Advanced perspective corner pin tracking in After Effects

Today we continue our tracking motion series with a blog post that will show you how to make advanced perspective corner pin tracking in After Effects.

The first two posts treated subjects like how to track simple motion in After Effects and 3D tracking with Shadow Catcher.

Remember to watch the video tutorial and see how Jeff, our Adobe certified instructor, creates this corner pin tracking.


Now let’s start.⬇

You should open up the tracker.

Click on the track motion button. And from track type, choose

perspective corner pin.

Parallel corner pin doesn’t work in this case because it’s not parallel.

But perspective corner pin does. Click on that.


And you can notice that ⬇

that has four track points.

So also we’re in the layer panel again.

You probably didn’t even notice—you can’t tell that you switched from one to the other, right? But we’re in the layer panel now.

And we’re going to drag each corner point, each track point to the corner.

4 track points

So I’m going to zoom in a bit here to the three to keep a couple of times, or maybe once is enough.

If you do twice like this and it looks like it’s not going to work, if it’s too far off the side, just grab one of these guys and drag it and the scene will move. So you’re not stuck.

I’m going to put the attach point right there at the corner.

After Effects Academy Member Extra

Access your ‘Tracking Motion in After Effects ’ Course in the After Effects Academy.

Jeff Sengstack will talk about how to track motion in After Effects.

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Here’s the video tutorial:


Now let’s get back to our post ⬇

We want to look right there, we’re to look in that area which is plenty fine.

We don’t need to be too specific about this but that’s—like that, however you do this.

I can move this outside thing like that a little bit.

But it’s not so critical. The edges are easy to find here.

Zoom back out a bit, comma key.



And drag it over as well. It’ll zoom in again. Take it right to the corner like that.

And I’ll take my hand tool and

press the “space bar”

and move the entire panel up like this.

Notice ⬇

I’m not moving a layer. I’m just moving the panel.

Grab this guy where we’ve got the four-pointer going there. Pull to the right and that magnifies again.

I love that it magnifies. It’s really clever.

Let’s see what to do next ⬇

Go to the corner there. It’ll take you and move you to the corner here as well. And right, there you go.

And now we’re going to track this thing forward, the same way we did before.

So I’m going to zoom back out again by pressing

“Shift + /”

to see the whole panel, see the whole frame.

And I click on the

Analyze forward button

because we’re starting at the beginning again.

You do want to line things up from the beginning.

So we’re analyzing forward here.

And watch these guys track that motion which looking at it from here looks like they’re doing a great job.

I don’t see much jumping around and stuff. So that’s good.

And now check out the number of key frames.

Press “U” for key frames

and it’s just a mess.

And the last thing I want to do is to try to connect these four attached points to four points of the sign that I want to add to this scene.

But there’s another way to attached points and that’s called the

Edit Target Methodology

So I’m going to go down here and add my sign to the scene. So I’m going to get out of the layer panel, we’re done with the layer panel now. Close that down.

I’ve got a sign here that I just yanked off the internet which I thought was humorous (sign.jpg)

You should just drag it down and add it to the scene.



And now I’m going to go back to this one here (sign.mp4), make it active.

Back down here the tracker, I need to select the motion source—now it’s going to tell it

not the track but to apply all those key frames to something else.

So when you do that you need to tell what the motion source, so the motion source is that video which we all know.


motion source

And it opens up the layer panel again. You don’t have to but it does.

And then, in your tracker pannel, under Motion Tracker, it says

Edit Target

I need to tell it what it’s applying this thing to.

Well, it automatically picks the other layer in this case which is the jpeg file, which is great.

So I say that’s what I want and click the ok button.

And then you need to tell it after you say edit target—because people forget this a lot—you need to apply it.

A little button down there

click “Apply”

And it’s now applied it.

Check the image below to see the motion source, the motion target and the apply button.



And now if you look at what happens to the sign.jpg, it adds this thing called the “corner pin effect” which is actually an effect, it’s an honest-to-goodness effect inside After Effects.

You should look it up in the Effects panel.

It adds a corner pin effect and applies the key frames to each of these four points

  • to the upper-left
  • upper-right
  • lower-left
  • lower-right points


corner pin effect

And also, adjust the position overall for this sign.

Let’s try it ⬇

As you can see in the video tutorial, it locked it in pretty well.

I do see the edge of the sign here.

And we could live with that or I could scale this sign a little bit and compensate for that.

I could go for sign.jpg and

press “S” for scale

Remember the After Effects Shortcuts for changing layer properties?

Break the scale here because it looks like I just need to move it a little bit on the X value slightly like that.

And again, I could adjust the anchor point a little bit, slide it to the right to make a little compensation for the fact that the edge is showing there.

But then fine-tuning it after the fact like this is not at all unusual when you’re doing this kind of work.

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Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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