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3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces

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Pippo Baudo3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 8:37:08 am

Hallo everyone,

first time posting for me here, hope I'll do everything clear and right.

My aim is to spread a vector (AI) with ome 3D (C4D) animation across a room walls and furniture, while the camera is slowly panning and rotating in space (let's say 90° rotation overall in 1 metre slide).

I have previously tryied Boujou Demo for simple tasks like placing an animated 3D in common environments and had no problems tracking and working in C4D at all.

Now I am trying to import the Maya camera solve in AE in order to lay down and combine animated compositions on walls/floor/furniture surfaces, associated to the null objects the Maya camera solve imports (I just flag the few tracks I need, let's say a couple per surface).

Well, my problem is: all those Null objects are basically not perfectly stuck to the surfaces and even slightly badly oriented, i.e. not perpendicular to the surfaces they should belong, so whenever I associate a 3d-AE surface to any of them, it does not adhere to the, say, furniture face as it should.

I don't wanna get too long here, so my question is: is there maybe a more effective way/program/plugin for AE that will help me achieving my purpose?

Thanks very much for reading.

Have a nice day

Pippo


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:40:54 am

I used Boujou before, but since The Foundry came out with Camera Tracker, I have found it more easy to use and pretty fast.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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ben g ungurenRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:17:34 pm

I used to use Maya for camera tracking; now I use Syntheyes and love it. I'm so used to using Syntheyes that I don't feel like switching. But from what I've heard the Foundry's Camera Tracker does a great job, and you get a 15 day trial before having to fork out $170 for it. Or you can "rent" it for a few days for significantly less.

The nice think about Camera Tracker would be that you stay in AE the entire time, which is a big bonus. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison of the popular tracking programs (Syntheyes, PFTrack, Boujou, CameraTracker... what else?). That would be a very useful thing to have, though....

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Robert NewtonRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:55:34 pm

Thanks for the tip on Camera Tracker. I've been using Syntheyes for years. Just finished over 100 shots for a series with Syntheyes, and though I really like it, I would love to have something integrated with After Effects.

And at $170, that's a lot cheaper than Syntheyes. I've got some really hard shots I just did. I'll test them with Camera Tracker.

Robert N.



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ben g ungurenRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:37:42 pm

Robert: If you do make the switch, let us (or at least me!) know how the two compare. Syntheyes is great for basic camera tracking as well as object tracking. But it can also do multi-camera tracking, motion capture, etc. I'd love to hear from an experienced user on both how they stack up against each other.

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Walter SoykaRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:50:53 pm

If you're working in both C4D and AE, and you've already gotten a nice track into C4D, you can use Maxon's exchange plugin to export camera and null data from C4D to AE.

If you want to stay in AE, I'll throw in another recommendation for The Foundry's CAMERATRACKER.

Side note: Maxon has just released an AE to C4D exchange plugin [link], so you may even be able to use CAMERATRACKER in AE to solve cameras for C4D.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Pippo BaudoRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:15:15 pm

Wow guys thank you so much for the kind and quick replyes!

I think I am definitely going to give CameraTrack a try, and also to the new Maxon exchange plugin.

I agree it would be interesting to have a good comparison between those trackers out there!

Thanks again and if anyone has new tips and suggestions coming, you're welcome!

P.


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Chris ButtacoliRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 5, 2011 at 2:33:31 am

Honestly, if your just panning and rotating, do you really need a 3d Tracker? Won't Mocha suffice? There is no perspective changing during a pan.


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ben g ungurenRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 5, 2011 at 2:58:08 am

Chris: thanks for bringing us back to the matter at hand, rather than just talking about tracker options. Indeed you can often get away with a planar track from Mocha, or even with a position/rotation/scale point track from After Effects.

One thing that a tracker can give you that Mocha / AE can't is camera distortion information. I'm most familiar with Syntheyes, which will calculate lens distortion, and then remove that distortion from your footage (via a syntheyes-provided pixelbender plugin in AE). I then composite my graphical elements onto the undistorted footage, then use the pixelbender plugin to redistort the full composite.

Pippo is having trouble getting his stuff to stick perfectly. There are a couple specific possibilities:

1. some of the trackers aren't accurate enough. Solution: examine existing tracks & make adjustments as needed, add trackers for a tighter solution

2. There is camera distortion. Solution: add more trackers and solve for camera distortion.

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Chris ButtacoliRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 5, 2011 at 4:42:09 pm

Also with a 3d tracker, you really should know the lens focal length and distance to subject, instead of letting the software attempt to make an educated guess. This could be another possible reason for a bad solve.

Also, you need to let 3d software know that it is is a nodal pan, not a tracking shot, or that could lead to a bad solve as well.


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Pippo BaudoRe: 3D Tracking for placing animation across room surfaces
by on Nov 5, 2011 at 5:07:47 pm

@ Ben & Chris,

thanks guys I am going to dig into your suggestions (lens distortion, trackers accuracy and nodal pan issue) and I'll let you all know.

Btw I installed Camera Tracker in AE and I'm now testing it

Again, I really appreciate the help you all are giving me here

Cheers!


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