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- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
We have adjusted the screen animation to better match the footage of the PDA. Now since we have used motion tracking to move that screen around, we can use that data and apply it to another layer to make that move in conjunction with the screen. For example, with this project there is a render of a Wireframe ship, and we can bring in and make it look like it's a hologram floating above the PDA, so let's do that. We go to File > Import > File and retrieve the Shot4Ship animation. Now I want to bring in so it will look a little different.
So far we have used layered PSD files. However, when I bring this one in, we'll see a new window pop up, and this is the Interpret Footage window. Now layered PSD converts the Alpha Channel automatically and knows what to do with that. However, when you bring in some other file format like a Targa or TIFF, it's going to pop up this window if it senses that there is an Alpha Channel. And what it's asking is is the Alpha premultiplied or not? Now when you render something in Maya, it pre-multiplies the Alpha, that means the values of the Alpha are multiplied by the color channels, and this is just done for efficiency and for higher-quality edges.
So if you see this window and the render has come out of a program like Maya, go ahead and pick Premultiplied, that will give you the best result. So Premultiplied, click OK, here comes the footage. We'll drop this around top of the composite, that's going to be too short. I'm going to back my slider up so we can see it. It's basically this Wireframe ship, and because it's so short, it's only 30 frames, what we need to do is loop it. And this animation is designed to repeat over and over as it spins around. So I'm going to go to the footage itself, up here in the Project panel, right mouse key, and go to the Interpret Footage, and then Main.
This way you can change your frame rate, but also you can make the footage loop. In fact, there's a loop down here at the very bottom. So I'm going to loop this three times and then hit Enter to close this window. So now the bar has stretched out, now the breakout of the bar is still short, so I need to grab the end of this and click-drag it so it fills the entire duration. So now it repeats three times and will spin three times on the screen. So let's move this and scale it so it looks like it might be a hologram, say, on top of this PDA.
I am going to scale it down. I'll go to the Scale, under the Transform, scale it down to 70%. I'm going to move it, so it looks like it's near just above the PDA right here. A good place to test is at frame 58, that's where the nose of the ship is pointing straight down. So I'll move it up some place around this area. Now it's a little light, we can try to experiment with blending modes to get this shot better and then apply some effects to it. I'm going to switch over to the Blending mode menu that's hidden now. I'll toggle the switches one more time and get to that.
Let's try Screen, that makes it kind of interesting, where it's a little bit lighter over the background ground, but darker over the screen itself. The other thing we can do to integrate this is just to activate Motion Blur. So I'm going to toggle my switches again, activate Motion Blur, now eventually this is going to move along with the screen, so I need to blur it also. Now it's not actually moving, what I can do is parent this to the Screen layer and therefore, I'll inherit the same animation that the screen has, and the screen got that from the Motion Tracking. So I'm going to switch to Parent menu to Screen.
Now if I play it back, you'll see that it follows the screen the entire time, even at the beginning when there is a lot of blur. It's blurred because of the Motion Blur, and because of the way we positioned the scale that render, it looks like at some place just above the screen, as if it's floating. Now it's still a little dim, it's hard to see, so what we can do is apply an effect to make that a little bit glowy and more bright. In fact, there is a Glow effect. So with that chip layer selected, I'm going to go up to Effect > Stylize > Glow. And you can see already, it's starting to get brighter and a little bit more glowy-looking.
So you can play around with the threshold and the radius and the intensity. Threshold determines what pixels get glowed and which ones are ignored. The radius is the size of the blurry glow, how far it goes away from the original render. Intensity is just the strength of the glow. So let's try a threshold of 20, a radius of 45, and an intensity of 2. So now it's little bit more visible. Whole we are at it, we can use this glow and apply to the screen itself, and you can copy effects from one layer to another, so I can highlight this Glow effect here and do a copy.
I can do Edit > Copy from the menu and then go down to my screen layer, highlight that so that screen layer is selected, and then Edit > Paste. That glow is transferred down to the screen. Looks like that gets a bit strong, so I can adjust that. It's right here in the Effects Control Panel, I can experiment with making it a little less intense, so there we go. So we have added our additional ship render, we have scaled and positioned it to make it look like it might be a hologram, we adjust its blending mode, and applied a glow to it to make it look like it was glowing along with the screen.
We now have our futuristic PDA. So we started off with the blank screen, and now we have this cool animation, let's play it back. So tracking is great anytime you need to track something on to a rectangular feature like this PDA. And of course, all the effects can really help integrate that CG render, so it matches live-action much better.