Apple Motion – Blurred Face Motion Tracking Video tutorial

I’m going to be showing you how to do some motion tracking on a clip and apply a blur… like a “cops” effect to blur someone’s face out of a moving camera shot.

We’ll open up a new project in Motion and I’m going to take this clip that I have on the Desktop and import it into this project. So, we’ll open up the layers tab in Motion by pressing command-4. And then I’ll press command-tab and switch to the Finder window. Then I’ll drag the clip from the Desktop to our Motion canvas.

I’m gonna scrub thorough this clip here. This is my friend Heather um… and she’s smoking, as you can see. But I’m just gonna scrub ahead here. She’s finally made an appearance! Aren’t you happy, Heather? There you go, you’re a star! I’ll do some scrubbing on this clip here util I find where I want to start it. Right about there and I’ll set an in point by pressing I. Let’s drag this clip to the first frame here. Then I’ll scrub to where I want to end this clip. Right there looks good and I’ll press O and I’ll drag my workspace in. We got about a 5 second clip here of me zooming in to pretty Heather’s face. Set the project duration to 5 seconds here.

So here’s our clip that we’ll be working on. I’m gonna select it in the layers and then come up over here and apply an analyze motion behavior. I’ll click and drag the first tracking point onto her right eye here and then I’m going to add another tracker and put on her left eye. So let’s just go ahead and analyze this motion right now. Click the Analyze motion button and see how far we get with it. Looking good… okay so we’re done tracking there and if we scrub through we can see. It’s actually, that’s a pretty good track um… I think I feel good about that. We can work with that.

Okay so what I’m going to do is create a new group here. We’ll select that video clip and press command-D to duplicate it and we’ll drag the clip into the top layer here. Delete the analyze motion from the top clip and we’ll hide the bottom group. Now let’s focus on this top group for little. First off I’m gonna select the group and apply a mask. So we’ll come up here and bring a circle mask, click and drag over her face here, and then position the mask. That looks good. And now, uh, with the mask selected I’m gonna apple a match move behavior. And for the source of the match move I’m gonna drag the analyze motion from the bottom clip that we have and I’m gonna select scale so that it affects the position and the scale. And what it will do here is it’s set up where anchor point is for the first track of the analyze motion and then the other tracking point that affects the scale is set to the second tracking point of the analyze motion so that when her face gets closer to the screen her eyes spread farther apart, because it is getting larger, and so this match move behavior will analyze the distance between those two points and it will affect the scale of the parameter that the behavior is applied to (in this case the mask). If we scrub here we’ll see the mask moves, the scale is affected as her face gets bigger, and closer to the screen.

So, that looks pretty good. Now what I’m gonna do is select this, uh, clip here and we’ll add a blur to it so there we go. And then actually this mask let me go into the inspector and feather it out a little bit . So we got a nice feather on that mask and then I can, uh, scale it down, to kind of compress it into her face a little more. Kind of play around with the uh… with the feather and the-uh… scale of the mask.

I can hide the overlays by pressing command-/ on the keyboard and then let’s bring up that bottom group again. So now you can see this bottom group, that doesn’t have the blur filter applied to it, but it does have analyze motion tracking the points of both of her eyes. And then this top group here has a mask with a match move for the source of the analyze motion tracking points and then another clip with the blur applied to it that’s being masked with that match move behavior. So when you play this clip here you’ll see that uh… well now let me go into this blur filter and uh… bring the amount up a little bit. There we go.

So it just blurs that mask part and then leaves the other area on the bottom here um… in focus.

So there you go. A little match move affecting the scale and position of a mask that’ll follow a blur. And if you wanted to… it gets a little bit jerky so you could select this circle mask, bring the playhead to the first frame here, and then from the properties inspector we can right-click on the position and apply an average behavior and then we’ll go back to mask and we can also do it to the scale so that it’ll average out the points and then kind of smooth out the transition a little bit more.

So there you have it everybody. Um… match move applied to motion tracking of two points to affect position and scale. So hope that it’s helped you out and you could be blurring your own faces and license plates. You know, and then also keep in mind that the points that you want to be tracking with this analyze motion behavior should always be in the frame that you’re gonna be tracking. You know, if-uh… let’s say that pretty Heather’s face left the frame than her eye wouldn’t be available to track anymore so you would have to possibly during the time that the — the area that you want to be tracking is out of the frame you’d probably have to apply another analyze motion and then another match move for those frames and then kind of mimic the movement. Or go into the keyframe editor and-uh… adjust the keyframes for the analyze motion manually.

Thanks for watching and thanks for visiting our website.

This tutorial was posted in: Motion

Jasper Thayer is the developer of

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect. is known worldwide for its unmatched excellence in providing top-quality Final Cut Pro X tutorials. Subscribe to our mailing list to remain updated on the latest info about Final Cut Pro X tips, tricks, and tutorials.