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How to Apply Motion Tracking in After Effects (Detailed Steps)

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

There are so many 3D/2D motion tracking software in the market. When video editing is the concern, one of the best editors that come to the rescue is After Effects.

You all must be aware of this tool. And today, we will be talking about motion tracking in After Effects. This can be considered as one of the excellent features that After Effects provides.

With the help of this feature, one can track objects along with the texts in their footage. If you want the same and wondering how you can do it, this article is going to be of great assistance.

Please have a look at it and learn to apply After Effects motion tracking text.

In case you are in a hurry and looking to edit your video using pre-sets and templates, you can always use Filmora X. It is simpler but equally powerful. You can add motion tracking in just one-click. Just click the object or person you wish to track, and voila! Motion tracking applied.

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Part 1: How to use Motion Tracking in After Effects (Text tracking)

To perform After Effects motion tracking text, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Turn On Motion Tracker

    • Firstly, drag and drop your video clip to the software’s left panel. Once done, you will see the video in the Project panel. Drag it in the timeline.

import file

    • On the right panel, you need to choose the Tracke & Stabilize option given under the Info panel. Choose the Track Motion option from the four-tracker options available.

after effects track motion

    • Now, set the Motion Source as well as Current Track. This will let you view the track point and the path. Now, you will notice a small two squared icon on your screen, which will be denoted as Track Point 1. Of the two squares, the smaller one helps in locating the color to be tracked while the outer or bigger one helps in outlining the scanned area.

Track Point

  • After this, you are required to drag the track point towards the moving object. This is because the small square will focus on the high color point.
  • If your object happens to move fast, you can extend the bigger square. Doing this will slow down the motion tracking, thereby giving a better output.

Step 2: Examine Motion Tracking

    • Go to the Tracker section and choose the Options button. Below the window, set the Stop Tracking option from the default Adapt Feature. Now, set the If confidence is Below option between 90-95%. The program will let you analyze the motion, and you will be able to notice the frame to frame motion.

motion tracker Options

  • You can now hit on the Play button given next to Analyze on the right side. You will notice the movement of the object and irregular stopping. When finding the deviation of the tracker from the object, go to the tracker and move it using the mouse cursor.
  • When the tracker will finalize the motion, go to the drop-down icon given next to your source video. Wait until track parameters and keyframes can be seen.
  • Subsequently, press Alt + Scroll Wheel Up to zoom the keyframes to check each frame. Drag the time indicator in the track so that it will improve the motion tracker. Keep note to maintain the position of Track Point on the object so that you get the proper movement.

Step 3: Create the Null Object

    • Right-click on the vacant space in the timeline and click on New followed by Null Object from the menu. All you need is to get the motion information applied to the null object. For this, you need to connect a few objects to the null object’s motion. When you have done creating, right-click the object and press Rename to provide it a name.

Null Object

    • On the Tracker section now, make sure to enter the appropriate Motion Source as well as Current Track. Hit on the Edit Target option right after this.

motion target

  • From the drop-down, click on the null object you have just named. Hit on Apply given in the Tracker tab. Key in a parameter for the Apply Dimensions on the next window and choose “X and Y” followed by pressing “OK.”
  • Now, you need to use the drop-down menu to get to see the keyframes individually. The keyframes will be similar to the keyframes as in the source video. A red object will be seen moving along with the track point. Keep it as it is.

Step 4: Make the Moving Object

  • Now, it’s time to add the text to the object. To do this, take the help of the large T icon given at the top of the window. On the Character tab on the right side, edit the text.
  • Place it where you like and then hold down the spiral shape icon under the Parent option. After this, you can drag this to the null object. You can play the clip now as the null object has got information about the movement.

Step 5: Refine Motion Tracking

  • To avoid the rough motion, take the help of the Smoother tool. Go to the drop-down given next to the null object and look for “Position” keyframes. Hit on the S-curve icon which is named as Graph Editor.
  • This will show the X and Y coordinates, which signifies the keyframes. These keyframes will increase and decrease by the moving null object. Hit on the “Smoother” tool located on the right side of the window. It will help in reducing the keyframe amount as well as keeping the motion of the object.
  • The parameters will be grayed out now. You are supposed to click the keyframes and drag them within the timeline. These frames will be shown as tiny yellow squares. In the Smoother option, modify the tolerance to 1 and hit on Apply.
  • The keyframes will become less after this. And a smoother movement will be noticeable. That’s it!

Part 2: How to Make 3D Motion Tracking in After Effects

Here are the three different ways on how you can do 3D motion tracking in After Effects.

Step 1: Choose the footage layer and

Select Animation and head to the Track Camera.

Track Camera


Go to the Effect followed by Perspective and hit on 3D Camera Tracker.

3D Camera Tracker


From the Tracker panel now, hit on the Track Camera button.

Step 2: 3D camera will be applied

You can now do the modifications with the settings as per the requirements. The track points in 3D will look like tiny colored x’s. Take the help of these to place the content in the footage.


This was all about motion tracking in After Effects. Whether you wish to track the object or want to do 3D motion tracking, we have provided you a reference that can help you in need. If you found this post helpful, don’t hesitate to comment us below and share your views! Thanks, folks!

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Benjamin Arango
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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Benjamin Arango

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