7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 9, 2010 7:55 PM by OsakaWebbie

    Stabilize Motion: new track point?

    OsakaWebbie Level 1

      I often like to pan across landscapes, but I always get some jerkiness in the movement of the pan - I don't know whether to blame my tripod or my arm.  AE is great for motion tracking and stabilization, and I can do it for pans by doing Stabilize Motion first (which applies its results to the Anchor Point property) and then using much more sparse Position keyframes to recreate smoother panning motion.  But what if the pan is more than the width of the frame, or even several times that wide?  In the "analysis" step, when the original track point is about to run off the edge of the frame, I need a way to "start over" with a new track point near the other edge.  I tried dragging the track point over there, but it is still "connected", so the tracking gradually moves the width of the frame and then zips over to the other side in one frame!  How do I "break the link" and tell AE that starting at this frame I have a new point instead of the continuation of the same one?

        • 1. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
          Paul Tuersley Level 4

          When you reach the frame where you want to offset your track point, place your cursor inside the inner search box (but not over the center cross) and hold down the alt key. This will cause the cursor to switch to a small white arrow and move icon. Keep the alt key down and drag the tracker to where you want to continue tracking from. This will offset the search boxes but leave the attach point (the cross) where it was, so you won't get a jump in the resulting track.

          • 2. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
            OsakaWebbie Level 1

            Thank you!  There are so many things for which one holds down the Alt key, or Ctrl, or Shift, or Alt-Ctrl, or... I keep thinking the Help will help me, but I can never find what I'm looking for - I guess I don't know what terms to search for.

            • 3. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

              Here is the page in Help that tells how to do what Paul described:

              "Adjust the track point"

               

              You say that you don't know what to search for. Here's some advice: When you're working with complex software that is the basis of your professional work, consider reading the relevant sections of the documentation through, rather than searching when you encounter a problem. Then you will learn the terms as well as discovering features that you wouldn't have known to search for otherwise.

              • 4. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
                OsakaWebbie Level 1

                Thanks for the advice.  I had already read that page before asking you guys, but it assumes you already know what the "feature region", "search region", and "attach point" do - I had an idea about the feature and search regions, but I didn't understand what the attach point is for, and that page didn't explain under what circumstances they should be used separately, so I didn't realize that's what I wanted to do and glossed over that.  Yes, I do read sections of the documentation, but so often the technical terms are new to me - I have never worked with any other people in the video business nor had any actual training, and until recently I only had older versions of PPro and AE, which in my case (stuck using the Japanese versions because Adobe will refuse support if I install an English version on Japanese Windows) meant that the menus, labels in dialog boxes, popups, error messages, etc. were in Japanese.  Fortunately, from CS3 onward I have the option of having the interface in English - that has definitely helped speed up my learning curve, but I'm still new to the concepts and terms, especially in AE, since I tend to avoid using it unless there is something I really need that PPro doesn't do.

                 

                Video tutorials on the web are helpful, often for things they aren't actually teaching - they'll be going along explaining how to do something fancy, and in the process happen to mention what key they pressed to get some option to appear or something.  For example, I had done a little bit with expressions several months ago (following a specific tutorial at that time, too), and then more recently I wanted to do that again.  At first I couldn't even remember the term "expression" - I tried "equation" and "calculation" with no success, and finally remembered the correct term.  But although the expression reference is very extensive in the documentation, I couldn't remember how you get the expression spot to appear so you can type in it. I tried looking through the whole help section on expressions, to no avail - perhaps it was there but obscured by a term I don't know (like you have to be in something-or-other mode - the help likes to say that a lot, when I have no idea what that mode looks like or how you get in it).  Anyway, after about an hour looking for just that one little thing, I eventually found a video tutorial that was doing something fancy with expressions, and he off-handedly mentioned something like, "Next we Ctrl-click the stopwatch to..." Aha!  In a written tutorial, no one would probably bother mentioning a simple step like that, and I might not have even know what "stopwatch" meant (even though I click that little round thing to get keyframes all the time in both AE and PPro) if it weren't for the benefit of seeing him move his mouse to it.

                 

                I'm getting better at it, but it's slow - thanks for being patient with me!

                • 5. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                  > but it assumes you already know what the "feature region", "search region", and "attach point" do

                   

                  It assumes that you would have read the preceding section, "Motion tracking workflow" and "Motion tracking overview and resources", both of which define these terms and provide illustrations... and link to video tutorials.

                   

                   

                  > But although the expression reference is very extensive in the documentation, I couldn't remember how you get the expression spot to appear so you can type in it. I tried looking through the whole help section on expressions, to no avail - perhaps it was there but obscured by a term I don't know (like you have to be in something-or-other mode - the help likes to say that a lot, when I have no idea what that mode looks like or how you get in it).  Anyway, after about an hour looking for just that one little thing, I eventually found a video tutorial that was doing something fancy with expressions, and he off-handedly mentioned something like, "Next we Ctrl-click the stopwatch to..." Aha! In a written tutorial, no one would probably bother mentioning a simple step like that, and I might not have even know what "stopwatch" meant (even though I click that little round thing to get keyframes all the time in both AE and PPro) if it weren't for the benefit of seeing him move his mouse to it.

                   

                  Read this section: "Add, edit, and remove expressions", which does exactly what you're asking.

                   

                  I know that I can't expect everyone to read every page of the documentation, and I'm happy to point people to the right places. But I won't let people say that something is missing when it's not.

                   

                  If you spend a large amount of money on a piece of software and rely on it to do your work, it's worth spending some time starting at the beginning and reading your way through the information about how to use it. Don't just jump around, expecting each page to contain all of the information. It's a huge program, and there's an order to the book about it.

                  • 6. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
                    OsakaWebbie Level 1
                    It assumes that you would have read the preceding section, "Motion tracking workflow" and "Motion tracking overview and resources", both of which define these terms and provide illustrations... and link to video tutorials.

                    I missed that second page, but the workflow page was actually what I followed step-by-step that got me in trouble.  The discussion about offsetting the attach point in Step 4 didn't seem apply to me (I'm just trying to stabilize a single clip), so I kept it in the middle and went on.  The sentence I zoned in on was at the end of Step 7: "When the analysis begins to fail, return to the frame where tracking was still accurate and repeat steps 5 and 6: adjust and analyze."  Granted, now that I read it with hindsight, Step 5 never mentions the attach point, only the feature region.  But since in my case they are always together, I missed that subtle point and proceeded to move the whole bundle.

                    Read this section: "Add, edit, and remove expressions", which does exactly what you're asking.

                    See - my mind is like a sieve!  Not only did I not find that page when I was looking (I have no idea how I missed it, at least once I remembered the word "expression"), but I remembered it wrong when I wrote my previous post - I said "Ctrl-click" when it's really Alt-click.  Obviously I had it right when I was working on it, but that was several days ago, and a whirlwind of things has happened since then.

                    But I won't let people say that something is missing when it's not.

                    Sorry if I gave the impression that I thought it was actually missing - all I meant was that I couldn't find it.  Like you said, it's a huge program, and most of what it does is things whose concepts are way beyond me (animation, 3D stuff, 99% of the effects, etc.).

                    If you spend a large amount of money on a piece of software and rely on it to do your work, it's worth spending some time starting at the beginning and reading your way through the information about how to use it.

                    I did that with PPro - it and Encore are really what I "rely on to do my work" (at least my video work - I'm split between a huge variety of things, like database programming, web design, music and sound reinforcement, print media development, plus all the normal things that missionaries and pastor's wives might be expected to do).  Like I said, I only use AE when I have to, partially because it's so hard to go back and forth (I don't have Dynamic Link, and even if I did, I doubt my computer could handle it - I try to never even run the two programs at the same time) and partially because it's still so very confusing to me.  I really wish I had time to sit down with a good book on it, or read the help files in order and try out everything they say, or take a course.  But I simply don't.  It's not Adobe's fault; it's mine for taking on more responsibilities than I have time to do a good job on.  Believe me, I'm an Adobe fan - it's Microsoft that I complain about!

                     

                    Anyway, I hear you.  I probably shouldn't try using a program until I understand its concepts.  For the first several years that I owned it (version 6.0, which came as part of a bundle) I never used it at all because it seemed so scary (especially all in Japanese).  Then I got desperate to do something that only it could do, and only a newer version, so I upgraded to CS4 and braved the learning curve.  Now I am realizing that many other things that I always just did in PPro would have been better done in AE.  I'm getting there, but I may never get time to really study it.  Thanks for being willing to point me to the right page when I can't find it.

                     

                    Speaking of shortage of time, I should get back to editing...

                    • 7. Re: Stabilize Motion: new track point?
                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                      No problem. We'll keep helping. Just know that 98% of the time my way of helping will be to point you to a page that gives an answer that is already written.