I downloaded an 80s cartoon intro (Jem and the Holograms; traditional cel animation) and I want to animate cutout photos of various family members' faces overtop the cartoon faces. Bonus points if I can apply some "worn out VHS tape" effect to the photo faces. Time permitting, I might even like to add some Terry Gilliam cutout jaw movement.

If I set up tracker points for the cartoon characters' eyes in the Movie Clip Editor, how do I get the photo face to follow these points, such that closely spaced markers indicate the photo face should be smaller/further away and vice versa, or approximate the head tilt like the popular "Elf Yourself" Christmas videos that were hot a few years ago? This seems doubly difficult since the cel animation has a lot of quick cuts and scene changes.


Track the element over which you want to overlay the image.

With the tracker selected got to the Solve tab and in the Geometry dropdown, click on Link Empty to Track.

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That will create an empty that is parented to the camera and moves with the movement of the tracked element.

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Add the picture of you want to overlay one using Import Images as Planes

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Parent it to the empty: select the plane with the image and then while pressing Shift select also the empty and press Ctrl P.

Now your image will move with the empty.

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You might want to enable the video clip as background image at this point to see the have a reference of the movement.

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For elements that change size or perspective you create a Plane Track tracking four points of the video. The instructions on how to do that are here:


and an excellent tutorial by Sebastian König here

When you are done adding all the elements you want, you can render the scene using a node setup like this where you add your scene to the background video.

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I'm just going to deal with the tracking part. The texturing should be a different post since it is a different question, and there is enough information here and here on how to pull that off.

  • $\begingroup$ "Link Empty to Track" was the secret ingredient I needed, I think. Is there any meaningful difference between using a movie clip node in the compositor as shown in your last screenshot versus using the Video Sequence Editor? $\endgroup$ – amonroejj Aug 29 '15 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ The compositor will give you access to other tools used by the Movie clip editor like masks, 2d stabilization and I find is more intuitive. But that might be just a personal choice... $\endgroup$ – user1853 Aug 29 '15 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I don't have an "Import/Images as Planes" menu option. Not a big deal since I know how to add image textures to a shadeless material and stick it on a plane. $\endgroup$ – amonroejj Aug 29 '15 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ It's an addon. It shuld be enabled by default. If not you can enable it in the system preferences. It just saves you the hassle of creating a plane, scale it to the size of your image, UV unwrap and assigning the material... $\endgroup$ – user1853 Aug 29 '15 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a way through constraints or drivers to automatically make the overlaid heads visible/invisible at the appropriate time based on the track marker it's following? $\endgroup$ – amonroejj Nov 2 '15 at 2:23

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