Make the JibJab Effect using After Effects and the Tracker

December 8, 2009

Mentioned In The Video
My Dad’s Retirement Video
Screenvision – Disco Holiday

Tutorial Focus:  

  • How did you get that sexy Ae look?

  • Great Tutorial! AE makes tracking easy

  • Awesoome! You’re the man! 🙂

  • This tutorial would go great with the one Adam Everett did over on aetuts.

  • Very nice tutorial, thank you for the information, I woould like you to do a tutorial on how to make a very good camera mapping or camera projection in After Effects, I was trying the other day but it didn´t seem to work fine. I´ve got very blurry images and light problems.
    Than you, Nick

  • Nice tut Nick – as always 😉
    I also found it useful while tracking motion to analyze 1 frame forward – when things go out of control – it is in the tracker control panel just on the right of the analyze button – when you press it – the engine tracks one frame at a time and somehow it is more accurate (weird stuff i say). So when things go too fast and AE looses the tracking point – just go to the last tracked point and go frame by frame – you won’t need to move the points manually. It works fine most of the time. 😉

    • It seems to me that the AE tracker bases its search on the track feature from the FIRST tracked frame.
      Whenever you stop the track and start it again it resets and bases the remaining track on the tracked feature as seen on THAT frame.

      Whenever dealing with a tracked feature that changes a lot over time (rotation, brightness etc) I find it helpful to activate “adapt feature on all frames” in the options.

  • Your new lighting in there looks great. It seems like you closed the windows and have a consistent temperature, and a nice little kicker behind you.

    • Thanks, Chris. The sky has been so grey and dark, that I don’t have enough light to film anymore. So, I set up a few daylight balanced fluorescents. One as a key with a piece of paper as the soft box. And one as a rim light, just dangling off a curtain rod. It’s an ugly looking setup, but it produces nice light eh? I’ll have to take a photo of it.

  • Hi Nick,

    Nice tut & video of your dad!

    I was wondering did you do the whole movie of your dad in AE or did you use Premiere to combine all the stuff together?

    Great work!

    Like to see more photograph tuts. How to setup the camera for nightshots, etc.

  • Good Tut. If you have a screwing frame where the tracker jumps, I have also found it helpful just to open up the keyframes in the null and deleting them. This way key frames will tween over that short 3 frame period.

    Just another solution.

  • Nick,
    How did you get the mouths to look appear so synced on the creamy orange site? Did you have the actors sing along to the music then roto them and track them to the face? Or did you use the liquify tool and warp an upper and lower lip that is pre com’d with teeth and a tongue? I am just curious because I have done some work like this and have really found the most solid way to animate a mouth to appear talking without doing tons and tons of keyframing.

    • Hi, Thom.

      The eyes and the mouths in that Screenvision short are actual filmed faces that we put in the giant photoshopped heads.

      First, we filmed actors singing the song at half speed and then rotoscoped out their mouth and eyes to put on the heads. We then tracked those heads to the body similar to what you see in this tutorial.

    • When you say half speed do you mean you undercrank the camera to speed the footage. Which, would result in less frames to roto or over crank the footage to slow it down?

    • We played the song slower for our actors to sing. That way, when we speed it back up. It has a cartoony effect.

  • Can’t tell what version you have of AE, but CS4 Production Premium comes with mocha for AE and I’ve found it much easier to track with mocha than with the AE Tracker. I recently had to do something similar with an old BeeGees video, and mocha was much better at tracking the upscaled from YouTube footage.

  • Hey nick, I would love to see a full blown tutorial of the effect that was achieved in the kingandcountry spot that you guys discussed on keyframers.

  • I’ve done this for laughs with a co-worker of mine in a continuing series…

    You can see a few other tutorials utilized in these clips as well!

  • “this is nice.e ……i like..”
    for fixing the kyframs u can simply delete them

  • Dude you look exactly like your dad!!!!

  • very nice effect , but what appends when you want make the jibjab effect with a 3d head that follows the X Y Z rotation?

    i´m realy curious about that, i´m sure
    you know how to do it, thanks again .

    • You would have to do a 3D track for that one. I would mount a helmet or a hat with a TON of tracking marks to do a 3D track. It’s WAY more complicated though. Do a search for 3D track that you should find something.

  • Oh man i’m going to have some FUN with this… (just to check if it worked, and to get a few ideas =P)

  • After watching this tutorial the other day, I was inspired to download a trial copy of After Effects and try to make a Christmas card video using the bobble head trick. Thanks for the tips, here’s the clip…

  • James Grochowalski January 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I created an effect similar.
    I had fun with this one.

  • That´s really great! But it looks like JibJab do that on flash, is that right? Or can I do this effect on After Effects and then interact it with Flash?

  • This may sound simple to alot of people, but once you get the motion of the head how do you put in the mouth movement? Do you have to switch out pictures between the open and closed mouth? and if that is right do you have to parent both?

  • This is a great Tutorial. I did this about a year and half ago now for Trojan condoms. We worked on a “jib jab” website. I made a motion tracking hat for the talent to wear which worked well. What was really cool with this project is that I used this data and exported a Flash file from AE and which essentially creates a distorted version of skews and scales in an XML file for the programmers to interpret.
    We worked with a company called Kolody who wrote some amazing code to interpret the data. All in all, it turned out and looked great.

  • i would be very gratefull if you could make tutorial

    mocha + liquify.

    the tracker included in af cs4 is now very good one u cant move face to much it take time to make it work. mocha is a way better i tried for few days now make mocha and liquify work together and couldnt make.

    liquify just doesnt follow data from mocha and i cant find any info or tutorial about mocha and liquify.

  • Great tutorial thank you so much … really useful 😀

  • quick question – you might have some advise for this NOVICE in After Affects. I have to lay a poster on a surface in a shot. here’s the doozy, the camera rotates to reveal this surface, left to right, and then back out again. I turned on 3D, and have been rotating the image frame by frame, trying to match the rotation in the (2d) shot) I’m thinking tracking would not work for this. IS this true, and any advice for this craziness?

  • Hi, it’s very cool. I want to ask how can i send null object X,Y data to Flash?

  • Hi Nick,

    Firstly, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

    This is a very good tutorial and gave good insight on the effects similar to JibJab. I am looking to create website similar to JibJab specific to particular genre only. I believe using AE, the first time setup of video and tracker is good per this tutorial but how to replace head dynamically means users who will be uploading their face on website and we need to render video using their face quickly? Should we export the video after first time setup to flash and then replace head image with user’s face image? Any pointers here will be highly appreciated as that will help me setup right team with right skills.

    Thanks in advance.


  • Wonder if someone could help me, followed the tut to the book and when i insert a pic it doesn’t add its self to the tracker section it just sits there like a sticker. any help would be much appreciated. thanks in advance

  • Thanks. Good video. My next task is to figure out how to animate mouth movements to music/speech.

  • I had envisioned doing something like for part of my thesis project to explain my research and the solution I came up with, but I’m not very familiar with AE. You did a great job explaining everything how this works to get me started. Now, if you were to do a sequel tutorial showing how to make the mouth open and close like a jib jab mouth my life would be complete. Thanks so much!

  • Make a video for jib jab

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