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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Matching the 3D camera to the video footage


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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

with Lee Lanier

Video: Matching the 3D camera to the video footage

Another important aspect of rendering 3D models for eventual integration inside compositing program is getting the correct perspective. You want to make sure that your 3D camera matches the camera that shot the original footage, for instance the video footage, as best as possible. This will require positioning, rotation, and also checking the lens. Now this scene, here, that we worked on from the previous movie has a perspective camera, that's where the Image Plane is. It's roughly positioned, it's not the position we want to use to render out this model. I want to make sure that we get a perspective that makes it look like this model's being held by this actress's hand because eventually we'll do that in the Composite.
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  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

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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites
3h 9m Intermediate Aug 17, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with image sequences
  • Matching the 3D camera to video footage
  • Lighting models in Maya
  • Splitting a scene into multiple render passes
  • Batch rendering
  • Recombining render passes in an After Effects composition
  • Setting up motion trackers
  • Refining layers with rotoscoping
  • Adding blur and effects
  • Adjusting shadows and matte edges
  • Using color correction
  • Stabilizing shaky video
Subjects:
3D + Animation Rendering Textures Video Materials Compositing Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects Maya
Author:
Lee Lanier

Matching the 3D camera to the video footage

Another important aspect of rendering 3D models for eventual integration inside compositing program is getting the correct perspective. You want to make sure that your 3D camera matches the camera that shot the original footage, for instance the video footage, as best as possible. This will require positioning, rotation, and also checking the lens. Now this scene, here, that we worked on from the previous movie has a perspective camera, that's where the Image Plane is. It's roughly positioned, it's not the position we want to use to render out this model. I want to make sure that we get a perspective that makes it look like this model's being held by this actress's hand because eventually we'll do that in the Composite.

We'll integrate it to make that work. There are several ways to move the camera to achieve that goal. One is to simply use the Alt key and move the camera around in the actual Render view, the Perspective view in this case. We can scroll, dolly, everything we'd normally do in Maya to move the camera. Now you can do that on the first frame or the last frame, I'm on frame1 right now, but we can also go to the last frame and try positioning for that because that's where the actress is holding that to her eye to look through. So the first way is using the Alt key, the second way is a little bit more precise.

What we can do is go find the camera icon and go up to some other view, like the Perspective1 view, dolly back and find the icon, which is right here. Now if icon is too small, we can actually scale it up, it doesn't really affect anything, it's just for your reference. But you can then use Transform tools like your Move, Rotate, or Scale to try to get into a better position. And don't forget rotation is very important. Again scale's just for your reference, it won't to actually affect the view. The third way you can adjust the camera is just to go into the Channel box once the camera is selected, enter numbers here by hand, if you want to be much more precise about it. Now there is more than one solution for this.

In fact, I experimented it myself for a while to try to find a good position for the camera, a good rotation for the camera, but eventually I found that if I'm on frame 60, I came up with some values that worked pretty well, and you can enter these directly into the Channel box. I found that a position of 44, 24, 120, works well, and then also rotation of -12, 21, and 0 is good, and that works pretty well. Now we're not actually going to animate the camera in this case, we just want to get the position roughed in.

We're not doing a 3D tracking job or creating animated camera, we're simply going to position the camera to render out of the sequence and actually add the Motion Tracking inside After Effects. And Motion Tracking will make it stick to her hand. So we're just getting the rough position here, which is basically good for the entire sequence. You can see it's not touching her hand perfectly. The one last thing I check on the camera is the lens. There is a virtual lens here, so if I go to the Camera Attribute Editor, View > Camera Attribute Editor, one of the first attributes is Focal Length, that's a virtual lens.

This is in millimeters. So a real camera might have a lens of 35 mm or 50 or whatever it is, and this is the equivalent. Now a low number is a wide lens, where you see more, for instance, 25 is a wider lens. And you see more of the surrounding. A bigger number is a longer lens, like a telephoto or zoom, like 100, here, would mean that you're zoomed in. In fact, the spyglasses up here at the top of the frame now because it's so zoomed in. Now if I had noticed from the set, I could enter an accurate value here, but because I don't, I don't know what the real lens was that was used on the set, I just have to approximate it. And actually in this case 35 mm works pretty well.

I can just leave it at that. And 35 mm is actually a common lens, which is used for shots like this. Now one quick word about the Film Back, the Film Back is a section that's below that where you can match a very specific camera. And this will replicate the camera's aperture, which is the plate where light enters to start the film or the video. Now if you knew the camera, you could change it. In fact, all the cameras here are film cameras, like motion picture cameras. Now since we don't know our camera, and there is no video camera listed here, we can just leave it on user, but if you were to work on a project with the film camera, and you got notes from the set, you can change this to match that very specific camera.

And any time you change this, it affects the view, in fact, if I just quickly change this to one of these cameras, you see the view instantly changes, based on the physics involved. But for now we can just leave that on User. Now the User is actually set to these numbers, but if you just leave it at User, you'll be good to go. Now we're back to the default User settings. So we have roughly positioned the camera to get the Perspective to work for us. We're now ready to move on to next step, where we'll create lights to try to replicate the lighting that is contained within the video footage.

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