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Is it possible to create a displacement map from a 3D camera track?

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Joe Etemadi
Is it possible to create a displacement map from a 3D camera track?
on Jan 21, 2016 at 2:28:46 am

I have a drone shot over unleveled ground. I used the 3D camera tracker on it and got some pretty solid results. Is it possible to somehow take those points and the tracker data and create a displacement map so I could overlay a grid on the ground that rises and dips where the ground does?

The tracker points seem to see the difference in height and distance from the camera so it seems like it would be possible, I just don't know if After Effects has the tools for something like that.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Is it possible to create a displacement map from a 3D camera track?
on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:53:30 am

Interesting problem to solve. I would try to generate 3d Nulls using the track points and then use Connect layers to create some sort of grid from that. Another possibility would be to try to paint a displacement map over a composite image made from stills from the video that covers the whole area your drone travels over (if it's a large area then this would not be possible). You can then use that to displace a layer with FreeForm Pro, link the position of the FF Pro object(in the plugin controls) with the track data, and then render a mesh output and comp that on top.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Is it possible to create a displacement map from a 3D camera track?
on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:18:17 am

Creating 3D nulls and using Plexus to create the grid comes to mind. It would be a Plexus-style triangulated grid, if that works for you.

Sort of like this, but with more points:



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Joe Etemadi
Re: Is it possible to create a displacement map from a 3D camera track?
on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:34:02 pm

Thanks to both of you! I ended up doing a mix of both suggestions. Using the Connect Layers script, I setup a triangulation of points scattered across the ground. It turned out great!


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