Sunday, October 20, 2013

PE12: Motion Tracking/What To Use To Track Object?

INTRODUCTION

A video clip is required for the Motion Tracking feature in which an object in the video can be tracked by a graphic, text, or video. One example might be a person moving in a video and a thought/speech bubble, smiley face, or an arrow (to name a few) following the movement of that person. The tracking is achieved by automatic keyframing of the Motion Position property for the object used to track the moving object in the video.

In either Expert or Quick workspace, the Motion Tracking workspace can be accessed from Tools Menu at top of workspace or Tools Tab at bottom of workspace. It is a simple process of Select Object followed by Track Object.

Motion Tracking in 12 is claimed by some to be an improvement over the feature seen in versions 8, 9, and 10. The feature was not included in version 11, the first Premiere Elements version to have the Expert and Quick workspaces which replaced the Timeline and Sceneline workspaces of the versions earlier than 11. So 12 becomes the first with the new Expert and Quick workspaces to have this feature. At first glance in Expert or Quick workspaces, it would appear that the selection of objects to track the video's moving object is restricted to what is found under the Graphics Tab at the bottom of the interface. And, whether in Expert or Quick workspace, Motion Tracking workspace instructions in Track Object stage include "Attach a graphic or text from the action bar below." See Figure 1.

Figure 1. Premiere Elements 12. Motion Tracking Instructions For Obtaining Object To Track Moving Object In Video.

But, in the "action bar below", Graphics appears to be the only active Tab in the line up of Instant Movie, Tools, Transitions, Titles & Text, fx Effects, Audio, and Graphics. Therefore, when the instruction says "....graphic or text..." it is assumed that the text mentioned is that in the thought/ speech bubble choices which are included with graphics under the Graphics Tab.

ISSUE

What to use to track object in video with other than the Adobe choices found under Graphics Tab at bottom of Expert or Quick workspaces?

SOLUTION

Various tutorials and online comments have pointed to places other than Graphics Tab where objects can be selected and used to track the moving object in the video when the Motion Tracking workspace is opened in the Expert or Quick workspace.

Organizer Tab, Expert or Quick workspace to access Elements Organizer 12. Cascade Windows and drag a video or photo from Elements Organizer into the yellow track box of Motion Tracking workspace.

Project Assets, Expert workspace. Drag text, video, or photos from opened Project Assets into the yellow track box of Motion Tracking workspace.

Graphics Tab, Expert or Quick workspace. Create a png file (graphic) or prtl file (text) and place it in Clip Arts in the Program Files of the program to have a permanent resource. Then from Graphics Tab, drag the newly created graphic or text object into yellow track box of Motion Tracking workspace.

HOW TO*

Organizer Tab, Expert or Quick Workspace, Accessing Elements Organizer 12 For "Track Object" Choice To Track Moving Object In Video
 
This approach can be seen demo'd in the AdobeTV video tutorial "Motion Tracking" in which the process was demo'd using the Quick workspace.
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-premiere-elements-12/motion-tracking/


Cascade Elements Organizer 12 window and Motion Tracking workspace window, and drag a video or photo from Elements Organizer into the yellow track box of Motion Tracking workspace. Figure 2 represents Quick workspace/Motion Tracking at the Track Object stage when using this approach here.

Figure 2. Premiere Elements 12. Quick/Motion Tracking Window Cascaded With Elements Organizer 12 Window To Provide A DV AVI Video Object For Tracking Moving Object (In This Case A Red Dot) In Video.
This approach could also be used in the Expert/Motion Tracking.

Note: In Expert/Motion Tracking workspace, the alternative places to find an object to track the moving object in the video include Project Assets (which Quick does not have), Graphics Tab as well as Organizer Tab. Undo, Organizer, and Graphic Tabs appear to be the only non grayed out tabs in that bottom row of the interface once the Motion Tracking workspace opens.

Project Assets,  Only Expert, Accessing Project Assets For "Track Object" Choice To Track Moving Object In Video

In the Expert workspace, Motion Tracking appears to have three places to look for an object for tracking purposes, that is, Project Assets, Organizer Tab as well as Graphic Tab. Initially, this Project Assets choice was overlooked in its unopened state located on the top right side of the Expert interface, instead of left, when the Motion Tracking workspace is opened. This route offers choice of text .prtl file as well as a video or photo file. See Figure 3.


Figure 3. Premiere Elements 12. Expert/Motion Tracking With Project Assets To Provide A DV AVI Video Object For Tracking Moving Object (In This Case A Red Dot) In Video.
  
Graphics Tab,  Expert or Quick Workspace, Accessing User Created Graphics For "Track Object" Choice To Track Moving Object In Video

The DV AVI file, a JPG photo, and a text .prtl were placed in a folder named ATR Objects at the end of the following Windows 7 or 8 64 bit path

Local Disk C
Program Files
Adobe
Premiere Elements 12
Clip Arts
Common
and in the Common Folder was placed the ATR Objects Folder. The ATR Folder contained the DV AVI file, the JPG photo, and text prtl files which have been used in this blog post report.


Figure 4. Premiere Elements 12. Expert/Motion Tracking With Graphic Tab/User Created Objects To Provide A DV AVI Video Object For Tracking Moving Object (In This Case A Red Dot) In Video.
These three files showed up under the Graphics Tab after their placement in the Program Files. Great, but somewhat unexpected since the Adobe Graphics found are in the .png format at the hard drive save location used. See Figure 4.

MORE THAN ONE OBJECT AT A TIME TRACKING A SINGLE MOVING OBJECT IN A VIDEO

One video tutorial on Premiere Elements 12 Motion Tracking demo's the feature using a thought/speech bubble to track a person at a train station while another has used a thought/speech bubble or video of a highway to track a bicycle rider. In the quest for "different", the following was pursued. It will be for the reader/viewer to decide if the quest for "different" was too much of a stretch here.

STEP 1
A video clip with a moving object is required for Premiere Elements 12 Motion Tracking. A suitable one was not available, so one was created. A Premiere Elements title with a small white ellipse was created in the Titler. The Motion Position property of the ellipse was keyframed for the path that was envisioned for a Halloween effect. Since a video clip is required for Motion Tracking, that keyframed Timeline content was exported to a video file, AVCHD.mp4, using Publish+Share/Computer/AVCHD with Presets = NTSC DV Widescreen.

STEP 2
The AVCHD.mp4 (NTSC DV Widescreen) from STEP 1 was imported into a Premiere Elements 12 NTSC DV Widescreen project and dragged to Video Track 1.

STEP 3
  • The AVCHD.mp4 video on Video 1 was selected followed by Tools Tab/Motion Tracking. In the Motion Tracking workspace that opened, the selections were first "Select Object", that object being the white ellipse on screen, followed by "Track Object" to obtain a yellow track box around the white ellipse object. The "Ghost" graphic was dragged from under the Graphics Tab to the yellow track box which turned blue on its arrival there. Sizing and positioning of the graphic were done, followed by clicking Done. Clicking on Done triggered "applying keyframes"and automatically closed the Motion Tracking workspace.
  • Then, the AVCHD.mp4 video on Video 1 with the white ellipse was selected again, followed by Tools Tab/Motion Tracking. The Motion Tracking workspace that reopened presented with the yellow track box still intact. If blue, a blank space on the screen was left clicked once with the mouse cursor to go from blue to yellow track box. "SELECT OBJECT" WAS NOT HIT. The "Black Cat" graphic was dragged from under the Graphics Tab and placed on the shoulder of the "Ghost" in that yellow track box location. The "Black Cat" graphic was sized and positioned. Clicking on Done triggered "applying keyframes" and automatically closed the Motion Tracking workspace.
  • Next, the AVCHD.mp4 video on Video 1 with the white ellipse was selected again, followed by Tools Tab/Motion Tracking. The Motion Tracking workspace that reopened presented with the yellow track box still intact. "SELECT OBJECT" WAS NOT HIT. The "Spider" graphic was dragged from under the Graphics Tab and placed in the right hand of the "Ghost" in the yellow track box location. The "Spider" graphic was sized and positioned. Clicking Done triggered "applying keyframes" and automatically closed the Motion Tracking workspace.
  • Lastly, the Opacity of the AVCHD.mp4 video on Video 1 with the while ellipse was taken to 0% since it was not needed any longer, and it was showing through the "Ghost".

STEP 4
Embellishments followed, including the Pumpkin graphic from under the Graphics Tab used as static background, and Fade Outs shortcuts applied to "Pumpkin", "Ghost", "Black Cat", and "Spider" track contents.The Expert workspace immediately before export to AVCHD.mp4 (NTSC DV Widescreen) is represented in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Premiere Elements 12. Expert/Motion Tracking. One Than One Object Tracking A Single Moving Object In A Video.

In this example, the white ellipse is the singe moving object in a video, and the graphics of Ghost, Black Cat, and Spider are the objects doing the tracking.

Below is the 4 seconds AVCHD.mp4 (MP4 - NTSC DV Widescreen) export of the project represented in Figure 5.

video


COMMENTARY

This blog post attempted to define the basic question "Motion Tracking/What To Use To Track Object?" In the course of doing that, some exploring and experimenting with the feature got mixed in. For what was done, the Premiere Elements 12 Motion Tracking feature worked well. But, this was not a definitive study on the overall performance of the feature. That is for another time, either as an update in this blog post or as an entry into the September 2013 Premiere Elements 12 Daily Discoveries blog post.


Please see if any of this works for you.

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*Premiere Elements 12 on Windows Professional SP1 64 bit was used for these studies.


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