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In this course, professional animator and director Lee Lanier shows how to create render passes in Autodesk Maya, recombine the passes in Adobe After Effects, and motion track the passes to live-action video footage that contains a moving camera or a moving character. The course covers both the Render Layer Editor and mental ray contribution pass systems. Additionally, 1- and 2-point motion tracking and match moving, stabilization, and 4-point corner pin tracking are discussed.
We have applied that motion tracking data to the Spyglass Render layer and also rotoscoped that layer so that the handle does not cover up the front of her fingers. Now the rotoscoping took a few additional keyframes. If I look at the mask, this is the number of keyframes I wound up with, and that's to ensure that the shape changes to always fit the front of her fingers. Let's play it back and take a look. So at this point, it's looking pretty good, it looks like it's in her fingers. Now there is still a little bit of tiny motion where it appears like the spyglass is sliding a tiny bit, bobbling or jittering. Now there are several things you can do to try to get rid of that.
Now one problem when you apply the tracking data is the fact that it applies a keyframe for every frame of the timeline, so if you look at the Transform section you can see that the position has a keyframe for every frame. Now that many keyframes packed closely together, often leads to really tiny motion that might not be good for this particular scene or some other project. In fact, if I click on Position, here, you'll see the motion path. If I zoom in, you will see there is a lot of keyframes really tight along this area. If you look closely enough, you can see how there might be tiny jittering going on as it moves back and forth.
So, one way to deal with that is to apply a special tool called the Smoother. Now the Smoother is hidden by default, but I can go up to Window and show that, just click Smoother. It comes up in its own tab over here by the Tracker. Now the idea of the Smoother is you can pick a property such as Position, it's going to look at the curve, and basically the motion path which is associated with that and decimate it so that there's fewer keyframes, while trying to maintain the shape. So tend to get rid of keyframes that are very closely packed together like up here.
Now there is only one setting in this case, which is Tolerance, so Tolerance is how aggressive it is. So if I apply it now, it's really aggressive, it really clears out a lot of keyframes. Not only on the motion path up here, but also you can see down on the Timeline. Now it's probably too aggressive for us, it's going to make it even more inaccurate, I am going to backup with the Undo. Let's try a lower number like 0.2 and reapply it. So it's not as aggressive, it's definitely killed some of the keyframes, and the idea with that is you potentially get a smoother result, so let's play it back now.
Not too bad. Now you can try to do different values in terms of the Tolerance, you just have to undo each time and reapply it. If you apply it multiple times it will be more and more decimated. Now that's one solution, and that's okay in this situation. Another way to approach any kind of unwanted small motion is to deal with the keyframes directly. For example, you can scrub through the Timeline and try and identify any place where maybe the spyglass is slipping, let's find a spot. Looks like right here if I scrub back and forth, there's a little bit of slippage, where it kind of jumps a little bit.
Now one problem is the mask is also a little bit off there, so before we edit the keyframes and the position, I think I'll go ahead and go back to the mask. Now you can edit this as much as you want, whenever you want. I am going to show the mask again, click on that layer to see it, double-click it to pick the entire thing, and move it up and down with my arrow keys. That's actually a shortcut, you can move it interactively like this in the viewer, or once the entire mask is selected use your arrow keys on your keyboard to move it up and down. That's great for really small fine tuning. Let me hide the mask again.
Now I can still adjust even though it's hidden because it's selected, that looks a little bit better. In any case though, aside from the mask, it feels like there's a little bit of a jump here where it's just sliding maybe too far to the left all of a sudden. Now it looks like these keyframes right in this area are a problem. So one solution, in this case, is to get rid of those. To do your own manual smoothing, I could pick these two keyframes and delete them. Now the motion path is unbroken, it's still there. I just have fewer keyframes, and it has to make a bigger jump between them in terms of the motion path.
But sometimes that will solve any kind of really small jittering, so let's see if we can play that back. So I think that little area looks better. Now there's probably other areas to deal with, and this is not going to be a super fast solution, you might have to spend a little bit of time editing these keyframes down here to determine what might be causing any kind of unwanted jitter. Now associated with deleting the keyframes, if you want to you can also update the positions. For example, let's say that you felt that certain frame had the spyglass too low. Well, you can go to that frame and then put your mouse over the X, or the Y, and then click left-mouse drag to increase, or reduce, the value.
Now note the mask will slide along with it, so you have to be careful with that. That's one solution to update the position manually. So I am going to undo that for now. Just keep that in mind for possible way to fine-tune that position curve. So we have applied the smoother to try to simplify that motion path to have fewer keyframes to move some of the jitter and slide. We have also manually deleted a few keyframes, and then we talked about how two update a keyframe for the position. Once you feel that you have sufficiently adjusted the position, curve, and the motion path, and have the motion tracking looking well, you can move onto the final phase of this project.
Where we're going to adjust the color, and other qualities of the render, to better match the original footage.
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