Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Importing reference video as an image plane

From: Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Video: Importing reference video as an image plane

One important part of Visual Effects work is rendering out the 3D models so that they integrate properly in the composite. One thing that will help you do that successfully is create an image plane as reference inside Maya. We'll use this scene right here to demonstrate that, this is shot1_start.ma. And this is actually the first step of the first tutorial where we'll combine this 3D model, which is a futuristic spyglass, with a live-action piece of footage of an actress. In fact, we are going to make it look like this device is held by the actress in her hand. So how do you create image plane? Well, first thing we need to do is check a few settings to make sure the image plane is used correctly.

Importing reference video as an image plane

One important part of Visual Effects work is rendering out the 3D models so that they integrate properly in the composite. One thing that will help you do that successfully is create an image plane as reference inside Maya. We'll use this scene right here to demonstrate that, this is shot1_start.ma. And this is actually the first step of the first tutorial where we'll combine this 3D model, which is a futuristic spyglass, with a live-action piece of footage of an actress. In fact, we are going to make it look like this device is held by the actress in her hand. So how do you create image plane? Well, first thing we need to do is check a few settings to make sure the image plane is used correctly.

First thing I want to do is check the frame rate of the scene. So I'm going to go down to the Animation shortcut, down here, this bottom right button, click that. It opens up the Preferences window, I'll go to the Settings section in the center, and you see what the frame rate of this scene is. Right now, it's 24 frames per second. Now the video is actually shot in 24 frames per second, so that's a great match, but if you had other footage at a different frame rate, you'd change it here first. Second thing we need to check is the resolution of the project. So I'm going to close this, go to the Render Settings window and scroll down, check the resolution.

Right now, it's set to HD 1080, and that's great because that's a resolution of the video. That's high-definition video, which is 1920x1080, so we're good there. If you have different resolution, you'd change it to match. So check the frame rate, check the resolution, so now we can bring image plane in. Now you have a couple of options in the Image Plane, one is you can bring in the image sequence, or a movie. And movie would be like a QuickTime, or AVI file. An image sequence, which is actually very common for Visual Effects work is a series of numbered frames. Each frame is a whole frame from the video, and that can be exported from a program like After Effects.

So let's say we are bringing an image sequence, and we go up to the View menu for the camera where we want to attach the image plane, in this case, Perspective view. Go to View > Image Plane > Import Image, then go to the Footage folder, go to Shot1, and click on the very first frame in the Image Sequence, and you can see there's a whole bunch of frames here, in fact, there are 60 total. We'll click on 000, open that, and that image comes in as an Image Plane, and that's attached to the perspective camera, or the persp camera. In fact, if I go to another view, like persp1 here, and zoom out, you'll see that that plane is attached to the persp camera.

Now it's not quite useful yet, one problem is I only have one frame of that entire image sequence, if I scrub the timeline, it doesn't move, nothing changes. What I have to do is go to the Attribute Editor for the image plane and make a few changes. If we go back to View and go to Image Plane > Image Plane Attributes and pick the one plane that I have, there are the attributes right here. If I scroll down a little bit there's an attribute called Use Image Sequence. If I click that, it tells Maya to automatically load the frames as you go across the timeline.

In fact, what it does is writes an expression that relates the time to the number of the frame. Now in this case, it's a little bit off, I was to scrub all the way to the end to frame 60, the image plane disappears, that's because the frames were numbered 0 to 59. Luckily though, there is Frame Offset which I can change -1, and I'll change that relationship. So what that means is if I am on frame 60, actually load frame 59, 60 minus 1. When I am on frame 1, it tells it to load frame 0, which is 1 minus 1.

So now we have the sequence loading up one frame at a time. Another problem though is the fact that the 3D model has disappeared, and that's because the image plane is actually in front of it. What we can do though is go back to the Attribute Editor for the image plane, go a little bit further, and there is a Depth Attribute. If I change that Depth Attribute to a higher number, such as 500, it pushes the plane further from the camera, and therefore behind the model, so now we can see that. Now, as we look at the view, right here we can see that the image plane might be a little cut off.

One thing I can do to make sure I see the edges of the image plane, is go up to the View here, go to the Camera Settings and turn on the Resolution Gate. The Resolution Gate will show me the entire frame, and the green line in this case shows me the edge of the render. So now I can make sure I can see the entire thing. So let's try a test render and see what this looks like. With the Perspective camera activated, I'll go up to the Render view shortcut and render out a frame, that's a big resolution, so I'm going to scale the Render view down a bit first, and take a look.

And there indeed is the 3D model in front of the Image Plane, so it's great for reference. Now one problem is, is it's permanently there until I hide it. Eventually, when we render this out, we don't want that there. So there's a way to turn it off just for that view. If I go back to the Attribute Editor for the Image Plane, go up to the top, there is an attribute called Alpha Gain. If I turn that to 0, it hides it from the Prospective view. If I re-render it now, you will see the Image Plane is gone and another good thing is the Alpha Channel is correct, I'll go up to the Alpha Channel, the Alpha is there just for the model, but not for the Image Plane.

Okay, so far we have set the Image Plane based on image sequence, based on some video footage, so we're ready to move on to the next step, where we'll position the camera to make sure that the perspective lines up, so the model better matches the footage.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites
Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

34 video lessons · 5237 viewers

Lee Lanier
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  2. 29m 49s
    1. Working with image sequences
      7m 24s
    2. Importing reference video as an image plane
      5m 13s
    3. Matching the 3D camera to the video footage
      4m 23s
    4. Lighting the model
      5m 35s
    5. Creating mattes and shadows in preparation for rendering
      7m 14s
  3. 15m 38s
    1. Using the Render Layer Editor
      4m 21s
    2. Splitting a scene into multiple render passes
      6m 6s
    3. Adding flexibility by assigning material and render overrides
      5m 11s
  4. 15m 2s
    1. Creating render passes using mental ray
      3m 50s
    2. Batch rendering render passes: Project one
      5m 24s
    3. Batch rendering render passes: Project two
      5m 48s
  5. 19m 4s
    1. Importing render passes into After Effects
      6m 25s
    2. Recombining render passes in a composition
      6m 31s
    3. Transforming multiple render passes as a single unit
      6m 8s
  6. 48m 7s
    1. Setting up a motion tracker
      5m 17s
    2. Using a tracker to analyze motion in footage
      3m 56s
    3. Adjusting tracker options for better results
      7m 2s
    4. Matching layer motion by applying tracker data
      6m 26s
    5. Refining a layer's transparency with rotoscoping
      6m 45s
    6. Improving layer movement with the Smoother tool
      5m 7s
    7. Improving the CG by adding blur and effects
      8m 7s
    8. Adding shadow to make the composite believable
      5m 27s
  7. 32m 36s
    1. Recombining render passes for project two
      5m 17s
    2. Removing unwanted elements with a garbage mask
      4m 57s
    3. Applying motion tracking data to a null layer
      6m 38s
    4. Adjusting shadows and matte edges
      8m 12s
    5. Using color correction to improve layer integration
      7m 32s
  8. 25m 46s
    1. Stabilizing shaky video with the Tracker
      8m 2s
    2. Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option
      5m 31s
    3. Adjusting corner pin points and paths
      6m 56s
    4. Applying corner pin data to multiple layers
      5m 17s
  9. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.