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Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?

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Seth Marshall
Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 5:00:14 pm

I\\\'ve been finding the switch to AE very difficult to adjust to. I want to make sure I\\\'m doing things correctly and feel the interface allows for many ways to do the same thing.

I\\\'ve finally stabilized a long 12min clip that was giving me significant trouble. Unfortunately I mistakenly placed my anchor point where I placed my tracker - in the top right of frame.

I now need to perform a virtual zoom but since my anchor point is not in the center using the transform function isn\\\'t cooperating with me. It seems as if the anchor needs to be in the middle, but I may be doing something wrong.

After many hours I figured out by creating a camera layer I was able to do what I needed. But is this the preferred method? I want to make sure I follow proper workflow for best image quality.


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Joey Foreman
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:15:49 pm

Sounds like you would benefit from the use of a Null object.

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906...



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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:20:06 pm

Thanks for the reply!

Is there any one 'correct' way of going about this? (I.e. You can use tranform with the anchor point, I found the camera layer method, you propose a null object.... Is one preferred over the other for quality reasons?)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:38:00 pm

[Seth Marshall] "Is one preferred over the other for quality reasons?"

Ah, yes... quality. I'll assume you stabilized the shot in AE.

When you stabilize a shot, you're picking one point (or points) that are to remain stationary. AE then shifts the entire picture around to keep the point(s) stationary. Depending on the shakiness of the shot, that picture could be dancing all over the place!

Well, that's not especially good unless you intend to crop the shot so you don't see those dancing edges -- you can do it with a track matte. If you scale up the shot to fill the screen, it could result in a drop in quality. If you want to zoom in as well, the quality's going to drop even more.

Now, you can compensate for that a LITTLE by using something like Instant HD from Red Giant Software. It'll help preserve image resolution if you scale the image up, but it can't work miracles.

You have a good idea, but I fear you'll run into image resolution issues.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:05:59 pm

Thanks again. To clarify, I'm not concerned about resolution lost during stabilizing. I was aware of this issue. My footage is over 2K and I intend to output 1080 so there is plenty of room there. I'm a videographer professionally so I try to be aware of "most" these issues (I do as much homework as I know). But when it comes to After Effects' huge capabilities I'm very much out of my element.

Which is why I asked, for what I'm trying to do, is there one "best" way of going about it. Or for any task in AE for that matter? In photography you need to approach shooting something a specific way--is this the same in post with AE? Or are there many ways to do the same thing and not one is better than the next?



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Joey Foreman
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:25:03 pm

You were correct to create a camera. The camera is much easier to control with a "camera rig", a set of Nulls which give you easier control over camera motion.
There is an excellent one here:

http://hypoly.com/blog/simple-camera-rig-script/

And yes I do think this is the best way to accomplish what you're after.


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:54:39 pm

Thanks Joey, I look forward to taking a closer look at those links you've provided. (Shooting on location right now)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:29:01 pm

Great -- no resolution issues, and your workflow is sound.

Just like many other applications, the ease with which you can paint yourself into a corner is proportional to the complexity of the After Effects project. Yours is pretty simple -- no worries!

One admonition -- to make a file of a given H&V resolution, it's ALWAYS best to create an AE comp in that resolution.

For example, you COULD use the AE Render Queue to crop and scale a 2K comp to 1920x1080. However, you'd lose all the benefits of AE's really good scaling algorithms. The result: a loss in quality. It's far better from a quality standpoint to nest the 2K comp in a 1920x1080 comp and render.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:17:49 pm

Dave, this is really helpful information to know! Thank you for sharing that. I assumed the render "make movie" export would be just as good. I may be wrong but I thought with FCP changing size in Compressor (exporting) was preferred to changing size in the timeline and having to render. If you say it's best to have correct size in AE comp settings first off than that is exactly the kind of "best way of doing this" information I was looking for.

I know what I'm doing is very simple in comparison to what you pro's do, but it's important I know these simple rules on how to get the best quality possible. Anything else I should know?

Sounds like using the camera layer was an okay choice. No one has said if one way is better than another. I did paint myself in a corner for the first time setting my anchor point incorrectly. If these mistakes don't effect quality I'm fine with learning other work arounds.


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:15:01 pm

Dave, your fact about resizing in the composition for better quality (versus in output render) brings up a great example of my concerns:

aftery my shoot I came home and adjusted the dimensions of my comp to my output. I then repositioned my footage but realized doing so interfered with the keyframe I had placed for when I stabilized-- my footage starts drifting toward to inappropriately places anchor.

I then tried moving the other position values in transform (looks like there are two) which corrected the movement-- but then noticed in addition since I had to scale the footage down it too interferred with stabilizer keyframes where it had a scaling tracker--footage begins to grow.

Alternatively I could use the camera again, or maybe use a null object (?).

But with your earlier warning about quality-- is it best to scale footage within comp as opposed to using other methods such as camera and null object?

If so would that mean I have to start over and restabilize the new sized/positioned sequence since the trackers will need new data values?

Thank you so much for your help!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:47:43 pm

To me, it sounds like you ought to try this again. This time, no camera -- it only complicates matters, and gives you no quality advantage. Doing this in a plain ol' 2D comp with no camera delivers the SAME quality.
  • Create a comp in the H&V dimensions you will ultimately need. I presume the dimensions of this comp will be smaller than the footage to be stabilized.
  • Add the footage to be stabilized to the comp. DO NOT scale it.
  • Proceed to stabilize the footage.
  • When done stabilizing, add a null object to the comp; for the moment, don't do ANYTHING to the null.
  • Parent the stabilized footage to the null.
  • NOW you work with the null: position and scale the null object, and the null object ONLY, as needed to get your footage where it needs to be in the comp.

That's all there is to it! No mysterious procedures to follow, very straightforward, and pretty darned simple. You'll be all set to render.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 13, 2010 at 11:24:56 am

A huge thank you or that step by step breakdown! It really clarifies the steps in workflow for me! I have two remaining questions if you find the time to answer them:

1.). Is it essential to start over and create a comp in the correct dimensions to start?Seeing I have plenty of space to scale down couldn't I just change my comp settings in my existing project (or is there a quality issue I'm unaware of)?

2.) If I intend multiple outputs at different dimensions would this mean I need to start over with a fresh comp of correct dimensions for each one to get best quality? I need 1620x1080, 1920x1080, 1280,720 and would like a master 2k for archival (not sure proper way to archive in AE)

what does H&V stand for anyhow?--can't find it in manual. Thanks so much for all your help and time, it's truly helped me
because a better filmmaker.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:25:20 pm

[Seth Marshall] "Is it essential to start over and create a comp in the correct dimensions to start?"

In this case, no. If it's a burden to start over again, simply change the comp size as necessary and add the null.




[Seth Marshall] "I need 1620x1080, 1920x1080, 1280,720 and would like a master 2k for archival (not sure proper way to archive in AE) "

If you're not DELIVERING 2k, you shouldn't have to keep a 2k archive. As I understand it, your stabilized footage is 2k. You would have to scale it up, with an attendant loss of resolution.

Make a 1920x1080 version. You can then use different applications to convert them to the smaller resolutions. Or you can nest the 1920x1080 comp in the smaller sizes, scale it to fit the new comp size and render.







[Seth Marshall] "what does H&V stand for anyhow?--can't find it in manual. "

Get ready for a Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment -- it stands for "horizontal" and "vertical".

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Seth Marshall
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 14, 2010 at 11:48:40 pm

I've been searching the manual for more information regarding rendering at different resolutions from the composition settings. At first it reads on page 203 of "Using Adobe After Effects CS4":

When you render a composition for final output, you can use the current Resolution settings for the composition or set a resolution value in the Render Settings dialog box that overrides the composition settings."

...which would really make one think it doesn't matter what your composition settings are as far as H&V.... then on page 689 it reads:

By default, the render settings for a render item are based on the current project settings, composition settings, and switch settings for the composition on which the render item is based. However, you can modify the render settings for each render item to override some of these settings.

...which really makes me feel it would be okay to stay with maximum resolution settings of source material... But then on the next page describing possible render settings it reads:

Resolution= Resolution of the rendered composition, relative to the original composition dimensions. Note: If you render at reduced resolution, set the Quality option to Draft. Rendering at Best quality when reducing resolution produces an unclear image and takes longer than Draft quality!

Why would the manual contradict itself like that. Not that it's a complete contradiction but it really makes one believe render settings override composition settings in so far as H&V resolution.

So is it definitive that for best quality you need composition settings to match intended output resolution!? This would be a pain in a situation where you need different H&V dimensions (i.e. 1920x1080 and 1280x720


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Misplaced anchor limiting zooming ability, normal to try other methods?
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:23:07 pm

Ah, yes. Parenting to the rescue!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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