Video Copilot Motion Tracking

Video Copilot After Effects Basic Training 05: Motion Tracking

Continuing on from trying to learn more for a possible Junior VFX Artist job, I looked at this tutorial on video co-pilot. This tutorial was a good introduction into using the motion tracking controls within After Effects. It also showed me how to use null layers for containing tracking data and how to parent effects to this.

This could be cool for tracking a fantasy character’s head and then adding dynamic hair e.g. made of fire, particles etc. Animate the dynamics in Maya to follow the motion trail of the character and then parent to a null object containing tracking data in After Effects? Or maybe it would make more sense to do that the other way around. Is it possible to bring tracking data from After Effects into Maya to create the motion path for you? I guess that would be motion capture, which I haven’t looked into yet.

Images from  and

My notes from tutorial:

Stabilize the footage. Motion track in the layer view. Open the tracker controls. The tracking squares are made up of an inner tracking point and an outer search area. Place on an area of high contrast. Tracking rotation creates a second track point/square.

Screen Shot 05-24-16 at 09.44 AM

Choose track motion and perspective corner pin. You can align the tracking squares to an off-target area of contrast but move the corner of your shape to e.g. the corner of the sign you’re tracking. Track the area, edit motion target to layer you want to apply tracking data to and apply. You can precompose a layer into a composition if you want to add more details (e.g. after motion tracking).

You can apply your raw tracking data to a null object. Null objects can be used to contain other data. Create new layers e.g. solid and text layers and then shift select these layers and use the parenting pick whip to parent them under your null object. If you make an effect, you can also parent this with the pick whip. The pick whip is revealed for effects by alt clicking the effect stopwatch.

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