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Tracker panel is completely grayed out and won't let me track anything.

Community Beginner ,
May 05, 2017

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Can't track any layers in the composition, even pre-composed ones, because the menu is simply grayed out. Anyone know how to fix this? I desperately need to finish a project.

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Correct answer by Roei_Tzoref | Most Valuable Participant
I appreciate the detailed response, but my issue is not that the tracker fails to accurately track, it is that I cannot use the menu to make a tracker in the first place.

are you sure your track type is set to Transform and not Stabilize?

a screenshot could save you so show us.

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Tracker panel is completely grayed out and won't let me track anything.

Community Beginner ,
May 05, 2017

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Can't track any layers in the composition, even pre-composed ones, because the menu is simply grayed out. Anyone know how to fix this? I desperately need to finish a project.

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Correct answer by Roei_Tzoref | Most Valuable Participant
I appreciate the detailed response, but my issue is not that the tracker fails to accurately track, it is that I cannot use the menu to make a tracker in the first place.

are you sure your track type is set to Transform and not Stabilize?

a screenshot could save you so show us.

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May 05, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 05, 2017

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The Lounge Forum is not for technical help, please provide the name of the program you are using so your message may be moved to the correct program forum... A program would be Photoshop or InDesign or Muse or Premiere Pro or ???

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May 05, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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Have you tried restarting your computer?

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May 06, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2017

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Yes, and updated After Effects, did not work.

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May 06, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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You track in the layer panel, not the composition panel. Open the layer in the Layer Panel and you should be able to track.

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May 06, 2017 4
Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2017

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Thanks, I can track in the layer panel, but I'd like to apply the tracking data to a null object like I've done previously. How do I change the target from the layer panel?

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May 06, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 06, 2017

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make sure you are setup this way:

then you would see it set:

now you hit Apply.

you might want to read this through: Tracking and stabilization motion workflows in After Effects

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May 06, 2017 3
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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The workflow hasn't changed, by the way. This is how it's always worked.

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May 06, 2017 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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When you are having problems with any feature in AE the first thing you should do is type the name of the procedure in the Search Help field at the top right corner of AE and check the Help files, they are much improved, and the community resources. YouTube and Google are usually a last resort because most of the 'tutorials' you find on YouTube are done by amateurs who really don't know what they are doing. They give bad, sometimes really bad advice and describe inefficient workflows. Make sure you vet your trainers.

I would type "Motion Track" in the search help field and study up. It will save you hours in the long run.

As Szalam said, nothing has changed, except that it is now a little easier. The first thing I do when I Motion Track or do any other kind of tracking is to open up the "Motion Tracking" workspace. Then you simply select the layer in the main composition and when you check the Motion Tracking Panel you should see the layer selected. If you don't select it from the drop down. When you click Track Motion the Layer Panel should open and your Search Area, Detail Area, and Attach point should show up in the middle of the comp.

Here's a point that most new users don't understand. AE's motion tracker is not a Point Tracker, it's a detail tracker. The detail you are tracking is in the inner box. The little x is the attach point. Most tracking problems can be solved by making sure that you include enough detail. For most shots the box is a bit too small so make it big enough to include enough detail to get good results. The second most common problem with motion tracking is that the search area, the outer box, is too small. It must be big enough to include all of the detail area that may move between frames.

I hope this helps. Spend some time with the community resources and the help files and you'll do fine if your shot is suitable for tracking.

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May 06, 2017 2
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 06, 2017

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AE's motion tracker is not a Point Tracker

Thank you Rick. I can appreciate the simplification that the point tracker is actually tracking features and not "points", but to not confuse the readers, maybe the word exactly should have been added there? by all references and workflows in Ae (including adobe's help files) and other compositing Apps, it is referred to as a point tracker. this feature, which works similarly in multiple compositing apps including Ae, is considered point tracking.

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May 06, 2017 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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In every class I have ever taught on tracking the expectation is that you should be able to pick a small point of detail and track that point. This leads most folks to make the inner box way too small. For most tracking jobs that I do the default size is too small. I almost always make it about twice as big as the default. AE's motion tracker simply does not work, especially when using compressed footage from consumer cameras, if the inner box is too small. That's my point and I have argued for a change in terminology for years.

There are point trackers in some other apps that don't give you a search area, they just assume one. With those tools you just move the tracker to the point you want to track and the tracker does it's best to guess what detail is around that point. AE's track area is so often misunderstood and when you describe it as a point tracker most, if not all inexperienced users try and make it too small.

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May 06, 2017 2
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 06, 2017

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In every class I have ever taught on tracking the expectation is that you should be able to pick a small point of detail and track that point.

I understand your intention. it is easier to understand how it works when you explain that it's not a point really. maybe the intention of the ones who originated the term is to the attach point, and not the feature. anyway, guess we lost that battle since this term it's embedded in every guide and tutorial for more than two decades so saying it's not a point tracker can only cause confusion in my  humble opinion. I also think all we can do is explain and emphasize the holy trinity - attach point, feature region, and search region and that's really what's important to know.

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May 06, 2017 2
Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2017

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Thanks, but my issue is that when i click on the menu to select target the option of Null Object is greyed out. I can't select anything in the menu.

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May 06, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2017

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I appreciate the detailed response, but my issue is not that the tracker fails to accurately track, it is that I cannot use the menu to make a tracker in the first place.

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May 06, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2017

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Is you AE up to date? What is your OS? Without details of your workflow, your system and your version of AE down to the last decimal point we can only assume that you are not following the proper procedure for motion tracking some footage.

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May 06, 2017 2
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 07, 2017

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I appreciate the detailed response, but my issue is not that the tracker fails to accurately track, it is that I cannot use the menu to make a tracker in the first place.

are you sure your track type is set to Transform and not Stabilize?

a screenshot could save you so show us.

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May 07, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2017

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Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 9.16.26 AM.png

When I opened a different project everything worked as you described, however in this one the menu is all gray. This leads me to believe something about the footage is or project is preventing me from using tracker.

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May 07, 2017 0
LEGEND ,
May 07, 2017

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You're looking at the comp window and not the layer window.  You need to look at the layer window for a tracker to work.

And what on Earth do you think you're going to track in that shot anyway?  That's a really crummy shot for tracking purposes.

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May 07, 2017 0
New Here ,
Sep 28, 2020

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I had the same issue and found this post, reading through your explanation i found that I had tracking options grayed out, because I didn't have the proper video track selected in timeline.
I'm an amateur and you helped me out, so I wanted to thank you. It's a simple step missing, but you took the time to explain it. 
Also, your post alone made me reconsider my choice to learn "on the go" from youtube tutorials. 

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Sep 28, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 06, 2017

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if the advice given here not helping, show us some screenshots

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May 06, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
May 06, 2017

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This is for After Effects, forgot to mention in the question.

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May 06, 2017 0