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Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker

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andy baumgartner
Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:19:20 pm

I'm trying to export After Effects tracking data for use in Cinema 4D. Everything is working great, but I can't find a way to save the tracking points (the colorful ones). I'd like to use them for reference to help me place some geometry in the scene.

Does anyone know a way to do this?

Thanks!


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Steve Bentley
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:32:16 pm

Hi Andy,
What version of AE do you have (and Cinema for that matter) there are different techiques depending on the version.



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andy baumgartner
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:31:29 pm

Hi Steve, thanks for the reply. I am on r19 for C4D and 15.0.1 for After Effects.


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andy baumgartner
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:32:13 pm

Also, I have a broadcast licence for C4D.


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Steve Bentley
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 4, 2018 at 2:22:17 am

First lets see if we can shortcut this issue.
In recent versions of AE there is an Export in the file menu for C4d. I don't remember how far back this functionality went (as in: just a simple export command) so have a look for that first. Unless that's whats not working for you.

Then there's the plug in available here:
http://http.maxon.net/pub/r15/updates/CCImporter.zip
However the plug ins were buggy when the versions of C4D and AE didn't line up so it might not work with your config.

If neither of these work, give a shout and I'll go look up the method we used to use to bring AE in to C4D. It is possible but for some reason people rarely went in this direction so you may not find a lot of info on the web about going AE->C4d, but we used to do it a lot.



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andy baumgartner
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:55:54 am

Thanks for the info Steve. To clarify, I am already using the file>export to get the After Effects tracked camera, and some hand placed reference points into Cinema.

As a sort of intermediate in the "3D Camera Tracker" effect, there are colorful tracking points shown on the screen. As far as I can see they are only shown in 2D (although they must be 3D behind the scenes). I'm interested in getting the 3D points so I can ideally use them as a reference and also for troubleshooting.

Some background in case it's relevant/interesting to anyone: I am trying to add animated 3d arrows which show the flow of water through some large pipes to drone footage. In my current workflow, after I get the tracked camera from After Effects I also need the physical geometry (in the form of a STL file) to create the lines with the arrows travel on. I have to manually rotate that STL file around in Cinema 4D to match 3D nulls I've manually placed in AE in order to register everything. But if I had a 3D version of the colorful tracking points, I could avoid both the STL file and the manual registration points. Or maybe I should just cough up the money for the camera tracker feature in Cinema 4D?


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Steve Bentley
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:16:12 am

I'm just in the middle of something else but I thought I'd clarify a few things if it helps.

If you used a 3D camera tracker the points are indeed in 3D (even though AE is technically only 2.5D - but the tracker data has a full set of 3D dimensions). So those should work in C4D with the exporter.
The exporter should look after the differences in the world space of C4D and AE but in the past we had to manually invert and shuffle some data.
FYI you can copy and paste data back and forth - even write it out to a spreadsheet or text doc - just click on the attribute you want in AE to select all the keyframes and hit copy and you can then paste that data outside of AE in a text doc or spreadsheet or even Word (which is great for removing commas and extra spaces). And then paste that into C4D once it's been corrected for the upside down Y and shifted Zero point (C4D's is in the middle of the world whereas AE's is in the top left corner of the viewport)

Back in the day I tended to use lights to pass position data back and forth. They are treated as a 3D object from the getgo in AE (unlike nulls or solids which are only 2.5D) Also most other apps and plug ins, including bringing data in from C4D, treat lights better than any other object. So try exporting AE lights in your file for guide points to check how the track is doing.

You should have a camera in AE (I didn't understand the comment about seeing if there were settings in AE). Without a camera its just a 2D viewport. And the camera's are compatible between the two apps. (you can also export cameras for position markers as they are true 3D as well). Check to make sure that the camera settings in AE match the ones in C4D. And make sure you are viewing the scene in C4D through the matching camera. Keep in mind too the camera you set initially in AE before the track may have changed to better accommodate the track.

The graphix you have in AE won't export as 3D objects into C4D. You can only export their positions or their "planes" if you export solids. If you need to size something in C4D you can position lights or nulls at key spots (like the four corners of a plane) and get your position and size info in C4D that way.
I haven't gone this direction for a while - the last few projects have been C4D to AE. But this should be more seamless than you are experiencing., unless of course there is a different method of handling in C4DR19 vs AE2015, and given there were always version issues this is a real possibility.
If you can post this onto the C4D forum on the Cow I'm sure Brian Jones or Jim Scott or Adam Trachtenberg would jump on it as well. And we can all pool our grey cells for you.
I'll check in again once i've got this little last minute change out of the way.



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andy baumgartner
Re: Export tracking points from 3D Camera Tracker
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:44:27 pm

Thanks for all the tips Steve!


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