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My tracking keyframes move when I connect them to a NULL layer

Explorer ,
Jul 14, 2020

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Hi guys... this has been driving me NUTS! - I'm a noob in AE but I've followed a bunch of tutorials to track an object. It took me hours as I had to manually keyframe a lot... but I finally had a path laid out... created a new NULL, I set the keyframes to work in the NULL layer and then used the pickwhip to connect the NULL to the object I wanted to move... but a whole bunch of the keyframes had inexplicably moved. Here's a video I did of my process:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dokdkyl4kdyv8dy/lost%20with%20keyframing.mp4?dl=0

 

You'll notice I'm clumsy - and I've found this weird way to even get back to viewing my tracking keyframes which can't be right either - so do please help - I'm at my wit's end!

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My tracking keyframes move when I connect them to a NULL layer

Explorer ,
Jul 14, 2020

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Hi guys... this has been driving me NUTS! - I'm a noob in AE but I've followed a bunch of tutorials to track an object. It took me hours as I had to manually keyframe a lot... but I finally had a path laid out... created a new NULL, I set the keyframes to work in the NULL layer and then used the pickwhip to connect the NULL to the object I wanted to move... but a whole bunch of the keyframes had inexplicably moved. Here's a video I did of my process:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dokdkyl4kdyv8dy/lost%20with%20keyframing.mp4?dl=0

 

You'll notice I'm clumsy - and I've found this weird way to even get back to viewing my tracking keyframes which can't be right either - so do please help - I'm at my wit's end!

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Error or problem, How to

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45

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Jul 14, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 14, 2020

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I see a lot of confusion in your workflow. Have you gone through any of the tracking tutorials that Adobe has presented in the User Guide?  Most of the tutorials that I see on YouTube and the great majority of tutorials that people on this and other forums have problems with are prepared by well-meaning enthusiasts with very little experience and most of the workflows are either terribly explained or inefficient. 

 

Here's how to do Motion Tracking using one feature region like you have done in your project. This is the efficient workflow for attaching motion tracking data to a null and then attaching a layer or effect to the null. All of these steps are important and they should be done in order. 

  • Open the footage to be tracked in the Footage Panel by double-clicking the footage in the Project Panel
  • Set an in and out point for the footage so you don't waste time tracking frames that will never end up in the final project
  • Select the footage in the Project Panel and use the File menu or drag to create a new comp from the trimmed footage (keeps the comp and the footage frame rate the same)
  • Press Ctrl/Cmnd + k and give the comp a meaningful name
  • Change the workspace to Motion tracking
  • With the Timeline selected Shift + Alt/Option + Ctrl/Cmnd + y will create a new null in the timeline
  • Rename the null something meaningful like Track 1 Null
  • Select the footage layer in the timeline and rename it to something like "Tracked Footage" so you know that it is the layer you have tracked if your comp gets complex
  • With the Tracked Footage layer still selected select Track Motion in the Tracker panel and the Layer Panel should open with the default Feature region in the center of the comp
  • This is optional but useful - Press Alt/Option + Ctrl/Cmnd + ; to open the Preferences, Select Display, choose No Motion Path for Motion Path and close the panel - this makes monitoring and adjusting the motion track a lot easier
  • Select Track Point 1 and enlarge the Feature region and Search area enough to include a significant amount of detail and position it over the feature you want to track
  • Proceed with tracking and verifying the track using the Layer Panel
  • If you have Track Point 1 selected and the Footage Panel is active you can fine-tune the position of the tracker using the arrow keys for 1-pixel movement or shift + arrow for 10-pixel movement
  • When the track is good, return to the first frame of the layer, select Edit Target in the Tracker panel to verify that Track 1 Null is selected and press apply then OK
  • Because you are using the Motion Tracking workspace the view should change from the Layer Panel to the Composition panel and your null should be attached to the feature region and keyframes should be applied to the Track 1 Null (verify by pressing U)
  • If you are adding an effect you want to follow the Track 1 null you have two choices, create the effect on a layer or series of layers and tie the effect position to the null using an expression or center the effect on a new layer or layers and pre-compose the effect you are planning to add
  • If you pre-composed the effect or it is an image or a movie or a comp, make sure that it is in your Main comp and make sure that the anchor point is right over the center of the effect
  • If the Parent/Link column is not visible press Shift + F4 to reveal  it
  • Hold Down the shift key and Parent the Effect layer to the Track 1 Null
  • Your layer is not parented to the null and you are ready to return to the Default or Standard workspace

That is all there is to it. You might want to return to your Preferences at this time (Alt/Option + Ctrl/Cmnd + 😉 and set Display/Motion Path to All keyframes at this time so it is easier to edit any motion paths you have.

 

That should get you there. Just in case you need to tie an effect position property like the Flare Center in the Lens Flare effect to the tracker null I'll go over that workflow. 

 

If your Track 1 Null is in the exact position it needs to be for the Lens Flare center all you have to do is drag a pickwhip from Flare Center to Tracy 1 Null position. if you press Shift + F4 you can reveal the Parent and Link column. spin down the Lens Flare Effect in the timeline and open the position property on the Track 1 Null and you'll also see a pickwhip (little curly thingie) and you can just drag from Lens Flare Center to Track 1 Null/Transform/Position to create your expression. That's all there is to it. 

 

If you are going to need to offset the Lens Flare Center position all you have to do is to edit the expression by typing value + in front of the expression created by the pickwhip. It would look like this:

 

value + thisComp.layer("Track 1 null").transform.position

 

Now you will be able to adjust and even keyframe if necessary, the position of the Lens Flare/Flare Center. 

 

That should get you started. It looks to me like your biggest problem is not understanding the workspace and the UI. 

 

In the future, if you are having problems with a tutorial please post a link to the tutorial so we can see what you are trying to do.

 

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Jul 14, 2020 1
Explorer ,
Jul 14, 2020

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Thanks SO much Rick... I'm going to go through this procedure and see what changes then I'll know where I went wrong hopefully. I'll have to muster up the effort though.... the first part of this took me three days! I'm a good Photoshop artist, but I've been putting off learing AE just coz it's SO huge!

 

Enjoying the positive bits though. So am still inspired.

 

The tutorials I watched were:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqWWhChc8RA

 

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=206&v=QVC3dKKZshE&feature=emb_logo

 

▶FOLLOW ME◀ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tierney.tv/ A super-easy way to motion track an object/video to a piece of footage in Adobe After Effects CC...
If you want to become a better visual effects artist, one of the best places to start is by learning motion tracking. You can replace screens and attach obje...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 14, 2020

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Mike Terney's tutorial was kind of OK but he missed the Shift Parent to align the logo to the tracking null and failed to explain the feature region, search area and attach point or demonstrate how to figure out the accuracy or correct a track.

 

The tutorial from Pond 5 was a little better but the part about using a 3D layer and two-point tracker is a very poor workflow. His corner pin tracking section failed to explain that the replacement image must be the same size as the footage layer. If it is not you must scale it, then pre-compose before applying Corner Pin. 

 

Neither tutorial explained the difference between the Composition Panel and the footage panel. 

Screenshot_2019-10-27 17.35.56_hiEGSa.png

These are among the good ones, but they still leave things out. The image on the left could have just as easily been labeled Photoshop.

 

The User Guide has a decent basic tracking tutorial.  This is in the Beginner section and it is pretty good and comes with sample footage and a project file. 

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Jul 15, 2020

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Thanks again Rick - your help and your attention to detail is SO appreiated!

I do realise that After Effects is the 'deep end' of motion graphics.... and I'm not even really in the shallow end... I'm still in the changing cubicle!

 

Am going to research this a bit more as I progress. Am glad the video I'm currently doing is not a commerical level enterprise!

 

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