Insert Layer Text Perpendicular To Surface In Perspective Track

Is it possible to place a text layer perpendicular to a surface whilst tracking in perspective, such that the text appears to sit across the topography of the ground as the source footage flies over the vista ?

Whilst the “field” layer surface with grid insert tracks as expected,
and subsequent “text” layer (linked to field layer) starts in my desired position

over time the text perspective does not match the source footage.

This is understandable since the text is perpendicular to the tracked surface.

Is there an option I can utilise to gain the perspective for the text that I need ?

Or must I employ some sort of 3D object to do this ?

To get something at right angles to the surface properly you’re better off doing a camera solve using your planar data.
Since you have a decent amount of ground there and a potentially static sky to track this should be possible, but it depends on how much tracking you have to do and how much the scene moves.

Thanks Martin.

So the drone shot rises from below tree level up to this point and travels toward the open space. That is quite a bit of movement.

I’ve not used the camera solve feature. How does that work in conjunction with the insert ?

Hi, this is something I’ve been meaning to learn as I know nothing of Camera Solve, I’ve watched these videos in the past but it looks like I’m going have to watch them again in order to learn it, :joy:

I’ve shared just the two,

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Hi @timoto

I’m Afraid currently at the moment Insert Module does not works in conjunction with Camera Solve tab.
You need to export your camera data, and then you could attach a 3D text object to a Null, and orient it however you want.

There is an old but still relevant tutorial that Martin did, that covers almost the same task as you’re trying to achieve

Here it is


Thank you for the pointer on videos to learn from.

Thank you Elizabeth for pointing me toward these videos. This is evidently the approach I need to take to achieve my desired effect. However, I’m always loathed to introduce another application into the mix if I can get away with it. So rather than install AE, is there a way I can use this Camera Solve track data with say BCC Title Studio in Premiere Pro, which also supports 3D objects ?

Well in the meantime I did install AE and pasted in the Mocha camera, and added a 3D text layer, which produces a good result with scaling and perspective over time:

It is important to note that achieving an Orientation of the text layer such that it sits along the direction of the rice paddy footpaths whilst remaining perpendicular to the track surface, it is necessary to match the 3D normals of the 2 objects. This is done by using the Pick whip from the text layer linked to the track surface layer:


It may also be necessary to auto centre the anchor point and copy the track surface position to the text layer, as shown in Martin’s video.

I now want to mask foreground objects, such as palms, against the text. I know how to do this with a Layer Insert in Mocha from Premiere, but what is the best practice at this stage now that I’m in AE ?

Hi @timoto!
Nice to hear that you achieved the desired result!
Answering your last question, about foreground isolation, there are multiple ways how that can be comped in AE. I would go this way:

  1. Make all your needed masks for the foreground inside Mocha as usual.
  2. Create a new Solid layer in AE, and put it right above the Text Layer.
  3. Create AE masks and copy them to the Solid layer.
  4. Now you can set up that Solid as a matte for the Text layer, so you will have cutouts in your text in the shape of the trees.

As an another (and maybe more simpler) method, you can just duplicate original video layer, put it at the very top, then create and leave all your foreground Mocha masks there. So the top layer will only have the palm trees, which will overlap the text.

You may notice, that this methods in kinda opposite to each other. None of them are right or wrong. One or another may be more preferred depending on the shot and the task. But as long as you have not so many layers, it does not make a big difference.

Just use what you find more comfortable :slightly_smiling_face:


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That option to “Create AE Masks” doesn’t appear to be available to me.


So instead I tried

  1. Mocha > File > Export Shape Data…
  2. Mocha shape data for AE
  3. Copy to Clipboard
  4. AE > Layer > New > Shape Layer
  5. Edit > Paste Mocha mask

The mask shapes arrive in the comp, but their position seems to be relevant to an anchor point that might be the top left position of their original viewport, which has inturn been placed in the center of the current viewport. I’m not sure how to match this up reliably.

The shapes, although not yet complete or perfect, should be in roughly this position:

You can see the anchor point is in the top left.

Do you know how to have the Mocha shapes auto match the expected viewport position ?

I can already see this is not an ideal workflow because once I think I’ve got the mattes done right in Mocha, I can not see how they perform against the text until I’ve copied and pasted the shapes into AE to review. Not very real time decision-making in the slightest.

Hmm, Is that first screenshot is from Premiere or from After Effects? Both Mocha AE and Mocha Pro plugin should have such button inside AE.

I can see your struggles with that workflow is not being very real time.
You don’t have to go back and forth with exporting and pasting the shapes every time you tweaked them. You can just enable the “Apply Matte” checkbox then, and everything will be cut out.
Just don’t forget to put that as the top layer. This is the fastest way, and should be fine both for AE or Premiere

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Hello Elizabeth

Apologies for my tardy response.

The GUI screenshot for the Mocha controls is from Adobe Premiere Pro and I do not see the “Create AE Masks” option that you have shown.

Regarding the real-time experience, my current method to follow is:

  1. Adobe Premiere Pro > Mocha Pro > Camera Solve
  2. Copy paste camera data into Adobe After Effects
  3. Adobe Premiere Pro > Mocha Pro > create mask shapes and track
  4. Export shape data, copy to clipboard.
  5. AE > Layer > New > Shape Layer
  6. Edit > Paste Mocha mask

At this point the matte shapes come in but are placed in the wrong start position. The anchor seems to be at the top left of the shapes, but then transposed to the center of the viewport as shown above. I have to manually move them.

Do you know how to have the Mocha shapes auto match the expected viewport position ?

Now that the matte shapes and the “Landscape” text can interact with each other in AE, I can see I need to modify/tweak the matte shapes. But to do that I have to go back to Step 3 editing the shapes in Premiere > Mocha then export and paste the updated tracked shapes into AE to see the shapes interact with the “Landscape” text.

I would love to do this all in Premiere > Mocha, but the “Landscape” text is not created there, it’s created in AE (requirement for following Camera Solve data), so that’s why the process is fraught with human error going back and forth.

I’m hoping there is a workflow step I’ve missed.

Hey @timoto !
I made this quick video for you, to demonstrate another workflow, please watch with sound on. By following this approach, you can continue to edit masks inside Mocha, and see the results on your timeline immediately.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions or something is not clear enough

P.S: Just make sure that inside Mocha you have only the foreground objects layers visible. I forgot to mention that in the video.

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Just to add to Elizabeth’s very nice explainer video, another feature that we have not covered in tutorials in a while is “paste Mocha masks directly to Premiere masks”. For Premiere users, I believe this is potentially a very useful workflow to play with. Here is an older video but still relevant:

In Mocha Pro, export shape, choose Premiere, and copy to clipboard:

In Premiere, select your mask properties in the clip and paste.

Hey @Ross_Shain

Thanks for clipping in.

As mentioned earlier, shape data export paste from PP to AE had been experimented with, but this caused a workflow jam. In this particular scenario, After Effects is required for applying an object to the Camera Solve data, which apparently can’t be done in Premiere alone.

Thank you so much @elizabeth.postol

So very kind of you to go to the effort of creating a video process explainer.

So now I think we have arrived at the solution to my particular need.

I tried both ways and saw the result as expected.

Workflow Recap

  • a. PP > Mocha > generate a successful Camera Solve and export for AE
  • b. AE > Edit > Paste Mocha Camera
  • c. AE > Add new text layer and use Pick Whip to link the text’s 3D normals to a desired Camera Solve object layer (Text should now follow the tracked object with correct perspective)
  • d. AE > Rotate/Move the text to desired position.
  • e. PP > Import the AE comp and place on timeline (V2)
  • f. PP > Mocha > File > Export mocha project
  • g. AE > Apply Mocha plugin to footage
  • h. AE > Mocha > File > Import the exported project
  • i. AE > Duplicate footage and place on the top of the timeline stack
  • j. AE > Duplicated layer > Mocha > Apply Matte [x] make iterative edits to the matte shapes on this layer


    1. PP > Mocha > generate a successful Camera Solve and export for AE
    1. AE > Edit > Paste Mocha Camera
    1. AE > Add new text layer and use Pick Whip to link the text’s 3D normals to a desired Camera Solve object layer (Text should now follow the tracked object with correct perspective)
    1. AE > Rotate/Move the text to desired position.
    1. PP > Import the AE comp and place on timeline (V2)
    1. PP > Duplicate the initial clip that had the Mocha plugin applied (V1) and place it above the AE comp layer (V3)
    1. PP > V3 clip > Mocha > Apply Matte [x] make iterative edits to the matte shapes on V3


  • Probably, though, it makes sense to do the whole thing in AE and at the end import the comp to PP. This would likely reduce the number of steps required and leave a cleaner PP timeline.

Looking at the result, I can see the organic nature of the palm trees is somewhat clipped by the clean cut bezier curves of the matte shapes. Do you have any recommendations on retaining the organic detail ?


Hey Timoto!

You’re right, starting in AE from the beginning would require much less amount of steps for this particular shot. Mainly because you have a 3D text, and Premiere does not have any decent 3D system at all. God news is that even if you started in “wrong” host, you can easily share Mocha project. I mean not only between Premiere & AE, but also Fusion, Nuke, etc. That’s super handy when you’re working in a team with somebody, who prefers a different host than yours.

Answering your last question about the clipped palm trees. Did you tried to use the Feather parameter in Mocha Pro? It is right bellow the “Apply Matte [x]”. I also like to use “Roughen Edges” effect in AE, and play with the Border and Scale parameters. It adds noise to the shape’s edge, and usually combination of Feathering and Roughen Edges works best for organic objects.

Glad to help!

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Hi Elizabeth

Yes, definitely handy to be able to carry the project over to other hosts.

Yes, Mocha’s feathering helped.

I found the Roughen Edges killed Mocha’s feathering, and didn’t produce a favourable result.

One other thing I was wondering, with AE is it possible to see the text layer while editing the Mocha masks ?

I can’t do it as an insert as this would bypass the 3D camera solve, right ?

Well, you can use your text as insert, but because it’s 3D scene, it will require extra steps again.
The suggested workaround below is not exactly how the Insert module was designed to be used, but technically this should work:

  • Put your text layer, null, and camera into pre-comp.
  • Inside the Mocha parameters , set up to use that pre-comp as an insert layer.
  • Next, inside Mocha create a new layer, and expand your surface to be the same size as your images canvas. You don’t need to track this layer (in your particular case), we need it only to “import” the image.
  • Then, in the layer properties, choose to use Insert Layer.
  • set up mattes in the Insert Module Tab and hit render (Gear icon)

Now you should be able to see the text inside Mocha Pro

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