How to Use The Facetracker Tool Inside After Effects

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The face tracker is an innovative tool that Adobe introduced with its 2015 After Effects CC release and it enables you to track faces very accurately. You can then use masks or different effects on the track region to bring your editing to a whole new level

This feature is great for tracking videos and shots with faces pointed mostly at the camera and it’s a great shortcut to getting a face outline quickly

So let’s go ahead and take a look at how to use this amazing feature step by step


  • First, as usual, we’ll import a footage file inside After Effects and create a new comp from it
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-1
    Next, we’ll need to select the mask tool by clicking on it in the tools panel or you can press “Q” to jump to the feature and press it again until you reach the “Ellipse Tool” section
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    We’ll create a simple elliptical mask around the face
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-3
    Next, we’ll need to right click on the mask in the composition panel, and choose “Track Mask”
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-4
    This will bring up the tracker menu with various options and methods from tracking and for this example, we’ll choose “Outline Only”. The more advanced “Details Features” will pick up the locations of facial features. This will improve the mask and add various additional points to get a nice curved mask around the face
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-5
    Click the play button to start tracking forward
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    The mask will change its position and shape as the subject moves
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    Once the tracking is done, we can assign the mask as an effect
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    The face mask behaves like a regular mask, and it can be feathered, expanded or it can have various settings for the opacity
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-9
    We can apply various effects straight on the footage – as the mask is assigned to work as an effect and a good option for this would be to use the fast blur to mask out the face. This is a nice alternative to using regular tracking for this blurring purpose
  • If you’d like to track specific points in a person’s face, such as the eyes or the mouth, you can set the tracker to Face Tracking – Detailed Features ModeHow-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-10
  • Using this technique you can change a person’s eye color or change the position and movement of the mouth, without having to manually place keyframes
  • How-to-Use-The-Facetracker-Tool-Inside-After-Effects-11
    This type of tracking will also give you information on have open an eye is or how open the mouth is across the timeline
  • You can export all this data to Adobe Character Animator and perform character animation and movement

Things to consider when applying this method:

  • The bigger the face is in the actual shot, the more pixels AE will have to analyze, so the longer it will take
  • After masking, make sure you have your mask selected in order for your tracker panel to show up

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please stay tuned for more cool posts coming soon.

Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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