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Floating chat boxes

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Dror levi
Floating chat boxes
on Sep 4, 2015 at 3:36:39 am

I have a potential client that is looking to hire me only if...
The thing is that he saw a floating chat boxes effect in a high end commercial video and he wants it 100% the same.
My after effect skills are very limited and I wonder if there is any template out there for this type of effect or a tutorial that will help me create the same effect.
Here is the video with the effect the he saw.

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Ximon Gray
Re: Floating chat boxes
on Sep 4, 2015 at 6:04:15 am

Fairly simple mate. Just repeat this process for each chat box:

1) Create a composition with your footage.

2) Right click under your footage layer and choose New > Null object. These are invisible, empty layers that are used for storing information.

3) Go to the first frame of your footage, right click on its layer and choose 'track motion'. You'll see a small square appear, which is your tracking point. The inner square is the area that will be tracked, and the outer square is the search area. Position it over something static and contrasty (like the corner of a table for example), as near as possible to where you want the chat box to go. Hit the track forwards button in the tracker panel (if you don't see it then go to the window menu and select it from there). Once it's tracked all the way through and you're happy with the result, choose 'edit target' in the tracker panel and make sure the null object is selected. Hit apply and okay. The null object now contains your tracking data, and anything you link to it will follow.

4) Import your chat box (or make one in a separate composition using a solid and some text) and then put that above your footage layer. Right click on it and choose '3D layer' if you want to be able to rotate it on the Y axis. Position and rotate it to where you want it to be, then click on the Parent drop-down menu in the layer controls panel and select the null object. The chat box will now follow the tracking data.

5) If something in the scene obstructs the chat box (like the guy sitting at his desk in the reference video) then you'll need to do some rotoscoping, and I suggest looking for a tutorial on that.

Good luck!

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John Cuevas
Re: Floating chat boxes
on Sep 4, 2015 at 3:04:38 pm

Ximon is right on target with his advice. One thing I though, if you are really new to AE, you might want to think twice about taking on a project like this if you are unsure if you can pull it off. There are quite a few individual techniques you need to have mastered to make something like this work and if you don't do it well, it's your reputation.

Also, here's a tutorial that demonstrates the technique:

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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Dror levi
Re: Floating chat boxes
on Sep 9, 2015 at 9:53:05 pm

Thank you guys.

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