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Motion tracking jitters

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Ken PughMotion tracking jitters
by on May 11, 2012 at 7:43:56 pm

I'm using motion tracking to tie text to objects in a moving frame.

I seem to get a much smoother track in Apple Motion - After Effects tracking seems to 'jitter' the text between one pixel and the next, giving a small random 'shake', particularly when the frame is fairly still. It's like it's constantly moving back and forth between two pixels (tried turning sub pixel off). I find I'm having to do the track in Motion and import the text into AE for the compositing and masking (as I much prefer these tools in AE). I've tried many solutions, played with all the tracking options, tried the smoother, tried manually adjusting frames a pixel back and forth (that way madness lies) but no luck. Is there a technique for this I'm missing?

Cheers, Ken

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Motion tracking jitters
by on May 11, 2012 at 8:10:21 pm

There are many tutorials on AE tracking. I would recommend checking out Mocha (free version with AE)- it does a superb tracking job on most clips.
One question regarding your footage- is it interlaced or progressive?

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Roland R. KahlenbergRe: Motion tracking jitters
by on May 12, 2012 at 12:47:57 am

As Ted has suggested, mochaAE/mochaPro should provide more powerful tracking options.

A common technique to deal with jittery tracks is to enlist separate tracks and then average their results prior to applying a single data onto a layer.

FWIW, the beauty of mocha's products is that you can track a plane and then export out multiple track points within the plane, without having to re-track each point separately.

Scenarios that lend themselves to such a workflow is the removal of markers that cannot be keyed or are required as targets for paint work AND when a single track doesn't provide a proper solution.

Take a look at the first clip of this video for an example of using markers as guides for both tracking a perspective plane as well as guides for paint - Using Tracker Markers as Guides for Paint.

All I had to do was to perform a single track of the plane where the markers were placed. Once the track was done, all I had to do was to move mocha's Surface Area (to select either an area or a marker)and export either Perspective or Transform data.


Intensive AE & Mocha Training in Singapore and Malaysia
Adobe ACE/ACI (version 7) & Imagineer Systems Inc Approved Mocha Trainer

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Ken PughRe: Motion tracking jitters
by on May 12, 2012 at 9:22:46 am

Thanks for both these replies - I'm using interlaced footage - and to make matters worse, some of the clips are being re-sized.... however Motion still does a smoother job. I've been looking for a way to manipulate the tracks, and average them out, as this felt it could be a solution - sounds like Mocha might be perfect, I'll explore this further, and check out the tutorial.

Many thanks, Ken.

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Motion tracking jitters
by on May 12, 2012 at 10:06:46 am

Your AE tracking issue comes from the fact that your footage is interlaced. De-interlace and track again, I bet AE will track just fine.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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