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Stabilize motion: can't select null object

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Bill Morris
Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 1:53:42 pm

Windows XP64
AfterEffects CS4

I've got my footage. I've got my null object. Stabilize motion is selected...however, I can't edit the target. The only selectable object is the original footage, the null object is grayed out, before and after tracking.

Is there something I'm missing? I've done this before, but it's been a while.

- Bill in KC


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:28:07 pm

It was only recently where I saw a tutorial where someone pasted an AE Stabilized track data onto a Null. As far as I know, this is not only impossible but also ridiculous!

I'm pretty sure that whoever did that tutorial didn't actually perform a Stabilized track but instead performed a Raw track.

Within AE, a stabilized track will only allow you to paste the tracked data onto the layer itself. I'm on CS5 and I've not had a look-see at CS 5.5 to know if it handles Stabilization differently. However, do take note that the tutorial I was alluding to earlier was based on CS4.

Anyways, you should have no issue applying the tracked data onto your layer AND THEN parenting the said layer to a Null.

HTH
RoRK

Intensive AE & Mocha Training in Singapore and Malaysia.


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Bill Morris
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:40:37 pm

...someone pasted an AE Stabilized track data onto a Null. As far as I know, this is not only impossible but also ridiculous!


No, it's perfectly possible, and I tried that as a workaround. It worked, but it's an extra step or three.

Anyways, you should have no issue applying the tracked data onto your layer AND THEN parenting the said layer to a Null.


That's backward to my intention. Every tutorial I read or watched trying to find an answer to the question said to:

- track the source layer

- select the null as the target and apply the data

- parent the source layer to the null

To restate my original issue: the null object is not selectable as a target. How do I overcome this issue?


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Kevin Camp
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:53:25 pm

[Bill Morris] "That's backward to my intention. Every tutorial I read or watched trying to find an answer to the question said to:
- track the source layer
- select the null as the target and apply the data
- parent the source layer to the null
To restate my original issue: the null object is not selectable as a target. How do I overcome this issue?"


the problem is that you are not tracking, you are choosing stabilize...

what roland is saying is that if you choose 'stabilize' for the track type you can only apply that to the footage layer... what you want to do is to choose 'transform' then you can select the null.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:39:51 pm

Thanks for jumping in Kevin.

Cheers
RoRK

Intensive AE & Mocha Training in Singapore and Malaysia.


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Bill Morris
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:49:39 pm

the problem is that you are not tracking, you are choosing stabilize...


A key distinction I missed. Wrong mindset, I guess. Thanks for that.


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:29:19 pm

[Bill Morris] "That's backward to my intention. Every tutorial I read or watched trying to find an answer to the question said to:

- track the source layer
- select the null as the target and apply the data
- parent the source layer to the null"


Sadly, folks that spend more time in forums helping folks like you, truly, are much under appreciated. It seems that if I spend a few hours a week or a month writing a tutorial, I'm know more than those that help out at the forums. Sigh!

Dude, I don't give a damn where you saw your tutorial or who wrote/captured or produced such tutorials. I know that there are only a few good tutorial writers/producers out there and that the majority should come with a warning that crap information abounds.

[Bill Morris] "To restate my original issue: the null object is not selectable as a target. How do I overcome this issue?"

And to restate my original answer - you cannot apply AE's Stabilized data onto any other layer except the stabilized itself. SImply because you are not stabilizing the Null (which by default is already stabilized) but the tracked layer itself.

Your confusion may perhaps be with how Stabilization is done with a track from MochaAE/MochaPro. Mocha apps do not directly stabilize footage in AE. To stabilize a tracked footage from Mocha, it is indeed the normal practice (although not a necessity) to paste Mocha's tracked data onto a Null and then apply Expressions to inversely offset the tracked data to create a stabilized image.

HTH
RoRK

Intensive AE & Mocha Training in Singapore and Malaysia.


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Bill Morris
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:48:15 pm

Aha! That's the source of my confusion. I had the mindset that "stabilize" and "track motion" were functionally the same thing, which apparently they are not.

I get it. Now, anyway.

...and you aren't under-appreciated, it's just that a forum is an extremely inefficient means of communication. Thank you for your explanation. Sometimes the re-wording is all it takes, y'know?

So, then, here's the issue I'm actually trying to solve. I trying to stabilize a piece of footage shot handheld by someone who isn't terrifically good at it, and with few reference markers. I can use multiple trackers, adding a new one each time the previous tracker goes out of frame, but slowly and surely the image is drifting downward.

Knowing that the stabilization is going to push the image all over the place, I'd like to keep the benefit of the tracking data but keep the bulk of the image more or less in frame. I know I can zoom just a bit to cover the margins. Since the tracking data is positioning the frame, how do I adjust while keeping the stabilization?

And that's the real issue :)


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 6:28:04 pm

[Bill Morris] "Knowing that the stabilization is going to push the image all over the place, I'd like to keep the benefit of the tracking data but keep the bulk of the image more or less in frame. I know I can zoom just a bit to cover the margins. Since the tracking data is positioning the frame, how do I adjust while keeping the stabilization?"

Depending on the area of the composition where you placed AE's trackers and the visual representation of the edges of your visual, there may be no other way but to zoom in to fill the blanks.

But before you zoom into the image, you will first want to parent the stabilized layer to a Null (BTW, some really good tutorials ask that you nest the stabilized comp although this step isn't necessary) and then use the Null to apply transformations to the stabilized layer.

I suggest that you take a look at MochaAE/MochaPro for your stabilizing needs. It allows for more accurate stabilization and also allows for a more comprehensive area to track and this may preclude having to switch tracking areas during a single tracking exercise.

Here are a couple of tutorials that provide techniques that preclude zooming into a stabilized footage to ensure full comp viewing.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/swanson_grant/Final2_mixdown2.php

http://www.mamoworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=b...

Do take note that these techniques are not universally applicable, as I mentioned much earlier. But depending on your footage, they just may do the trick.

Of course I could write a tutorial on using Camera Mapping/Projection that may preclude zooming while retaining image integrity but then I wouldn't have the time to answer to forum posts, especially when it's 2:45AM where I'm at ;-)

HTH
RoRK
actually work

Intensive AE & Mocha Training in Singapore and Malaysia.


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Bill Morris
Re: Stabilize motion: can't select null object
on Oct 20, 2011 at 9:48:43 pm

you will first want to parent the stabilized layer to a Null and then use the Null to apply transformations to the stabilized layer.


AHA! That was just the ticket. A little bit of zoom, then moved the null around to keep the image more or less centered. I didn't put a whole lot of effort into the initial take, but the little bit I did do shows me this will get me right where I need to be.

Thank you, sir.


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