After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #8

Setting up the motion tracker/stabilizer.

Earlier this year we released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We are releasing these videos one per month here on PVC; they are also being made available on Focal Press’ web site – make sure you visit their After Effects micro-site for more related freebies.

This tutorial will help you get started with setting up the motion tracker and stabilizer built into After Effects. Although this video uses AE CS4, the tracker’s controls have been largely unchanged over the last several versions, so this will also be of use to those using other recent vintages of AE. The tracker in AE is much-maligned (and AE CS4 now comes bundled with mocha for After Effects as an alternative), but once you know the secrets of how the track points work and how to set its options, it works fine for a large variety of shots.

(Note: For those who are hearing-impaired, has added Closed Captioning to these tutorials. They are available here. We are also in the process of creating video training for all of the After Effects Apprentice lessons; they will also appear on If you do not have a subscription, click here for a free 7-day pass.)

After Effects Apprentice was designed for students looking to learn After Effects from scratch, as well as those who do not use AE full time (such as editors or web designers). It starts gently with an introduction to keyframing, and progresses through the important features (such as masks, mattes, effects, text, audio, 3D space, shape layers, expressions, parenting, and building advanced hierarchies of compositions) until you end up keying, stabilizing, and compositing a shot in high def. The second edition has been fully revamped for After Effects CS4, and includes integration with Photoshop CS4 Extended and Flash Professional CS4.

The content contained in After Effects Apprentice – as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition – are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.

Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. They were among the original users of CoSA (now Adobe) After Effects, and have written the numerous books including “Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects” and “After Effects Apprentice” both published by Focal Press. Both Chris and Trish have backgrounds as musicians, and are currently fascinated with exploring fine art and mixed media in addition to their normal commercial design work. They have recently relocated from Los Angeles to the mountains near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.