Understanding Warp Stabilization in Adobe After Effects

Warp Stabilization is one of those significant assets inside Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects which can be extremely worthwhile in situations where you urgently need to remove a camera shake or smooth out a camera’s movement to achieve the perfect stabilization of your footage.

Selecting After Effects as your primary platform for using the Warp Stabilization is probably makes more sense for using Premiere Pro as it would give you more advanced options and overall better control over the process. As a rule-of-thumb, Method specifies the most complex operation, the Warp Stabilizer performs to effectuate the best results. The next video covers the rules the four different methods apply while processing the footage.

When you want to use the effect of After Effects, just right-click the layer in the Timeline panel and choose Warp Stabilizer VFX. The plug-in will start analyzing your footage in the background immediately.

This is how the following four methods process your footage.

  • Position  – In this mode tracking is based on position data only and is the most fundamental way footage can be stabilized. What happens in this mode is repositioning of the frame moving only up and down and side by side to stable the clip. This method is perfect for low motion scenes and creates the least distortion in the source material.
  • Position, Scale And Rotation Stabilization is based not only upon position but also adds scaling and rotating of the frame if it’s necessary. If there are not enough areas to track, Warp Stabilizer chooses the previous method (Position in this case) The latter rule applies to the next methods as well.
  • Perspective: This method uses even more advanced algorithm compared to the previous ones and uses a type of stabilization in which the entire frame is effectively corner-pinned. This method is most suitable for situations where you have a more active scene with many moving subjects in the frame.
  • Subspace Warp: In general, this method is most appropriate for situations where you have a lot of depth and complex movements in a scene. Generally, in this mode, the Warp Stabilizer attempts to warp various parts of the frame differently to stabilize the entire frame. The method in use on any given frame can change across the course of the clip based on the tracking accuracy.


Result, Borders, Smoothness, Аuto-scale and Advanced settings give you even greater control over the process. Result settings control how much of the stabilization to be applied to the footage while the Smoothness chooses how much of the camera’s original motion to be preserved and how much to be digitally stabilized. Borders settings adjust how the moving edges of the frame are treated during the stabilization process. Auto-scale displays the current auto-scale amount and allows you to set limits on how much of the frame to be auto-scaled.

There is a staggering amount of situations where you can take advantage of the Warp Stabilizer, however, as we know well, the best executed, the most credible and future-proof effect is the practical one, so use the Stabilizer in situations where you really don’t have any other options available and try to stabilize your camera movement as much as possible while you are on set, not afterwards.

[via wolfcrow.com]

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