Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fringe and Floating Text

Not too long ago, we learned how to utilize motion tracking in After Effects. The ability to have an image or piece of text that you've created follow the camera movements to appear as part of the environment is a very valuable skill. As a media production major, the more tricks of the trade I learn, the more I start to see them used everywhere, and motion tracking is no exception. Lately I've been binge watching the Fox series Fringe on Netflix, and old favorite of mine that makes heavy use of motion tracking techniques.

Fringe is a show about the investigation of pseudo-science and unnatural phenomena. As you can imagine, a science-fiction show like this would make use of a lot of effects, but perhaps most notably are the floating text effects that the use during their establishing shots. Multiple times each episode, there are giant 3D letter floating in establishing shots, indicating where the story is taking place at the time. 

These words move with the camera movements, making them appear as though they are a part of the environment. The show creators also use other effects to really try to make the words appear to be in world, by including reflections in glass buildings and puddles, and even having the weather interact with letters. To see effect in motion, check out any episode, you'd only have to watch the first couple of minutes before seeing this effect used. Or you can check out this quick little demonstration video.

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