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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option


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Maya Rendering for After Effects Composites

with Lee Lanier

Video: Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option

We're ready to move on to Project 4. In Project 4 we're going to apply motion tracking in a different form. It's going to be Corner Pin tracking. Corner Pin Motion tracking is great whenever you have to track a rectangular or a square feature. For example, you might track the corners of a billboard or a poster or a window or a screen, anything that's rectangular. After you track, you can then apply new artwork or new footage to that rectangular area. In fact, in Project 4 we're going to replace the screen of a futuristic PDA device, so let's get started.
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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

Tracking rectangular elements with the Perspective corner pin option

We're ready to move on to Project 4. In Project 4 we're going to apply motion tracking in a different form. It's going to be Corner Pin tracking. Corner Pin Motion tracking is great whenever you have to track a rectangular or a square feature. For example, you might track the corners of a billboard or a poster or a window or a screen, anything that's rectangular. After you track, you can then apply new artwork or new footage to that rectangular area. In fact, in Project 4 we're going to replace the screen of a futuristic PDA device, so let's get started.

Let me go to File > Import > File and pull in that original footage, features an actress. This is called shot4 in the Footage folder, so I'll bring that in as an image sequence. I am going to pull that down into the timeline and create a new composition. Let's play it back and see what it looks like. So you see this features a PDA, has a screen, that screen is blank. We're going to put in new artwork in there, in fact, we have an animation that was pre-done we will put in this area. So we are going to Corner Pin track this green rectangle, let's get started. So you start the same way, you pick the layer and go to Animation > Track Motion.

Now tracker opens up in Transform mode, once again, so you can switch that. Now there are two types of corner pin, there is Parallel corner pin and Perspective corner pin. We actually want Perspective corner pin because that give us the ability to move all four track points that we will have. And in fact, once I choose that there are the four track points, if I zoom in, you see 1, 2, 3, and 4, and these are all attached by strings, but you can move anyone of them separate from the others. So the idea is to place this at the corners. So I'm going to go to frame 10, it's a good starting place, not much motion blur, and place these track points.

So you want the corner at the very edge of the corner where the green meets the blue. So now that these are positioned, we can try to analyze. So I'm going to analyze forward, you can see as it analyzes, it looks like its pretty stable. Let's try 10 to the start. Okay, it definitely slips off here. You see the actress lifts up her hand to raise up the PDA, so there's some amount of motion and blur, and the tracking is just not able to figure out where are those blurred corners are. They are almost invisible now because there's so much blur.

We could try to adjust the track points further, change their sizes and reanalyze, or you can just manually adjust it. Let's see how many frames are bad in this case, so look pretty good around frame 6 or so, so the first 5 frames are starting to slip off. What I'm going to do is manually adjust this. I'm going to do at on frame 5 first, it's not too bad, so I'm going to zoom in, because what you don't want to do is accidentally select any of the keyframes on motion paths, so you have to look pretty closely. So I'm going to fix track point one, two, let's get down to three here, and then four.

I do have to do the other frames. I'm going to skip ahead though, because that might take a little bit time to move all four of these track points. So we have now jumped ahead, I have adjusted frames 1 through 5 or so, and now I'm ready to deal with frame 0. Frame 0 has a biggest slippage, you can see how far off it is. I'm going to try to adjust the track points for this frame. Now here I have accidentally grabbed one of the keyframes from the motion path, you can see it pulls out there is a little square box here. I want to undo that. Ctrl+Z, or Command+Z, so if you have a hard time selecting the anchor point without getting one of the motion path keyframes just zoom in, and then it's easier to select.

So you fix frame 0, so now 0 to 5 or 6 is correct, so now if I move forward, you can see that the track points follow that square, the rectangle. Now we're ready to try to apply this, now the application happens a little bit differently, I do want to apply it to different layer, but I want to prep that layer in advance. So with this project there are some premade animation that features some screen graphics, let's bring that in. File > Import > File, it's in the Renders folder, it's called Shot4Screen, bring that in, we're going to drop that on top of the composite.

Now I do need to prepare it for apply the motion tracking to it. Now because the corner pin will apply the tracking data based on track point one to the upper left-hand corner, it's actually a good idea to zero out the anchor point which is right here and the position of this artwork or whatever you're going to play the tracking data to, so it sits in the upper left-hand corner, and just do that. I'm going to expand the transform section of this new layer and zero out the Anchor Points 0,0, and also the Position. You'll see that it stuffs it into the upper left-hand corner. This is actually the idea for the corner pin tracking though.

So I can go back to the tracker, make sure I check my edit target, make sure my screen is selected in terms of this new layer, click OK, and hit Apply. As soon as I hit Apply it snaps that artwork right to the screen. If you look at the layer you can also see that it's had a corner pin effect, and that's where it stores the position of the four corners terms X, Y for upper-left, upper-right, or left or right. In other words, all four corners of that artwork are pulled down to these positions.

It's also animated the overall position of the entire layer. Let's play it back, so it's looks pretty good. There are so some issues with some of the early frames, because of the heavy motion blur, doesn't quite match exactly. There's also little bit of wiggle in there. Now we can deal with that, and we'll talk about that a little bit later. We have the basic tracking down now. So now we can move on to better integration of that animation with the background.

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