How to Camera Track in After Effects

Written by Myles Doncaster

Camera tracking can allow you to make very convincing visual effects even if you have a moving camera. Normally, you’d need to use tedious keyframing to keep track of your elements but with Camera Tracking, you can do it all automatically

To get started you of course need your footage and the visual effect you want to add to it. For this example, I’m going to use a bit of stock footage that I’ll add an explosion to

We start by dragging everything into our after effects project. Create a composition based on the settings of your footage.

I’m going to select the stock footage and on the right-hand side go to tracker and click track camera. This should take a little bit of time but once it’s done you’ll be most of the way there.

Under the 3D camera tracker drop down you’re going to change “render track points” to on. This lets you see all the points that are being tracked in the footage.

Now select an area on your preview window where you want to track something in. The red target will help you choose an area that’s facing the right way.

Once you have an area you’re happy with you’re going to right-click and create null and camera.

Now you drag in whatever your tracked object is, in this case, it’s my explosion.

I’m going to head under the transform menu and grab the pick whip from position and drag it to the position of the null object. You might need to resize or move it around, just make sure you use the scale and anchor point sliders so you don’t make a mess of the position.

This will ensure the tracked object will follow wherever that selected area wherever it moves in the footage and allow you to get easy peasy visual effects comping in minutes.