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How to Track After Effects

How to Track After Effects

To track After Effects, use the Track Motion feature in the program. This feature allows you to track and follow objects or elements in your compositions.

When using After Effects, it is essential to have the ability to track certain elements within your compositions. Tracking allows you to follow objects as they move or change position. By tracking objects, you can create realistic visual effects or add other elements to your composition seamlessly.

However, tracking in After Effects can be a complex process if you are not familiar with the correct techniques and tools. We will guide you on how to track After Effects accurately using the Track Motion feature. This feature enables smooth tracking of objects by analyzing their movement and adjusting accordingly. With proper tracking, you can unleash your creativity and elevate the visual impact of your compositions in After Effects.

Different Types Of Tracking Techniques

Learn how to track After Effects more efficiently with different types of tracking techniques. Improve your workflow and achieve more accurate results.

Motion tracking:

  • Motion tracking is a technique used to track the movement of an object or element within a video or animation.
  • It involves analyzing the movement of pixels in a frame-by-frame basis to determine the motion path and position of the tracked object.
  • This technique is commonly used in visual effects and motion graphics to seamlessly integrate computer-generated elements into live-action footage.
  • Motion tracking can be used to apply 2D or 3D elements onto moving objects, track camera movements, or stabilize shaky footage.
  • It is done by using specialized software like Adobe After Effects or third-party plugins.

Point tracking:

  • Point tracking, also known as feature tracking or 2D tracking, is a technique used to track specific points or features within a video.
  • It involves identifying and tracking points of interest, such as corners or edges, frame by frame.
  • Point tracking is used when the entire object or scene does not need to be tracked, but rather specific elements within it.
  • This technique is commonly used for tasks like motion analysis, object recognition, or adding visual effects to specific areas.
  • Point tracking can be done manually by selecting and tracking points using software or automatically using computer vision algorithms.

Planar tracking:

  • Planar tracking is a technique used to track flat or planar surfaces within a video or animation.
  • It involves tracking the movement, rotation, scale, and perspective distortion of a planar surface over time.
  • Planar tracking is more advanced than traditional point tracking as it allows for the tracking of larger areas or entire scenes.
  • This technique is commonly used for tasks like screen replacement, adding or removing objects, or inserting graphics onto flat surfaces.
  • Planar tracking is typically done using specialized software that utilizes algorithms to track the planar surface accurately.

Motion tracking analyzes the movement of objects, point tracking focuses on specific points of interest, and planar tracking tracks larger planar surfaces. These different types of tracking techniques offer a range of options for professionals working with After Effects to achieve impressive visual effects and seamless integration of elements into videos or animations.

How to Track After Effects


Setting Up Your Composition And Footage

Learn how to track your footage in After Effects with this easy-to-follow guide. Discover the steps to set up your composition and achieve seamless tracking for impressive visual effects. Get started today and take your project to the next level!

Creating your composition and importing the footage are essential steps in tracking After Effects. Let’s dive into each process in detail:

Importing Footage:

  • Start by launching After Effects and opening your project.
  • Click on the “File” menu and select “Import” to locate and import the footage you want to track.
  • Choose the file from your computer and click on “Open” to bring it into After Effects.
  • Once imported, you can drag and drop the footage into your project panel for easy access.

Creating A New Composition:

  • To create a new composition, go to the “Composition” menu and select “New Composition.”
  • Alternatively, you can use the shortcut “Ctrl + N” (Windows) or “Cmd + N” (Mac).
  • Set the desired settings for your composition, including the width, height, duration, frame rate, and pixel aspect ratio.
  • Naming your composition is important for organization – give it a meaningful name that reflects its content.
  • Click on the “OK” button to create your composition.

Adjusting Composition Settings:

  • If you need to make changes to your composition settings after creating it, right-click on the composition in the project panel and select “Composition Settings.”
  • Here, you can modify dimensions, duration, frame rate, and other attributes as needed.
  • Remember to consider the requirements of your footage and output settings to ensure compatibility.

Importing Multiple Footage Files:

  • You can import multiple footage files at once by holding the “Ctrl” key (Windows) or “Cmd” key (Mac) while selecting the files to import.
  • After Effects will create separate layers for each imported file in the project panel.

Organizing Your Footage:

  • To keep your project organized, create folders in the project panel and assign relevant names to group your footage layers.
  • Simply right-click in the project panel, choose “New Folder,” and name it accordingly.
  • Drag and drop the footage layers into their respective folders for better organization.

Preparing For Tracking:

  • Before proceeding with tracking, ensure that your composition and footage are ready.
  • Double-check that the composition settings match your desired output.
  • Scrub through the footage to identify the areas for tracking, noting any specific frames or key moments.
  • By preparing your composition and footage properly, you’ll be well-equipped to track motion accurately in After Effects.

Now that you have set up your composition and imported your footage, it’s time to move on to the next step of tracking in After Effects.

Applying The Tracking Tool

Learn how to effectively track objects and motion in After Effects using the Tracking Tool. This tool allows you to seamlessly integrate graphics and effects into your videos with precision and accuracy. Master the art of tracking and take your motion graphics to the next level.

Selecting The Appropriate Tracking Tool

When it comes to applying the tracking tool in After Effects, choosing the right tool for the job is crucial. Here are some options to consider:

  • Point Tracker: This tool is perfect for tracking a single point in your footage. It can be used for simple tasks like stabilizing shaky footage or attaching an object to a moving element in the scene. Just click on the point you want to track, and the point tracker will do the rest.
  • Perspective Tracker: If you’re dealing with footage that has a changing perspective, the perspective tracker is your go-to tool. It calculates the camera’s movement and adjusts the tracking accordingly, allowing you to apply effects that follow the scene’s perspective accurately.
  • Planar Tracker: When you need to track complex shapes or objects, the planar tracker is your best bet. It can track not just a single point, but an entire surface or region. This tool is particularly useful for tracking screens, signs, or faces in your footage.
  • Mask Tracker: If you need to track a specific area or shape for masking purposes, the mask tracker is the tool for you. It allows you to create and manipulate masks that follow the tracked movement accurately.

Remember, the choice of tracking tool depends on the nature of your footage and the effect you want to achieve. Experiment with different tracking tools to find the one that works best for your specific needs.

Adjusting Tracking Settings

Once you’ve selected the appropriate tracking tool, it’s essential to fine-tune the tracking settings to ensure accurate results. Here’s how you can adjust the tracking settings:

  • Track Type: Select the appropriate track type based on the movement in your footage. You can choose between position, scale, rotation, perspective, and shear. This ensures that the tracking data is applied correctly to the desired aspect of your scene.
  • Search Area: Adjust the search area to define the region where the tracker looks for the tracked feature. A larger search area provides more flexibility but may also slow down the tracking process. Find the right balance based on your footage’s complexity.
  • Tracking Quality: Set the tracking quality to determine the level of accuracy for tracking. Higher quality settings may require more computational power and time but can result in more precise tracking results.
  • Track Points: If applicable, select the points you want to track for the chosen tracking tool. Modify the tracking points’ position and size to cover the desired area accurately.
  • Track Forward and Backward: Consider enabling both forward and backward tracking if your footage includes rapid camera movements or occlusions. This helps the tracker analyze the motion in both temporal directions to improve tracking accuracy.

By adjusting these tracking settings, you can refine and optimize the tracking process in After Effects, ensuring that your tracked elements seamlessly integrate into your footage.

Remember, different situations may require different settings, so feel free to experiment and tweak the parameters until you achieve the desired tracking result.

Manual Tracking

Learn how to track after effects manually with these easy steps. Gain complete control over your footage by mastering the art of manual tracking.

Tracking is a crucial aspect of motion graphics and visual effects work. It helps to seamlessly integrate CGI elements into live-action footage. In the process of manual tracking, you can achieve precise tracking results by manually placing track points on specific features of the footage and keyframing their position.

Let’s explore how to track after effects manually using track points and keyframing.

Using Track Points

Tracking points are used to track specific areas of a video clip and analyze their movement. By placing track points on high-contrast features or unique patterns in the footage, you can manually track these points and use their position data in your animation or effects workflow.

Here’s how to use track points in manual tracking:

  • Identify trackable features: Look for areas of the footage that have clear and distinguishable features, such as edges, corners, or patterns that stand out.
  • Add track points: In After Effects, go to the tracking panel and select “Track Motion.” Then, select the area where you want to add track points by clicking and dragging on the footage.
  • Adjust track points: Fine-tune the position and size of the track points so that they accurately represent the feature you’re tracking.
  • Begin tracking: Click on the “Track Forward” button to start the tracking process. After Effects will analyze the movement of the track points over time.
  • Review and adjust: Once the tracking is complete, review the track points’ position to ensure that they accurately follow the feature’s movement. If needed, make manual adjustments to correct any errors.

By using track points, you can manually track specific areas of your footage and gather valuable position data to create realistic motion graphics or visual effects.

Keyframing Manually

Keyframing is an animation technique used to define specific values at different points in time. In the context of manual tracking in After Effects, keyframing is used to manually adjust the position of track points to match the movement of the tracked feature.

Here’s how to keyframe manually during the tracking process:

  • Analyze the footage: Before keyframing, carefully observe the movement of the tracked feature in the footage to determine the appropriate adjustments needed.
  • Select track points: Choose the track points that require manual adjustments.
  • Access keyframes: In the timeline panel, you can find the position keyframes of the selected track points. Each keyframe represents the position of the track point at a specific point in time.
  • Make adjustments: Move the keyframes within the timeline to adjust the track point’s position, ensuring that it accurately follows the feature’s movement throughout the clip.
  • Preview and refine: Play back the clip to see the results of the manual adjustments. If necessary, fine-tune the keyframes until the track point perfectly matches the feature’s movement.

By keyframing manually, you have precise control over the position of track points, enabling you to achieve accurate tracking results that seamlessly blend your CGI elements with the live-action footage.

In After Effects involves using track points and keyframing to ensure that your visual effects seamlessly integrate with the footage. By following the steps above, you can create engaging and realistic motion graphics that captivate your audience.

Automatic Tracking

Track After Effects automatically with ease using the latest technology. Simplify your workflow and save time by letting the software do the tracking for you.

Letting The Software Analyze The Footage:

  • Is a valuable feature in After Effects that allows you to let the software analyze the footage and track specific elements within it. It saves both time and effort, as manual tracking can be a tedious process. Here’s how you can make the most of automatic tracking:
  • Import the footage into After Effects and select the layer you want to track.
  • Right-click on the layer and choose “Track Motion” from the context menu.
  • This will open the Track Motion panel, where you can adjust various settings for the tracking process.
  • Start by selecting the feature you want to track. This could be a point, a shape, or a specific color.
  • After selecting the feature, the software will analyze the footage and create tracking data.
  • You can preview the tracking result by clicking on the play button in the Track Motion panel.
  • If the tracking is not accurate enough, you can adjust the settings to improve the result.
  • For example, you can increase the search area to provide the software with more information to track.
  • You can also refine the tracking by adjusting the tracking point size or applying various smoothing techniques.
  • Once you are satisfied with the tracking result, you can apply it to other elements in your composition.
  • This allows you to create impressive visual effects, such as attaching text or graphics to moving objects in the footage.

Automatic tracking in After Effects simplifies the process of tracking elements within your footage. By utilizing this feature and following the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to achieve accurate and seamless tracking results.

Refining The Tracking Data

Track After Effects with precision by refining the tracking data. Improve accuracy and achieve seamless motion tracking in your projects using effective techniques. Master the art of tracking to enhance your visual effects and create professional-grade animations effortlessly.

Tracking after-effects can be a challenging process, but refining the tracking data is where the real magic happens. This step is crucial for achieving accurate results and ensuring a seamless visual experience. In this section, we will explore two essential techniques for refining the tracking data: using stabilization techniques and cleaning up tracking errors.

Using Stabilization Techniques:

To enhance the quality of your tracking results and create smoother animations, consider using stabilization techniques. These techniques help reduce unwanted movements and create a more consistent visual experience. Here are some popular stabilization techniques to refine your tracking data:

  • Anchor Point Stabilization: By stabilizing the anchor point, you can eliminate unnecessary movement and ensure that it remains fixed in the desired position throughout the animation.
  • Position Smoothing: Applying position smoothing techniques can help reduce sudden jumps or jerky movements. Utilize techniques like temporal smoothing or frame blending to create fluid motion between keyframes.
  • Motion Tracking Smoothing: When dealing with moving objects, motion tracking smoothing techniques can be handy. These techniques analyze the tracked movement over time, allowing you to smooth out any erratic motion and create a more natural-looking animation.
  • Rotation and Scale Stabilization: To avoid any unnecessary rotation or scaling discrepancies, stabilization techniques can be applied to maintain consistent rotation and scale across frames.

Using these stabilization techniques will refine your tracking data and elevate the overall quality of your visual effects.

Cleaning Up Tracking Errors:

Even with meticulous tracking, there can still be instances of tracking errors that need to be addressed. Cleaning up these errors is essential to achieve seamless integration between the tracked object and the desired visual effects. Here are some techniques to help you clean up tracking errors effectively:

  • Manual Adjustments: Review the tracking data and make manual adjustments when necessary. This can involve manually moving keyframes or adjusting the tracking path to ensure accurate positioning of the tracked object.
  • Spacial Interpolation: In cases where the tracking data produces unrealistic or jagged movements, applying spacial interpolation can help smooth out the motion and create more natural transitions.
  • Masking and Rotoscoping: Sometimes, tracking errors may result from complex foreground elements or occlusions. In such cases, using masking and rotoscoping techniques can help isolate these elements, allowing for precise tracking and error correction.
  • Refining with Keyframes: Refining your tracking data can also involve adding or modifying keyframes to achieve the desired animation. By carefully adjusting these keyframes, you can enhance the accuracy of your motion tracking and eliminate unwanted errors.

By following these techniques, you can refine your tracking data and optimize the overall visual quality of your project.

With these effective techniques for refining tracking data, you can ensure accurate and seamless integration of your tracked objects, resulting in visually stunning animations and effects. Keep in mind that experimentation and practice are key to mastering these techniques, so don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your tracking skills.

Happy tracking!

Adding Effects To Tracked Elements

Learn how to add effects to tracked elements in After Effects effortlessly with these step-by-step instructions. Enhance your project with dynamic effects by accurately tracking objects and applying creative visual enhancements. Master the art of tracking and take your designs to the next level.

Applying Visual Effects To Tracked Objects

In the world of visual effects, tracking plays a crucial role in seamlessly integrating elements into a scene. Once you have successfully tracked an object or a specific area in your footage, it’s time to take it a step further.

By adding effects to your tracked elements, you can enhance the visual impact of your composition and create stunning visuals. In this section, we will explore different techniques to apply visual effects to tracked objects. Let’s dive in:

  • Matching lighting and color: To ensure that your tracked elements blend naturally into the scene, it’s essential to match the lighting and color accurately. Adjust the brightness, saturation, and contrast levels of the effects you apply to make them cohesive with the surrounding environment.
  • Applying motion blur: One way to enhance the realism of your effects is by adding motion blur. By mimicking the motion blur present in the original footage, you can make your tracked elements look like they belong in the scene. Experiment with the amount and direction of motion blur to achieve the desired effect.
  • Creating depth of field: Depth of field can help simulate the focus and blur that occurs naturally in a camera lens. By applying depth of field to your tracked objects, you can create a more cinematic and three-dimensional look. Adjust the focus distance and aperture settings to control the level of blurring.
  • Adding particle effects: Particle effects can bring life and dynamism to your tracked elements. Whether it’s sparks, smoke, dust, or any other particle system, carefully place and integrate them within the scene to add an extra layer of visual interest. Experiment with different parameters such as size, speed, and behavior to create the desired effect.
  • Animating tracked objects: Tracking not only allows you to integrate static elements but also enables you to animate them convincingly. Utilize the tracking data to animate your objects, whether it’s a simple rotation or a complex path. This animation can further enhance the realism and immersion of your composition.

Remember, the key to successfully applying effects to tracked objects lies in the attention to detail and the seamless integration with the original footage. Experimentation and practice will help you achieve captivating results that enhance the overall visual impact of your composition.

So, let your creativity flow and make your tracked elements shine!

Common Tracking Problems And Solutions

Easily overcome common tracking problems with effective solutions and streamline your After Effects workflow for accurate results. Discover how to track motion, objects, and camera movements without any hassle.

If you have ever worked with After Effects, you know that tracking can sometimes be a challenging process. But worry not! In this section, we will discuss some of the most common tracking problems and provide effective solutions to overcome them.

So, let’s dive right in!

Dealing With Shaky Footage:

Shaky footage can significantly hinder the tracking process, making it difficult to accurately track your desired object. Here are some solutions to overcome this problem:

  • Stabilize the footage using the built-in stabilization tools in After Effects. This will help reduce the shakiness and provide a smoother tracking experience.
  • Adjust the track parameters to compensate for the shakiness. Tweak the tracking settings, such as search area and feature size, to better capture the movement.
  • If the footage is extremely shaky, consider using third-party plugins or software that specialize in stabilizing shaky footage. This can provide more advanced stabilization options and better results.

Tracking Reflective Surfaces:

Tracking reflective surfaces can be a tricky task since the reflections can distort the appearance of the tracked object. Here are some solutions to improve tracking on reflective surfaces:

  • Use tracking markers or high-contrast objects to track instead of relying solely on the reflective surface. These markers can provide better tracking points and reduce the impact of reflections.
  • Adjust the lighting conditions to minimize the reflections. By controlling the sources and angles of light, you can reduce the reflection intensity and improve tracking accuracy.
  • Consider using specialized tracking techniques, such as planar tracking. This technique helps to track flat surfaces, including reflective ones, by analyzing the overall plane instead of individual points.

Dealing with shaky footage and tracking reflective surfaces are two common challenges when working with After Effects. However, with the right techniques and tools, you can overcome these problems and achieve accurate tracking results. Experiment with different solutions and settings to find the best approach for your specific project.

Happy tracking!

Tips For Improving Tracking Accuracy

Improve the tracking accuracy of your After Effects projects with these helpful tips. Learn how to enhance tracking results for smoother and more precise motion tracking in your animations.

Shooting Footage With Tracking In Mind:

  • When shooting footage with the intention of tracking certain elements, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind. By following these tips, you can greatly improve the accuracy of your tracking results:
  • Use a tripod or stabilizer: Keeping your camera steady is crucial for accurate tracking. By using a tripod or a stabilizer, you can minimize camera shake and ensure smooth footage.
  • Good lighting conditions: Adequate lighting is essential for tracking. Avoid shooting in high-contrast or low-light situations, as these can cause difficulties in accurately tracking objects.
  • Choose a high-quality camera: Investing in a good camera can make a significant difference in tracking accuracy. Higher-resolution cameras often provide better tracking results.
  • Shoot at a high frame rate: Higher frame rates result in more data for the tracking algorithm to work with, leading to improved accuracy. Aim for a frame rate higher than 30fps if possible.
  • Shoot in a controlled environment: Minimize environmental variables by shooting in a controlled setting. This can include using a green screen or ensuring the background is consistent and free from distractions.
  • Utilize flat surfaces and tracking markers: Including flat surfaces or using additional tracking markers in your footage can greatly enhance tracking accuracy. These markers provide distinct reference points for the tracking algorithm to latch onto.
  • Capture multiple angles: Shooting from different angles can help improve the tracking process. By having multiple perspectives, you provide the algorithm with more information to accurately track the desired element.
  • Avoid motion blur: Motion blur can make it difficult for the tracking algorithm to identify and track objects accurately. To mitigate this, make sure your settings and camera setup minimize motion blur.
  • Maintain focus on tracked objects: Ensure that the objects you want to track remain in focus throughout the entire shot. This will aid in the tracking process and prevent loss of tracking accuracy.
  • Limit object occlusion: If possible, avoid objects occluding the tracked element during the shot. Occlusion can interrupt the tracking process, leading to less accurate results.

By following these guidelines when shooting footage with tracking in mind, you can greatly improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your tracking process. Remember to experiment with different settings and techniques to find what works best for your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Track After Effects

How Do You Track Effects In After Effects?

To track effects in After Effects, follow these steps: 1. Select the layer you want to track. 2. Go to the Tracker panel and click on the Track Motion button. 3. Place the tracker on a point in the footage that you want to track.

4. Adjust the tracking settings and hit the Analyze Forward button to start tracking.

How Do I Show Track Points In After Effects?

To show track points in After Effects, follow these steps: 1. Open After Effects and import your footage. 2. Select the layer you want to track. 3. Go to the Tracker panel and click on “Track Motion”. 4. Adjust the tracking settings and click on “Apply”.

5. Once the tracking is done, go to the Effects Controls panel and click on the “Show Track Points” checkbox. 6. The track points will now be visible on your footage.

Does Adobe After Effects Have Motion Tracking?

Yes, Adobe After Effects has motion tracking feature for precise tracking of movement.

What Is The Best Tracking Plugin For After Effects?

The best tracking plugin for After Effects is “Motion Tracker” due to its accuracy and ease of use.


To effectively track after effects, using the right tools and techniques is crucial. By implementing motion tracking, you can accurately analyze and capture movement within your videos. This allows you to add and manipulate elements with precision, enhancing the overall quality and visual appeal of your projects.

Furthermore, utilizing features like masking and keyframing can help fine-tune your tracking results and ensure seamless integration. When it comes to motion tracking, consistency is key. Ensuring that your tracking points are stable and reliable throughout the duration of your video is essential for achieving professional-grade results.

Additionally, practicing proper workflow organization and utilizing available resources such as tutorials and forums can greatly assist in your tracking endeavors. By following these steps and continually refining your skills, you can become proficient in tracking after effects. With the right tools and techniques in your arsenal, you’ll be able to add impressive visual effects to your projects and captivate your audience.

So, why wait? Start exploring the exciting world of after effects tracking today and elevate your video editing capabilities.