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Autodesk MatchMover is the perfect camera-tracking companion for Maya, and it now comes bundled with Maya 2010 and later. Staff author George Maestri gives you an introduction to MatchMover's interface and automatic matching capabilities, and then shows how to import MatchMover scenes into Maya, solve for cameras, and do object-based tracking.
Now lets take a look at how to, add your own tracking points, into MatchMover. I'm going to load a sequence here. It's in our chapter two folder, and it's called the Pier Shot. And actually the file name is called DSC_0031. Going to go ahead and open that up. And you'll notice here we've got just a shot of the Santa Monica pier, and we've got some good information. Now if we wanted to, we could just automatically track this.
But if we want to be more specific, we can actually add in our own manual tracking data, and this sometimes can help a lot because you can actually track specific objects or specific points of objects. In a scene and get those into 3D, which makes for more accurate sort of tracking. If you do automatic tracking you're kind of at the mercy of Matchmovers to what it decides is important, and this allows you decide what's important. We add tracking points through the 2D tracking menu.
We have an option here called New Track and all we have to do is click on that and it brings up a little crosshair cursor here, and we can do is just position this over where we want on the scene. Now notice here in this window, how this is actually kind of tracking the cursor, which gives us kind of like a zoomed in version of what we're looking at. So typically you want to do this in that full interface, and once we get our tracking point exactly where we want it, all we have to do is just left click and it lays it down.
And now we've got a track here and we can actually, work with it here if we want, or we can have matchmover do the tracking. So typically the process is you lay down your track and then you have MatchMover track it in 2d. We do that by just doing track forward or hitting F3. And you get very good at using F3 in MatchMover because typically what you do is you lay down your track and then hit F3 and it automatically goes through and calculates exactly where that point is in 2d space.
So as you can see, it's tracking the path of that through 2D space. Let's go ahead and do that one more time. New Track, and let's just pick another position here. Let's say the middle of this light bulb here on this street light. Click on that, and then all you have to do is hit F3. And Matchmover goes through and calculates those. Well, if we want, we can use this in combination with automatic tracking or anything else, or we can completely manually track a scene.
In order to manually track a scene, you need at least seven points for Match Mover to get enough information to calculate a camera. So I'm going to go through and actually add in a number of points so we can actually solve for a camera. So let's go ahead and add in a lot more points. Now one thing I want to do is go ahead and define the ground plane. So actually I'm going to find the highlight on this trash can, where it intersects with the ground is a really nice edge. And so if we get that bottom edge, we'll know that we have our ground plane.
So I'm going to go ahead and track that. So I know that that particular point, track three, is on the ground. We can do the same over here. And again, what I'm trying to do is kind of define out this ground plane, so maybe the bottom of one of these posts, let's see if that'll track. And again, what we're looking for here is we're looking for green. So if we get a lot of green tracks, that means it's actually really good. And this is actually a really good track. So let's just keep going. When you're looking for places to track, you want to find places that have a lot of contrast, and are also stable.
So, for example, the top corner of this building is great, because it has a lot of contrast between itself and the sky, and it's also stable. Also if you want to we can use this to create, if I want it to match for example, the top of that building I could do it. Another one in a similar vein would be maybe the corner of this wall. Again, you can see here in the zoomed in version of it that we have a really nice edge between the dark and the light and so again this should track fairly well. Now there are parts of this scene that may or may not track well.
We actually have stuff that's moving and also one thing you have to be careful of is you don't want to track things like for example, the highlight on this actually moves in relation because it's really generated by the sun which is behind the camera. It's actually going to move as the camera moves. So, you don't want to track a highlight, but you can track, for example, the painted details on this pole, or something like that. If I wanted to, I could track that little corner there on that and that would actually track fairly well.
And one of the things we're trying to do when we track is, we're trying to get stuff that's close to the camera and far away. So, we want to really try and get a lot of variation, so, we wanted stuff that's far away and close, because what it does is, it gives Match Mover a lot more information about the depth and the construction of the scene. But the more variety of tracks we get the better off we're going to be. So this is the basic process of laying down tracks. Now what tracks are again is just information in 2D space that will be used to derive a 3D solution.
So now that we have these in place, the next step will be to solve for the camera which we will do in the next lesson.
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