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Adobe After Effects 6.5 Tracking an Effect (like a distortion/liquify effect)

I know how to establish tracking for a movie/layer in After Effects 6.5. But, once you've established your tracking path, how can you assign an EFFECT to that path so that (for instance) if you were to add a distortion to somebody's face, like to enlarge their eyes for instance using liquify, that the actual distortion effect could follow the path the tracking had defined? I know you can easily track other layers, but can you track effects? Please help.
1 Solution
Sohel RanaCommented:

Do you mean something like this?


From the After Effects Help file:

You can animate effects applied to the motion source so that they follow a specific feature precisely throughout a shot. After Effects repositions the effect point using the position data it gathered when tracking. For example, you can track the sun as it moves across the sky to animate a lens flare. When applying tracking data to an effect point, the motion target must be an effect control point on the same layer as the motion source.

To animate effects:

In the Timeline, select the effect point control you want to animate.
Note: The selected effect must be applied to the motion source layer, and the layer must include motion or changing frames, such as video source footage.

Choose Animation > Track Effect Point Control. After Effects then performs the following actions:
Displays the Tracker Controls palette with the current layer (the layer containing the effect) listed for Motion Source and the effect point control you selected in step 1 for Motion Target.
Creates a new track and displays its name for Current Track in the Tracker Controls palette.
Displays Transform for Track Type.
Adds the new track to the Motion Trackers section of the motion source layer in the Timeline.
Creates a track point in the Layer window for the motion source.
If you want to track a range of frames, define the work area you want to track in the Layer window for the source footage.
In the Layer window for the motion source, move the current-time indicator to the frame from which tracking should begin.
Using the selection tool, position and size the feature region so that it surrounds the feature you want to track. (See Moving and resizing the track point (Pro only).)
Note: The search region needs to be only big enough to accommodate the frame-to-frame position change of the feature.

In the Tracker Controls palette, click either the Forward Analyze or Backward Analyze button to begin tracking. Watch the tracking to make sure it is accurate. If not, click the button again to stop tracking, and then correct the problem as described in Correcting a drifting feature region (Pro only).
When you are satisfied with the position of the feature region(s) throughout the footage, click the Apply button to apply the motion to the effect. After Effects creates keyframes and copies them to the effect point control.
Hi jj4375 :-),
Since we haven't heard from you for a couple of days could you please give us an update on the status of this question?
See:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi51 Thank you, turn123's friendly update request script.
Offtopic comments about this script to http://www.experts-exchange.com/Applications/Q_21188389.html please :-).
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jj4375Author Commented:
I will be testing each of these options out today and I will award points based on my success with either one of them. Many thanks; I may split the points if they both work well.
jj4375Author Commented:
Liquify does not seem to work with tracking. That is the effect I am specifically interested in. Bulge, magnify, and others do work. Can anyone show me how to track liquify? If not I will award points, as is.
Just did a quick test, and following these instructions I was able to track liquify. One thing I noticed is that the the effect point control for liquify defaults to the top left corner of the compostion, but after selecting it choosing to animate, the tracker feature region gets put in the middle of the composition. After moving the + from there to where the effect point control is it worked fine.

If you explain what happens when you try the tracking I may be able to help a bit more...
jj4375Author Commented:
You are right about the point control. Therefore, I will aware points to your first "big" suggestion unless you can answer this: Even when I move the point control, it still acts weird. For instance, if I use the "contract" feature in liquify without moving the point control, then it distorts evenly. But, once I move the point control then it doesn't distort evenly... seems to "constrain" the amount of contraction/location of contraction. Any ideas?
To see what happens when you move the point control, in the liquify settings in the effects controls window, twirl down "view options" and check "view mesh"

If the effect looks good when the point control is in its default position then leaving it there and tracking should give good results.

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