How to use Video Copilot’s Sure Target 2 Plug-in for After Effects

Sure Target 2

I love Video Copilot‘s After Effects plugin Sure Target 2, but unfortunately there are no written instructions or manual. Yes, there is an excellent video tutorial. But if you want to look up a feature, you’ll need to scrub through the video to find it.

I took notes on the tutorial and I thought it might be helpful if I shared them with you. These notes are raw and originally for my own use so it may not be a pretty read but you may find it easier to find what you need.

1. Create a new Null Object and apply Sure Target 2 to it.
• It will automatically be made 3D.
• Automatically adds a Camera and Parents the Null to the Camera.

2. Assign Targets
• Camera Targets must be 3D.
• Assign under Target Layers twirly.

Auto-Populate Targets
• In Effects Panel, Make sure Sure Target name is selected.
• Next, hold CTRL and click on the Layers in Order.
• Then click Execute Button under Target Layers:Auto-Populate.
• You can CHANGE THE ORDER by following the same procedure.

Fixing Text Alignment
• Sometimes when you apply this the Text flies off to one side, or you may simply just want to reposition it.
• You can fix this by using the Pan Behind Tool on the text.

3. Animate between Targets
• With Sure Target at top.
• Starts at 1.00 which corresponds with Target 1.
• Change it to 2.00 to go to Target 2, etc.
• You can also set these value on the Null Layer in the Timeline.

To hold a Camera, do as usual
• Open up the Null Layer in the Timeline to see the keyframes. Add more keyframes there.

• SureTarget2 works with Rotation, NOT Orientation.
• Camera will Rotate with layer BUT…
• Auto Rotate is not on by default. You must check it in the Effects Panel.

• SureTarget2 automatically applies easing if it’s set to…
• Effects Panel: Ease Targets: Ease.
• Other options for East Targets: None (which lets you do the easing), Ease-Out (moving away from the target) and Ease-In (moving in toward the target).

• Wiggles the camera. Settings for time, space and seed.

• Just adds some bounce into the camera move.
• To make the bounce work well, you want to set Ease Targets to Ease-Out (’cause if there’s ease on the ease-in then that would interfere with the bounce.)
• The Inertia calculates the speed at which it arrives to the next target (so i guess more bounce for faster moves.)
• Inertia Amount: Overall amount of bounce. (Andrew used 6 and 10 in tutorial).
• Inertia Decay: Works backwards: a higher number (10) will make it cut off sooner and a lower number (3) will make it bounce longer.
• Just remember it this way, Decay decays the bounce, so a higher number will make the bounce decay faster and thus end sooner.

Camera Roll
• Makes the camera turn like a jet. When it turns, it sortof turns towards the side that it’s turning to.
• You need to Enable it.
• Roll Amount: usually want to keep it low if you have a fast animation (.1, .5). Slower stuff (2).

• Basically controls the Auto-Focus of the Camera.
• Also can control Depth of Field.
• It automatically calculates the distance from the Camera to your Target.
• Use Aperture to control what gets blurred out and when.
• Use Blur Level to control how much.

• Allows you to change how close your camera is to your targets.
• Just change the values for Dolly 1, Dolly 2, Dolly 3, etc.
• You don’t need to keyframe this because each target gets its own Dolly value, but you CAN keyframe it if you need.
• You can set to negative values.

Create Baked Camera
• Bakes the Camera Move and turns them into Keyframes so AE doesn’t have to work so hard.
• Expressions can slow things down.
• Motion Blur can slow things even more because it involves sub-frame sampling so it would have to calculate the expressions at a sub-frame level.
• To Use: Set Work Area to where the keyframes are and hit the Execute button. It will take some time.
• It will create a NEW Camera with keyframes and it will SHUT OFF the original Camera.
• You can always go back to the original camera. Just delete the new camera and turn the old one back on and Bake again if needed.
• Make sure Motion Blur is OFF before you bake. Turn it on after.

Condition Protection
• If you turn of the 3D switch of a layer being used, SureTarget will alert you that it needs to be 3D, and then remove it from the Target List.

Refresh Expressions
• Should you get into an Expression error, just hit this button.

4 thoughts on “How to use Video Copilot’s Sure Target 2 Plug-in for After Effects

  1. Thanks a lot for this helpful tip sheet! Really came in handy while searchin the web for a quick guide on the plugin.

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