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Shadow and reflection on floor layer

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Robert McGowanShadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 21, 2014 at 3:44:55 pm

Hi There

is it possible to have both the shadow and refection on the same floor layer?

I have a movie file shot out doors with a glass top table. I want o add a 3D text or object to the scene so that it appears to sit on top of the table.

How do I get the reflection of the object/text to show both shadow and reflection on the floor layer?

Which would be the best material to use for this, I have looked in the materials swatches and cannot see a glass material suitable.

can you help
thanks
robert



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Edward WuRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 21, 2014 at 7:23:09 pm

Hi Robert,

Sure, it's definitely possible to have both shadows and reflections be on the same floor layer.

To do this, first create a material in the Material Editor panel that has both a Transparency value and a Ray Trace Reflectivity value set up. Create the floor and apply that material to the floor. Then, create the 3D Text and position the text so that it is sitting above the floor.

Next, create a Light Track. Select the light in the Object List and go to the Object Controls panel. In the Object Controls panel, enable the Shadow Casting control. After doing this, you will have a reflective floor surface and also see the shadow of the text on the floor surface.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best,
Edward


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Robert McGowanRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 21, 2014 at 9:43:37 pm

thanks for the feedback Edward.
However I just want to display the refection and shadow, as the glass table is real live video (in my garden at home) and not 3D.
So I have motion tracked the table with the 3D camera tracker and now wish to add a text or object to the scene.

I know that I could use a floor layer as a shadow catcher which displays the shadow of the object, but how do I display the reflection as well ?

many thanks



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Brent WillettRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 22, 2014 at 4:59:45 am

Hi Robert.

You can get exactly what you want if you use two floor layers.

Set your scene up just like Edward described, except on the first ground plane, make the material an Absolute Color and set the transparency to 100 (100% transparent). Then set your ray traced reflection settings how you want them. The cool thing is that with the material transparent, it still displays reflections.

Now, make a new ground plane, and put it's Y position value at one less than your first ground plane (if the first one is at 0, make the second one at -1). Then apply a shadow catcher material to the second plane.

That's it.

Here's a quick example I put together:



Brent


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Robert McGowanRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 22, 2014 at 11:03:30 am

thanks for the info Brett

I am now trying to line up my text with the background image, however after moving the object in PA
I go back to AE and the location has changed, is there an easy method of doing this ?


is it best to keep the objects at 0,0 etc...



thanks



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Brent WillettRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 22, 2014 at 2:15:13 pm

Hi Robert.

The image shouldn't move between the ProAnimator setup window and After Effects as long as you are using the Main Camera in ProAnimator. Also, you need to make sure that the solid that ProAnimator is applied to is comp size. That could cause a shift if that solid isn't comp size.

But, to get it to track with the table you'll want to check "Use Comp Camera" on the ProAnimator effect.

You mentioned that you had already tracked the shot. If you used the built-in camera tracker in After Effects CS6 or CC then all you have to do is pick one of the points it gives you that's the closest to where you want the text to be on your table and right click on it. Then choose the option to create a null and a camera.

When the camera is created, your text will jump somewhere else, but probably not actually on the table. However, it's now locked to the scene. You could go into ProAnimator and move the text around to get it into the right position, but that means a lot of trial and error, going back and forth between After Effects and ProAnimator. There's an easier way.

To get it in the right place, click on your ProAnimator layer and twirl down the little triangle next to "Trackers". Now, click on the "External Tracker 1" drop down and choose the Track Null layer that the camera tracker created. Next, go into the ProAnimator setup window, and make sure your text is at position 0,0,0. Go to the Animation Controls panel. On the far left there's a drop down box that says "No Parent," click that and choose "External Tracker 1". You won't see anything happen in the preview window, but when you go back to After Effects, your text will be at the location of the null, which should be sitting on top of your table.

If you have your floor layers on separate tracks in ProAnimator, you'll have to parent those to the External Tracker 1 too. There might be a little bit of adjusting you'll have to do to get your text in exactly the right place. But at this point, you can move the null in After Effects, and the ProAnimator layers will move with it. You'll just have to click on the "Update Tracking" button in the ProAnimator effect after you move the null.

That should do it.

Brent


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Edward WuRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 22, 2014 at 5:04:30 pm

Thanks for the awesome information Brent! The example picture you provided is great as well!

Robert, Brent is spot on with creating the transparent plane using the Ray Trace Reflections and also creating a second shadow catcher plane for the shadows. His tip for using the tracking is very useful as well. It will prevent you from having to make a lot of adjustments. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

Best,
Edward


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Robert McGowanRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 22, 2014 at 10:11:35 pm

Hi Brent thank you for the information very useful!

however my other problem was when I create the camera and solid, the solid tends to be the size of the target, thus when you attach this to PA the text is very small on screen, increasing the null size is not a satisfactory solution, and increasing the object or Text doesn't have the required effect.

I have just done a experiment with my footage, camera tracked and made both a camera and null and solid.

with the null selected for the tracker in AE, then switching to PA, I make sure I select the external tracker.
However I am still not getting a good line up with the PA render and the AE screen, its very hard to get a correct orientation of the 3D object except on the first fame, it would be a great addition for PA to update with the current frame in AE.

I have tried this on several clip files and never really got a satisfactory sync.
Any further advice would be great.

I will persevere as PA is such a great piece of software, but the tracking is letting me down a bit.

I have also tried pulling in a MOCHA 3D camera with various nulls attached and again have had trouble syncing the PA TEXT/OBJECTs with the AE timeline... very frustrating, I wondered if Zaxwerks could provide a video tutorial on the best method, I'm sure others would be very interested and certainly extends PA's versatility.
Best
Robert



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Brent WillettRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 23, 2014 at 7:13:13 am

Hi Robert.

I'm sorry you're still having some issues. I'm not sure off hand what might be giving you the problems.

I do see what you mean about the camera tracker nulls being very small, but I was able to bring the scale up on them (although it was a very high value, something like 1500%) and the ProAnimator text was then a reasonable size.

You should also be able to go into ProAnimator and scale up the track. Or you could even go into the text layer itself and make the size of the words bigger in the text window.

The only other thing I can think of is to make sure you have checked the box to use the comp camera. It's the camera that will lock the ProAnimator elements to the scene. And don't forget to click the Update Tracking button if you move or scale the null.

Otherwise, maybe Edward has some other insights. He's an excellent resource for all things Zaxwerks. :-)

Thanks,
Brent


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Robert McGowanRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 24, 2014 at 4:16:06 pm

Brent, Edward







I have uploaded a video explaining my problems with PA and Camera trackers
I'd like to hear from you if you have any answers to the film, what am I doing wrong, why doesn't PA track integrate well with AE...

best robert



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Brent WillettRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 25, 2014 at 1:28:29 am

Hi Robert.

I'd be happy to look at your video and try to see what might be causing you problems. When I try to play it, though, it gives a message that says "This Video is Private."

As an example, I put together a video where I used the steps that I had outlined before to track some text from ProAnimator into the scene. It worked very well. Here it is:

After Effects camera tracking with ProAnimator text



The only thing I ran into that I didn't mention before is that the camera tracker sometimes rotates the nulls to match the floor, but if you put the Orientation values back to zero, the text should be in the right place.

Let me know when your video is not private any more, and I'll take a look at it.

Brent


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Robert McGowanRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 25, 2014 at 7:37:53 am

Hi Brent
thats a great piece of tracking , very smooth!
Do you wanna do a tutorial on it ?

My film should be public now, yes please take a look and let me know your thoughts

Thanks
Robert



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Edward WuRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on May 27, 2014 at 9:57:49 pm

Hi Robert,

Thanks for posting the video. I was able to take a look at it and see what you are running into. As Brent mentioned, there are two ways to go about this. You can go with either ways and it will get the look that you want.

The method that Brent mentioned lets you use parenting to quickly attach the text to the table that you are working with. However, the down side to working with this method is that when you are using external parenting, you do not see the results of where the object ends up position-wise. This can cause confusion and frustration as shown in your video since your text jumps in position and it can be hard to wrap your head around where the text is. One thing that I did notice in your video is that you were re-positioning your Null and applying rotation but not seeing the change in the After Effects Comp. Keep in mind that you have to click on the "Update Tracking" button when working with external trackers. Any time you make adjustments to the tracker layer you are working with, you will need to update the tracking. Once you click on the update button, your text will change in position. Then, as Brent mentioned, simply go into the ProAnimator Set-Up window and adjust the size to the Pose, such as increasing the scale to 1500% as Brent mentioned. This may help with what you are currently struggling with since you just need to change the position of the Null in the After Effects Comp, then change the size in the Set-Up window.

The second method is to simply set ProAnimator to use the Comp Camera. Then, go into the ProAnimator Set-Up window and make adjustments to the text. This method may be easier in some regards because the position/size/rotation of the text you see in ProAnimator is exactly what you see in the After Effects Comp. It may be much easier for you to set up the position/size/rotation of the text in ProAnimator since everything relates better to what you are seeing in the After Effects Comp. You may need to make a few adjustments to get the text to sit exactly where you need it to sit, but this may be a more visual approach to lining up the text since you are able to see all the adjustments line up exactly as you see in After Effects.

Hope this helps. If you're still having problems, please send the project file to me at ed@zaxwerks.com. I'd love to guide you through the steps and get you up and running.

Best,
Edward


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Edward WuRe: Shadow and reflection on floor layer
by on Jun 13, 2014 at 6:22:59 pm

For anyone interested in this topic, what helped Robert out the most was setting up the text inside ProAnimator so he can see where his text is in relations to the footage. To do this, we had to first set the ProAnimator layer to use the Comp Camera. Then, jot down the coordinates of the layer you are trying to match. Using Robert's example project, the layer he was trying to match had position values of 959, 554, and -6773.5.

The most important value is the Z Position. If the Z Position is off, then the object will not match up with the camera at all.

Go into the ProAnimator Set-Up window, create the 3D Text and go into the Pose Controls. Then, set the Z value. Note that the Z value is -6773.5. However, in ProAnimator we will need to set the value 6773.5 instead of -6773.5. After doing this, the text will be sitting relatively close to the layer we are trying to track. Then, we just need to tweak the Y value to get the text to sit on the table.

This was a method that Robert liked because when using the Editor Background feature, it provides a nice visual cue as to where the text is sitting in regards to the footage. Hope this helps anyone who is working on tracking text/logos to a moving footage. Have fun!

Best,
Edward


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