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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Setting up a motion tracker


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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

with Lee Lanier

Video: Setting up a motion tracker

We have recombined our render passes within a single composition called Render. We then nested that composition within the shot1 composition. Therefore that spyglass is a single layer. However, it doesn't have the motion of the scene. If I was to play this back to the RAM preview, you'll see that the spyglass did not really follow her hand, so this is where motion tracking comes into play. Motion tracking will allow us to determine what the motion is in the original footage in terms of camera movements and the movement of her hand and apply that to the spyglass render.
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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

Setting up a motion tracker

We have recombined our render passes within a single composition called Render. We then nested that composition within the shot1 composition. Therefore that spyglass is a single layer. However, it doesn't have the motion of the scene. If I was to play this back to the RAM preview, you'll see that the spyglass did not really follow her hand, so this is where motion tracking comes into play. Motion tracking will allow us to determine what the motion is in the original footage in terms of camera movements and the movement of her hand and apply that to the spyglass render.

If I zoom in here through the middle mouse key and then scroll, we can see that there is a little stick with an X on it, and that's actually intended for the motion tracking. So the goal here is to cover up this stick, and this piece of tape where the spyglass make look like the spyglass is actually in her hand and therefore as a same motion. Now there is a little bit of animation on the spyglass itself. If I play it back again, you can see that the spyglass just tilts backwards, but that's all it does, it doesn't move any further in the scene, so again that's where motion tracking comes into play.

So motion tracking works by applying the motion tracking tool, identifying the feature and tracking over time to create a motion path. The motion path is eventually applied to a layer such as a spyglass layer, so let's get started with that. Now in this case, I want to apply the motion tracking tool to the original footage, so I'm going to select shot1, go up to Animation and select Track Motion. That's the tool you want. Now if you're using a slightly older version of After Effects, this area of the menu is going to look a different; however, this menu item track motion is consistent, so I want to select that.

When you select it, a couple of things happen. The first thing is the view jumps from the composition view into the layer viewer. Motion tracking has to occur at least initially in the layer viewer. Another thing that happens is there's a track point that's positive in the center of frame in that view. We're going to use this to identify the feature that we want to track over time. The third thing that happens is the Tracker panel opens up at the bottom right. Now again, if you're using slightly older version of After Effects, this will look a little bit different. But fortunately, the menus we're going to change and the buttons we're going to press are going to be exactly the same.

So in terms of this panel here, let's talk about a few things. The first thing is a motion source. That is the footage we are tracking. In this case, we're tracking shot1. You can also multiple trackers in any given layer, so they are numbered. We're just going with Tracker 1 which you're given for free, so we're just going to stay with that for now. There is also Track Type. There is actually different styles of motion tracking. For this particular project, we're just concerned with Transform Tracking. Transform Tracking means we're going to track the left-right, down-up motion of the feature.

In another words, track the X and the Y direction of the feature over time. That's commonly called Transform Tracking, so if you ever hear of transform tracking, that's motion tracking that just tracks those in two directions. Below that you have some various transform option. Position, Rotation and Scale, I am going to talk about these further. We're going to start with just Position. Below that there are some options we'll get to little bit later on and also some Analyzation buttons. Use these buttons to go through the footage and allow the tracker to try to determine where the feature moves.

In terms of track point, again, that's placed over the feature you want to track. So what's the feature? The feature is something that's high contrast that's easily visible, relatively small, that stays in frame the entire duration of the timeline and what the tracker does, it identifies that pattern within that track point and tries to follow it as it moves. So in terms of this footage, if I pull back here, we're given a great place to track. If I go to frame 10 or so, you can see there is a little excellent piece of tape.

That was put there to track, and that's great, because it's relatively high contrast, relatively small and stays in the frame, plus it replicates the motion of her hand, because again, the original goal of this project is to place that spyglass in her hands, so we want to figure out where her hand is moving over time. So that's one variation of Transform Tracking. You are tracking an object like her hand moving through the frame. Now there is a little bit camera motion in the scene also. It's going to detect that, too, because we want that spyglass to pickup also the virtual camera motion, so the motion of her hand and the motion of the camera, so those both will be detected by the tracker tool.

So what we want to do is place this track point over that X. So how do you move this around? If I zoom back in, you can simply click-drag any empty part of that track point like in the center, for instance right here, click-drag. As you drag, it magnifies what's below it just so you can see that a little better. When we let go, it returns to its original state. So what I can do is click-drag it and scroll until I get this up to that X mark. I'm going to do this on frame 10, because frame 10 is relatively free of motion blur. The motion blur can interfere with the tracking, so 10 is the good place to start.

So I'm going to place this up here at the center of this X as close I can. There we go, and let go. There are ways to adjust this track point further, but we're going to save that for later step. So we applied the tracker to the live action footage, we have placed the track point over a trackable feature, and now we're ready to analyze in order to find out what the motion is. The analyzation is relatively complex, so what we're going to do is save that for the next video.

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