General Motion Tracking Workflow

This section is a general overview of the tracking workflow that is common to most of the Motion Tracking behaviors. The Analyze Motion behavior is used in this example.

The Analyze Motion behavior analyzes and stores tracking information from a clip. The behavior does not transform the tracked object. This data can be referenced by other tracking behaviors.

For a full description of the Analyze Motion parameters, see Analyze Motion Controls.

Tracking in one pass rarely yields perfect results without some fine-tuning. For information on various tracking methods and tips, see Strategies for Better Tracking.

Important: With the exception of the Stabilize behavior’s automatic analysis mode, the tracking analysis begins at the current playhead position for all workflows. To define a tracking region, set an Out point for the tracked clip. If you are performing a reverse track, set In and Out points for your track. To set an Out point, position the playhead at the correct frame, select the clip, then choose Mark > Mark Play Range Out (or press Command-Option-O). To set an In point, position the playhead at the correct frame, select the clip, then choose Mark > Mark Play Range In (or press Command-Option-I).

To generate a track for a clip using the Analyze Motion behavior
  1. In the Layers tab, Timeline, or Canvas, select the footage that you want to track, click the Add Behavior icon in the Toolbar, then choose Motion Tracking > Analyze Motion from the pop-up menu.

    Figure. Toolbar showing Add Behaviors pop-up menu and Motion Tracking submenu.

    Note: You can also select the footage, select the behavior in the Library, then click the Apply button in the Library Preview area, or drag a behavior from the Library to the footage.

    The tracker is added to the footage. By default, a single tracker appears at the center of the footage.

    Figure. Tracker in the Canvas window.
  2. Play your background clip several times to determine a good track point, then go to the frame where you want to start the track.

  3. In the Canvas, drag the tracker to the reference point you want to use.

    Note: For more information on using the onscreen tracker, see Adjusting the Onscreen Trackers. For more information on selecting a good tracking reference point, see Strategies for Better Tracking.

  4. To add trackers, click the Add button in the Behaviors tab of the Inspector.

    Each new tracker is added to the center of the footage.

  5. Drag the additional trackers to the reference points you want to use.

  6. To track a specific range of frames, adjust the start and end points of the tracking behavior (the purple bar) in the Timeline or mini-Timeline.

    Note: If you adjust the length of the tracking behavior, make sure to set your tracking reference points within the range of the behavior. In other words, if you set the tracker to a point on the first frame of a clip, then change the start point of the tracking behavior, the tracker will not analyze the point.

  7. Click the Analyze button in the HUD or Behaviors tab of the Inspector.

    Figure. HUD showing Analyze Motion behavior parameters.

    Once the tracking analysis begins, a progress window opens and track points on motion path appear in the Canvas. The track point at the current playhead position is emphasized.

    Figure. Canvas window showing Tracker motion path.

    The tracking keyframes contained in the behavior appear in the Keyframe Editor.

    Figure. Keyframe Editor showing tracking keyframes.

    Because the Analyze Motion behavior does not transform the source object, only the tracking keyframes appear in the Keyframe Editor. When using a Match Move or Stabilize behavior, the tracking keyframes appear as well as the transform curves of the source object (for Stabilize) or destination object (for Match Move).

    Figure. Keyframe Editor showing tracking keyframes assigned to other parameters.

    A “confidence” curve is also displayed in the Keyframe Editor. This curve provides a visual indication of the tracker’s accuracy relative to its parameter settings in the Inspector. The confidence curve is not for editing purposes.

  8. To stop a track, click the Stop button in the progress window or press Esc.

    Tip: If it appears that the tracker loses its reference pattern, do not immediately click the Stop button. Allow the analysis to continue for a few seconds. When the tracker fails, the playhead jumps to the exact frame at which the track was lost.

    The analyzed track, contained in the Analyze Motion behavior, can now be loaded into other tracking behaviors (via a pop-up menu in the HUD or Inspector of the other tracking behaviors).

    Figure. HUD showing Match Move behavior parameter with tracking behaviors pop-up menu active.

    Note: The Stabilize behavior can only load tracks from other Stabilize behaviors.

Loading Data into a Behavior

If the project contains any footage or animated objects when a Match Move, Stabilize, Unstabilize, or Track Points behavior is applied, the nearest footage or animated object below the behavior in the Layers tab is automatically applied to the behavior and appears in the behavior’s Source well. This data is overwritten once a tracking analysis is done, or when you choose another track from the tracking behaviors pop-up menu.

You can assign an animated object or tracking data to a tracking behavior in four ways:

  • Choose another tracking behavior from the tracking behaviors pop-up menu.

  • Drag a tracking behavior or footage object to the Source well in the HUD or Behaviors tab of the Inspector.

  • Drag an animated object to the Source well in the HUD or Behaviors tab of the Inspector. The referenced animated object is applied as the source for the current behavior. This option only applies to the Match Move and Track Points behaviors.

  • Drag a tracking behavior or footage object directly to the current tracking behavior in the Layers tab. The referenced tracking behavior or footage object is assigned as the source for the current behavior.

Note: To clear a Source well, drag the item away from the well and release the mouse button.