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T354 Week 11 - Spring 2015


  • Please start thinking about your Final Project (60 seconds)
  • Remember to put CRAP to work in your movies.
    • Use Contrast to focus on your message.
    • Repeat visual elements, textures and movements.
    • Align your elements for a stronger comp
    • Place elements that go together in close Proximity to each other


  • Tuesday: Turn in homework & finish lighting
  • Work / catchup session + 2 in-class exercises
  • Thursday: Misc tips. Odds & ends

Please place your homework in the week 11 folder.

Parenting Review & In-Class Exercise - (Meyer chapter 17)

Parenting is a nice way to animate many objects at once. There are two ways to parent:

  • Reveal/display the "Parent" column in the timeline window. Then select the parent layer using the drop-down menu
  • Use the pick whip tool to select the parent layer

Parenting lets you assign the transform properties of one layer to another. A layer can only have one parent, but a parent can have multiple children. As demonstrated in the 3D lecture, Null Objects can be quite effective parents.

If you work through the Chapter 17 AE Project: [Ex.02*starter] , you'll get a fine grasp of parenting.

Download the clock parts, which are in the "Week11" zip file. Move them into yor media file once you download them.

Note the clock face, and the hour and minute hand.

Start by examining the anchor points of our clock hands. They need to be positioned properly, relative to their respective layers first.

Use Parenting to connect the clock hands together. Note what you can do (and can't do).

Now try using expressions to connect the rotation of the hands together.

To turn on the expression controls either press Shift Option = or Alt/Option click the Stopwatch

Look in the "Animation/Presets/Backgrounds" to find an interesting background for your clock.

Once you have successfully parented and animated the hands, see if you can apply an effect to the entire "family." (Consider what you have to do to apply the effect to all of the child layers.)

Expressions provide a much better and more accurate way to make our clock hands interact.

Expressions vs Parenting

In-class Parenting/Expressions Exercise:

Your goal is to create a 10-15 second square-pixel project that demonstrates your grasp of parenting and also shows that you can use Adobe Bridge and the Preset backgrounds.

  • Start with a 1280 x 720 comp.
  • You can use the watch face we were working on, or use your own elements.
  • Make a nice background to use as a backdrop to your timepiece
  • Can you composite the timepiece so that it can be animated/moved as a whole?
  • Make the elements 3D and create a dynamic 3D move.
  • Once you are happy with your elements, make a movie and place it in your Week 11 folder. Make sure it's called timepiece. (Save it as a square pixel, MPEG4 or H.264)



Read Chapter 29 of the Meyer book and the following info on Motion Stabilization.

If you don't have your media from the Meyer book, download the video files which are zipped in this file (203 MB).

NOTE: These source video files are 4:3 standard definition clips. You likely want to work with a D1 or DV 4:3 comp size (720x486 OR 720x480).

Motion Stabilization

Tracking and Motion Stabilization commands can be found under the Animation menu.

Both of these use AE's ability to analyze footage.

To use Motion Tracking or Stabilization, first you must have a layer with changing frames (motion) and that has a distinct feature to track.

Load the HM_peacock2_DV.mov as a comp

  • Be sure to set a Work Area encompassing your footage to track (important)
  • Position your time indicator at the beginning of your Work Area
  • Select the layer then choose Animation -> Track Motion

Look at your footage for a disctinct feature that is visible the duartion of the entire clip. Move the tracking area to the distinct feature.

The tracking area

  • The track point is broken down into 2 rectangles and an attach point.
  • The feature region is the smallest square. It should surround the distinct feature to be tracked.
  • The larger box is the search region. It is the area that AE will look for to find the distinct feature.
  • The point in the middle is the attach point. It represents the place of attachment for the track point.

To move the tracking area, drag in the area between the inner and outer squares. Adjust the feature region (inner square) to closely encompass the feature you want to track by dragging its handles. Adjust the search region (the outer square) only if you're tracking a fast-moving object.

You can track in a limited range of frames by first defining a work area.

  • Now press the analyze forward button (right arrow). It should track the area (if you've done things properly).
  • Now press the "apply" button. A prompt will ask "Apply Dimensions" - you want to X&Y.
  • Preview your footage.

Note how the edges of the video frame can become visible when footage is stabilized. Often one must scale up the video footage just a little to conceal this.

Warp Stabilizer - Now try the Warp Stabilizer command (also found under the Animation menu). Using the same footage try different methods and look at the differences (position / position, scale, rotation / perspective / subspace warp). Also note the different framing options.

Motion Tracking

Motion Tracking uses a technique similar to Motion Stabilization, but applies the tracking data to a different layer.

An interesting variation of Motion Tracking is Perspective Corner Pinning. This can be used to replace signs on billboards or other moving shots.

In-class Motion Stablization & Motion Tracking Exercise:

In this exercise you'll useat least two video clips to demonstrate that you can stabilize footage and carry out motion tracking.

  • Make a newstandard-definition 4x3 comp 30 seconds long (D1 or DV 4:3).
  • Use the provided peacock clips and stabliize at least one of them.

Hint: You might want to scale up the peacock footage so that the moving edges aren't visible.

  • Add the AB_Recreation&Leisure.mov
  • Make another layer (E.g. text: "Inspiration")

When you are finished, render out an H.264 movie called "video" and place it in your week 11 folder.

Perspective Corner Pinning (if time allows)

Motion Tracking uses a technique similar to Motion Stabilization, but applies the tracking data to a different layer.

An interesting variation of Motion Tracking is Perspective Corner Pinning. This can be used to replace signs on billboards or other moving shots.

Want to try it? Experiment on the KD_streetsign_DV.mov file which was in the zipped folder from last week.



  • Read work through Meyer chapters 27 & 30 (Keying & Motion Tracking)
  • Make an animated countdown that could be either functioning (with your name or company logo used before an actual broadcast show) or artistic (designed to be seen and appreciated by viewers- such as in your demo reel). Make sure it has:
    • principles of C.R.A.P. applied
    • animated 3D camera or layers
    • audio (natural soundtrack, sound effects, music, etc.)
    • Tasteful lighting
    • A sense of depth
    • You may turn in a full-size, square pixel H.264 version.
    • Be sure to thoughtfully fill out and submit an accompanying critique form.
  • Here are a few to ponder:

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