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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.
So, at this point, we pretty much have our scene matched. We have the robot, and he's walking along the plane that represents the ground in the scene. Now, this is really just half of a successful match. Because what we need to do is not just match the motion of the scene. We also have to match the lighting, the shadows, and we need to make sure that our 3D object matches our 2D backing plate. Now we do that by trying to match the shadows and lighting as close as possible.
The best way to do this is to render in multiple passes so you have the object separate from the shadow, separate from the background, which we will do a little bit later on. But right now I'm just going to show you, the quick and dirty method, of getting this to happen. Now what I've got is I've got the robot, and I've got the ground plane. But I really don't have any connection between those. Let me show you what I mean. If I do a really quick render of this, you'll see that the robot renders pretty well, but the lighting is a little bit different.
Now, I shot this in the morning, so the light was directly behind me. But I was also in the shadow of this building. So we need to make sure we take that into account. And also, there's no shadow underneath this robot. Notice how we have a shadow under the motorcycle, but not under the robot. Now a shadow is probably one of the biggest things you can do. To connect something like this to the background, shadows are really important in these cases. So how do we do that? We do that with lighting.
So the first thing I need to do though is create something to catch that shadow. So what I'm going to do is create a plane. So I'm going to go into polygons and just create a polygonal plane. Underneath my robot. And make sure that it's big enough so that the robot can walk over it. Now once I have that plane, if I were to render it, you'll see that the plane just renders gray. But, what I want to do is I want that plane to show up with the same pixels as what's behind it.
So, in order to do that, I'm going to use a special shader. It's called Use Background. Now, if I go over to my Rendering tab, I can just select the plane and click Use background. Or, if I go into my Rendering tab, there under Lighting Shading, I can assign a new material that's called Use Background. What this material does, is it just takes the pixels that are behind the object and use them for the color, so when I render this now, I don't get a gray plane.
I just get the scene itself. Now we can use this plane to create reflections or shadows. And, in this case we really want to do shadows. So, in order to set up shadows, I need to set up the lighting. So, let's go ahead and do that. When I imported this robot, two lights actually came in with the robot, and so, I just need to go ahead and place those lights. This first light here is called spotlight two. And this is going to be the light that's to the right of the robot and above him.
Let's just go ahead and render this here. You notice here under the motorcycle, the shadow is actually kind of coming. Almost directly above, and maybe a little bit to the right. So the light source seems to be somewhere right around here. So we want to try duplicate that with this second light. So I'm going to go ahead and take this light, and make sure that it's above the robot, and I'm pointing down. And then I just need to turn on shadows. So I'm going to go into my Attribute Editor, for that particular light, and scroll down.
We're on a very tight screen here, so you might not be able to see everything. But, we can set our shadow color here. And in this case, I'm just going to use depth map shadows. And in order to get the shadow kind of blurry, I'm going to turn this filter size up to about four. So I'm going to go ahead and render. And now you can see, I've got a shadow underneath the robot. But you notice, also, how the shadows' kind of leading off into everything else. So, I need to make that shadow more above the robot, rather than coming from the side.
Because you can see how this shadow is actually covering this light post, and part of the motorcycle, and all of that. So, what we need to do is, make this shadow more of a drop shadow. I'm going to go back to this, and I'm going to bring it almost directly above this robot. And then let's take a look at what we got. That's not bad. And then if you want we can take this shadow and maybe even blur it a little bit more. I'm going to go ahead and take this filter size and maybe even bring it up to maybe six or seven.
And let's see what happens now. So that looks pretty good. Now you can even see that right now, this robot looks even a little bit better just with this shadow and this lighting the way that it is. What we have though is, we have a very dark side on this robot. And in this area, notice how the light is actually fairly flat and fairly even. So what we need to do is kind of light the robot from all sides so it's not so dark on this particular side. So, I've got another light in the scene here, and this is called Spotlight1 and this will probably be our main light.
And if you notice here in our Attribute Editor, we've got an intensity of about 0.6 which is about right because this light here. Again, about 0.6. I don't have any fall off on the lights, which means that if the lights add up to 1, that's about even lighting, so just about right. And notice how that's pretty good, except it still feels a little bit dark around the corners. Now we can fix this just by adding what's called an ambient light to the scene.
So I can either select an ambient light here from our tab, or I could do Create Lights, ambient light. And it doesn't really matter where the ambient light is in the scene, because really it's just ambient lighting. Now if I leave the intensity at one, you're going to see something that's way over exposed. And what we can do is just turn this down and this'll kind of be our general exposure. So I'm going to turn it down to about .25, somewhere in that range.
And you can see now, this is pretty good. Once I have all of this rendering done, then I can go ahead and just render out a scene and I can be done with it. Now if I want to get a little bit more complex, I can set up what are called render layers, and render it out in multiple layers. And use a compositor such as Toxic to really fine tune this, and make it really pop. But those are some of the basics of how to render for a matched move scene. And once you have this basic knowledge, you can go ahead and start using this to actually start rendering scenes with your own footage.
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