Add Motion Tracking Effects to Videos
What is Motion Tracking
Motion tracking (aka “object pinning”) is a technique used in film and video editing as well as in game production, sports analysis and fitness tracking to detect and follow the movement of objects (people, pets, etc.) within a video or image sequence to create engaging and visually appealing content.
It is an essential part of the special effects (sfx) process and is used in everything from action sequences to subtle visual enhancements. Motion tracking is used to create realistic special effects, such as adding computer-generated images to a live-action scene. It’s also used for tracking camera movement.
Motion tracking works by analyzing the motion of objects within a video or image sequence and tracking their movement frame-by-frame. It is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers to identify and track the movements of objects. Motion Tracking uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and analyze the patterns of motion in a video.
The information gathered through motion tracking can then be used to create visual effects (vfx).
There are several types of motion tracking techniques, including point tracking, feature tracking, and optical flow. Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of technique will depend on the specific needs of the project or application.
Common uses of motion tracking include:
Object tracking: Object tracking involves tracking the movement of objects within a scene. This information can be used to replace objects with computer-generated imagery (CGI) or to add visual effects such as explosions, fire, or smoke.
Face tracking: Face tracking involves tracking the movement of a person’s face as they perform. This information can be used to add digital makeup, alter facial expressions, create realistic facial animations, or add visual effects such as glitter and flying hearts.
Motion graphics: Motion graphics involve creating animated graphics and text that move in synchronization with the movement of objects within a scene. This technique is commonly used to create opening credits, titles, and other visual effects.
Compositing: Compositing involves combining multiple layers of footage to create a single seamless image. Motion tracking is used to align and composite the different layers, ensuring that they move and interact realistically.
Overall, motion tracking is an essential part of the special effects (sfx) process and is used in everything from action sequences to subtle visual effects (vfx) and enhancements.
You can add motion tracking to short videos as well as long videos - 1 minute, 3 minutes, and over 10 minutes. You are not limited to 60 seconds. This is ideal for YouTube Shorts, and longer YouTube videos, TikTok videos, Reels, vlogs, and more.
There are several desktop software applications (MacOS, Linux, and Windows) and mobile apps (iOS and Android) for motion tracking, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and the type of project you are working on.
Popular Motion Tracking Apps and Software
Adobe After Effects: After Effects is a widely used motion graphics and compositing software that includes a powerful motion tracking tool. It allows you to track the movement of objects or people within a video and use that information to apply visual effects or create composites.
Mocha Pro: Mocha Pro is a standalone planar tracking and visual effects software that is used in film, television, and game production. It offers advanced motion tracking features and is known for its accuracy and speed.
Blender: Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation software that includes a motion tracking tool. It allows you to track the movement of objects or people within a video and use that information to create animations or visual effects.
Final Cut Pro - Motion: Apple Motion is a motion graphics and compositing software that is available for macOS. It includes a motion tracking tool that allows you to track the movement of objects or people within a video and use that information to create visual effects.
iMovie: Motion tracking in iMovie works by using a tracking point or reference object, which is then used to track the movement of the subject or object. Once the tracking is complete, users can apply various effects, filters, or adjustments to the tracked area or object, such as adding text or graphics, blurring the background, or changing the color.
PicPlayPost: PicPlayPost’s motion tracking (pinning or pin) feature provides an easy way to pin text, emojis, and animated gif stickers to moving objects including people, pets, etc. You can add (pin) one or multiple text labels and animated gifs in your video. This allows you to add fun and entertaining animated descriptions and visual effects to your videos, or censor objects in your video.
Kapwing: Kapwing’s motion tracking editor helps you pin text and images onto an object as a layer. You can add an image or text box and pin the layer in the Effects tab. Kapwing requires a web browser.
CapCut: CapCut motion tracking lets you attach text and stickers to a moving object in a video by pinning a tracking circle to the object you want tracked. You can adjust the size of the circle to make it bigger to track larger objects or smaller to track smaller objects. You can also use CapCut’s keyframe feature to control zoom and objects from one video keyframe to another.
Cyberlink PowerDirector: PowerDirector allows you to add a title, image, video clip or an effect that you want to apply to your tracked object. You can create a basic motion track to overlay objects at the start and end of a sequence. You can also make the overlay automatically resize with the dimensions of the tracked object.
Adding moving graphics and text to a video is a great way to enhance its visual appeal and engage your viewers.
Steps to enhance videos with moving graphics and text
Choose your video editing app or software: Depending on the device you are using (iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows) choose the app or software that best fits your needs.
Import your video: Once you have chosen your video editing app or software, import the video you want to enhance. Select the video file from your camera roll or download from iCloud or Photos app.
Create your graphics and text: Use your video editing app or software to create your moving graphics and text. You can add text overlays, animated gifs or logos, and other visual effects to your video to enhance its visual appeal.
Most video editing software options include built-in tools for adding text . For example PicPlayPost allows you to import animated gifs from Giphy.
Position your graphics and text: Once you have created your graphics and text, position them on the object, person, or pet where you want them to appear in your video. You can usually do this by dragging and dropping them onto the video timeline.
Adjust the timing: Use the timeline in your video editing software to adjust the timing of your graphics and text. You can specify when each element should appear and disappear in your video to create a cohesive visual effect.
Preview and export (save or share) your video: Once you have finished enhancing your video with moving graphics and text, preview it to make sure it looks the way you want it to. When you are satisfied, export the video in the desired resolution (1080p, 4K, 8K, etc.). You can save it to your device, or share to social media - upload to TikTok, Instagram, Reels, YouTube Shorts, Twitter, and Facebook.
Pro Tip: if you are using an iPhone or iPad, PicPlayPost makes it easy and quick to add motion tracking to your videos. Use the “Pin” option when adding text and stickers to enable motion tracking in a slideshow project. PicPlayPost is among the top 10 best apps on iOS for motion tracking.
Learn Motion Tracking with PicPlayPost:
If you are creating a video for a business, you can also send it to your business contact on messaging apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, or upload it to Cloud storage such Box or Dropbox.
Ultimately, the best app for motion tracking will depend on your specific needs and the type of project you are working on. It's a good idea to try out a few different options and see which one works best for you.