can't grab the type tool, type out something and say, you follow the track point. Strangely, what we need to do is create this container that follows it around, and then we can get the text to follow the container. Strange, yes.

So what we need to do is create something called a 'null'. So a 'Null Object' is here. A 'Null Object' is a total discontainer. It doesn't print, it doesn't have any values other than-- it can follow a track point. And we can get the text to follow the 'null'. It will follow along. So let's go 'Null Object', and we got this thing called 'Null Object'. Then what we want to say is, down here, where it says 'Edit Target' where it says 'Null', we click 'OK'. Now what we're going to do is go back to 'Composition'. And what you'll see now is I'm null, not following it at all. So we're going to go back in here. We're going to click not null, click on this. We're going to hit 'Edit Target', 'Null', click 'OK'. Click 'Apply', don't forget to click that. All right? Let's click 'OK', and now, our little 'null' should follow.

I like to pretend I do these things like mistakes, so that you-- just in case you do. But really, I just make mistakes too. So you can see now, our little null object. If you drag it back and forth, follows along. So, that's not very helpful because it doesn't actually do anything. We need to get some type to follow along. You can do anything, you can get a rectangle to follow it along. You can get some type, I'm going to get some type. I'm going to click once. Go again to type box. And I'm going to put in 'Skater'. You'll notice that if I select my text-- I've got mine right aligned. Left aligned, right aligned. I don't want it right aligned just because I want a little bit of graphic thing. Hey, it's gone, where is it gone?

So I'm going to do 'Skater'. And it's going to be my name. I'm going to have 'Scott'. Actually what I might do is-- you totally don't have to worry so much about this, I'm spending far too long doing it. I'm going to put that down to '300', that up to a nice beefy '900', get that one up. Font size up a little bit higher. And that one can be, we'll do '500', just bigger. Cool, with that all selected, I'm going to play around with the space between the lines because there's a bit too many gaps in here, so what I'm going to do is go down to 'Paragraph', actually 'Character', and this thing here, set to 'Auto'. I'm going to drop this down to something nice. It's the top line, all right. It's this one here, I'm going to highlight this one and change this one to be separate. This is the leveling, or the space between lines.

You could-- probably, if I was doing this I'd go off and make this in Illustrator because I'm faster with it. But you can use After Effects, no problem. It's a long damn thing. The overall size of this thing is too big so I'm go to go down here and shrink it down. 'Transform', 'Scale', click it now. So it fits within my screen a bit. Caps Lock, go away. So all this stuff follow along, I'm going to rotate it a little bit. I'll use the rotation tool, you'll probably do this, watch… you click to rotate it, and it is the video behind it. So you just got to be very careful, click on the word 'Skater' and actually click and drag in this little area here. If you don't, drags the back thing.

So, let's get back to him. It's the right kind of angle for me. I'm at the foot of my video, and I'm going to have it, so it follows its foot there. I'm least impressed with my amazing bit of text now, but anyway… So, now we need to get you to follow the null object. That's really easy to do. So, all you say is, you--There's this thing called 'Parent' here. If you can't see it, toggle this thing. You can actually see 'Parent' in both. And the 'Skater' here, go to 'None'. And I want it to follow-- instead of following 'nothing', I want it to follow 'Null1'. You'll try it out, he's your parent, so-- the 'Skater' thing is, it is a child to this parent, the null object, it's going to follow him around.

So hopefully now, hit 'space bar', fingers crossed. Whoosh! If this ever happens to you, it means your machine is really stressed out. So, I'm going to hit 'Save'. Hope it doesn't crash. And it's because my machine is trying to record a live video on a really bad hard drive. Yours would hopefully be a little more climactic rather than me, just dragging mine along. Oops, it's back. You see out here, mine's dying, not real time. Will it do the second time around? Ooh, it's getting better. Awesome! It follows.

What I might have to do is just lower the quality down, just so it plays a bit smoothly now. And that's how you track a point. We could animate this type now, we know it's got static type but you could animate the type before you get it to track along. Let's hit 'Save'.

That my friends is how you track a point using camera tracker. Now, just to remember, if yours is going horribly wrong make sure you're using a high res video, the best you can find, whatever it was captured in. Make sure you're on 'Full' in terms of the resolution of here. The other thing you can do is to make sure your targets are nice and big. What we had, ours was quite small. Well, reasonably big, you can make yours even bigger. And the other thing is for this to go frame by frame. Frame by frame, he has to move it around. Remember, if you lose your tracking it probably means you've jumped into here and you've lost it, but you can drop back into that.

All right, see you in the next video.