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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 come up with a good motion path by applying the Tracker to the footage. We have tracked that X on the piece of tape as it travels through the scene. As soon as you feel that you have created a good motion path, and it's accurate, you can apply that data to a different layer, and therefore activate the actual motion tracking. In this project, we're going to apply the data to the Render layer, which is the nested version of that spyglass all combined. Before we apply the data however, we have to do one additional step in this composition to make this work. I need to go to the Matte layer, go to the Parent menu, and change it to Render.
I want the Matte layer to follow the Render automatically. The Render layer is going to get the motion data. However, I don't want to apply the data second time to the Matte layer. So what I can do to save time is simply change its Parent menu to follow the Render layer automatically. So now we're ready to try to apply the data. I am going to go back to the Tracker, and the first thing I need to check is the Edit Target button. I need to tell it what layer to apply the data to. So I need to switch this menu beside layer to Render. I can only apply data to one layer at a time. So I have to pick the one I want to apply it to.
So, I'm going to click OK. And now I can go down to the Apply button, and apply that data. It's going to ask me if I want to apply it in the X and Y? And I do, I want to apply the left- right and up-down movement, so OK, and there it's applied. A couple of things happened. One, if I check out the Render layer and look at the Transforms, the Position property is animated for every single keyframe, that's where the motion tracking data winds up. Another thing that happens is the thing you applied the data to is going to move. In fact, our spyglass moved way up in the air. Let's play it back to see how it's working.
So Tracking is working, however the spyglasses is hovering up in the air, it's following the stick, at least it's relative to it, but it's not in a good position. Why'd that happened? Well, what happens is when you apply the tracking data, the position is animated, but basically wherever the anchor point was for the layer you applied it to is moved to where the motion path was. Now, because the anchor point for the spyglass is in the center of frame, the entire frame was moved upwards so that anchor point was stuck to where the motion path was, and that's where that little X was moving. So therefore it's too high.
Well, how do you solve that? What you can do is adjust the anchor point before you apply the Motion Tracker. So, what I'm going to do is destroy the position animation. I'm going to turn off the Time icon. That gets rid of it. Then reset the spyglass, or Render layer, and then do some preparation work by altering where the anchor point is. You can see the anchor point in the viewer, it's actually a little circle with four little lines coming out from it. It can be a little hard to see, there it is right there. It's a little circle with four little lines, that's where the Anchor Point is.
Now, by default, that is placed in the exact center of frame when you make a new layer. I want it to be up here behind the spyglass, because I want that X on the tape to be basically behind the spyglass, or where you see it in an opposite fashion, the spyglass seems to be in front of this pole, and this X. So, I need to place the anchor point where the X would be. So I'm going to grab the Pan Behind tool, which is this little square with the four arrows. I can use that to interactively move the anchor point, click-drag up to here. So, you can imagine that when this is in place, the pole is here, tape is here, and the X is somewhere in this area. So, it looks like a pretty good position.
So I'm going to go back to the arrow to get out of that tool, and now we can try to reapply. I'm going to go back to my Tracker, make sure it's visible, and then reapply, and say yes to X and Y. So instantaneously, it jumps over to left, because I have the anchor point in a different position. Also it's not nearly as high up in the sky. So let's play it back now. So now it's definitely tracking, and it starts off in a better position, still not exact. At frame 0, it's not covering up the pole completely, and then when I play forward, you can see it's starting to slip off to the right.
Why is it slipping? Well, in Maya, we do not animate the camera, and there is animation on the spyglass, but that's just a very simple tilt backwards. It doesn't really emulate the complex motion of the actions of hand or the camera, the camera in terms of the real camera. Now, what you do with a slide like this? The motion path is actually working for us. The problem is the relative position of that 3D object compared to where the 3D camera was. What you can do though inside After Effects is place the animation on the anchor point, you can change the anchor point by interactively moving it, and also keyframe it, so it has slightly different positions over time.
And that will help solve these kind of sliding issues you might come up with. Well, how you do that? Well, you want to figure out where the object is sliding first. For instance, I can just start with frame 0, it's not quite in the right place at frame 0, so I can go to the anchor point, click the Time icon to turn that on. And then instead of interactively moving it in the frame, what I can do is go to the values for X and Y, put my mouse over top of that number cell. When I do that, I get a special icon with a little hand with a finger and two arrows. When I have that, I can click-drag left or right, and change the values through this part of the layer editor, as opposed to the viewer.
So, I am going to slide this around till it lines up with that pole. I can also do this up and down. So that's the first keyframe. Then I can move forward and figure out where it really started to slip off. Some maybe around frame 6 would be a good place for me to keyframe. It's definitely not in the correct position here. So I'm going to slide this over, and maybe a little bit of up and down too. Looking for a gap between the black handle and the fingers, it's fairly consistent, also when I see it at the same distance from the edge of the finger. Now, to continue to keyframe this is going to be difficult to do in real time during this video, so you're going to have do additional work on this.
Now I did probably with this in advance, so I do know additional keyframes are needed. In fact, a good place to keyframe is frame 0, frame 6, frame 8, frame 18, 24, and 28. I'm not going to be able to do that right now, it's going to take too much time. But the general idea is to go to the next keyframe, move the anchor point by sliding through the cell values, and going on to next one and next one. So, the next video I'll have this keyframed for you, and it will be solved. At this point, you have to do a little additional work by setting your own keyframes.
That's the general idea though. So we have applied the motion tracking data to the Render layer, we made sure the Parent, the Matte, the Render layers, or the Alpha was working. We did a little fine adjustment by first interactively changing the anchor point position and then also setting some additional keyframes.
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