AE doesn't let you move or track a mesh warp onto an item inside of a shot easily. It won't even work on an adjustment layer (OR maybe I'm doing something wrong?). The best workaround I've seen is this:
But it is a lot of steps and it really is a work around and not a straight forward solution that can be relied upon 100% of the time.
I was hoping for more instant gratification with perhaps a plug-in like this:
The problem is that one costs $600. Anyone heard of one that does the same for less, or FREE?
I'm also open to new methods, but please don't recommend something you haven't already tested yourself.
Complex technology, complex pricing model. RE:Flex is pretty much the only warping/ morphing plug-in left on the planet (including for most of the other compositing apps, not just AE), unfortunately, so options are limited. Inside AE, of course Liquify and the Puppet tool as wel las all the other distortion tools. FreeForm is certainly a viable option for some tasks, but since it suffers the usual limitation of any AE 3D-ish plug-in being a 2D layer with a custom 3D space, tweaking it to match existing footage is pretty tricky. That being so, the next logical step are 3D programs with UV mapping, deformers, bones and their own set of morphing...