Learn how to track long pans with the PlanarTracker. Draw a tracking shape larger than the image that covers the full length of the pan.
- [Steve] Hi, this is Steve Wright, welcoming you to this week's Nuke Nugget. Long pans are a serious problem to track with the point tracker, but for the planar tracker, they're really very easy if you know how. So here's the mission. I've got this big ol' long pan clip here. What I want to do, is I'm going to pan in this big long sky element here. If I comp them now, I've got the sky over there, but of course, it don't move with my background. So I need to track a big, long pan, and you might notice there's some motion blur in this, too, which is not present at the head or at the tail, so this'll be interesting.
So we'll start by adding our planar tracker. So we'll select our read node, go and hit Tab, and select planar tracker, holding down the Shift key so that it does a branch connect, like that, which is what I was looking for. We'll hook our viewer up to my planar tracker. Make sure I'm on frame one. And here is the super secret trick. Notice that the motion is to the right, kay? So it's panning to the right.
So. I'm going to put in a rectangle that goes way out here to the left, like this. Because the planar tracker is going to drag this shape to the right, so I need to have enough planar tracker out here. Now, important point. The larger you make this rectangle, the slower the tracking will be. So this is covering an enormous part of the picture, so this should be plenty accurate.
Alright, so since I am really focusing on translation, I can come up to my planar tracker and tell it not to worry about scale, rotate, sheer, or perspective. So it'll only track for translation, only. Okay. Off we go. We'll start our tracking, move our time bar down here so we can keep an eye on things. And this is going to take a minute or two, so we'll just time warp to the end of this, come back when it's all done.
And we're done. Now, I made my rectangle just a bit short. I probably should have made it just a little bit longer, but the planar tracker is grabbing the whole chunk of screen right here, so I should still get a really good track. Okay, so I'm going to just zoom out a little bit here, and let's just play this, and observe that it's sticking, and everything up here is to be in order. So we're just checking, yes, yes, this looks reasonable. Alright. Now let's turn on our planar grid, here we go.
Let's zoom out a little bit. You can see that planar grid is ginormous, but it is still locked to my plate. Now this next step is not necessary, but for cosmetic purposes and peace of mind, I like to resize that planar grid to more closely fit the shot. This technique makes it appear overlarge.
So I'm stopping right around frame 50, somewhere in the middle, and we'll come up here, I want to turn off the planar grid for a moment and turn on the planar surface. Then we're going to gimme a little bit more screen space here so I get all my planar tracker controls up here. This button tells it to resize the planar surface to the outside of my bounding boxes. So I'll click that, and there ya go. Now if I play this, we can see that the planar surface is now the same size as my background, and moving with it, and if we turn on the planar grid, you see it's now much smaller, and that looks a little more reasonable.
Okay, again, this is not a necessary step, okay? Because we're going to be using the translate information that the planar track collected. So let's say we're happy with that. We need now to generate our tracker node that will include the match move data. So, let's put the viewer back where it was, cause I need to make sure I have the planar tracker selected here. Then I'm going to select tracker. Now this tracker will be linked to my planar tracker, whereas this one is baked.
So let's choose the linked one, cause that'll work nicely. Select that, get this back over here, and here's the tracker that I created, and since I'm done with my planar tracker, I'll close that to clean up the screen. Let's rehome the viewer. And we'll hook our tracker node in here, turn it on, and since we want to do translate only, now the tracker node has been populated by the four corner tracks by the planar tracker, so I'm going to turn on just the translate feature for each one of the four trackers.
Now, by the way, I could have gotten away, probably, with just one of them, because it's a translate only, but by having all four, slightly more accurate. So we come over to the transform tab, cause I want to tell it to move my sky plate. See, right now, the translate data is in there, but it's not moving the plate, and it won't, until I set the transform to match move. Now it's moving the sky for me. Okay, I'm ready to comp that over my background.
Let's close this. And we can see that the sky is now moving, but it's not positioned properly. So I'm just going to go to the last frame. Now that's what this node here, initial position, this is just a position node. And I'm going to say minus 100. So I just need to get the initial position set up so that this thing starts in the right place like so. We're done with that. Home my viewer, jump to the first frame, and play.
And there we have it. Our sky is now beautifully tracked to a very long pan, using the planar tracker node. Now by the way, this crop here, that was really a cosmetic. Without it, I get this giant bounding box, which I don't like, okay? This also controls excessive processing time. So the crop node gets ride of that. One last point I want to made is that with the planar tracker, you can also track in proxy mode. If you got a big 4K plate, it'll take a month to track a 4K plate.
So you can drop to 2K, do all your tracking, and then go back to base, and the planar tracker node will make all the corrections for you. Rehome my viewer, and have one more play, just to admire the beautiful tracking that we did with planar tracker. So there you have it. How to track long pans with the planar tracker. If you'd like to see all my new courses on LinkedIn's Lynda.com, just do a search on my name, Steve Wright. Be sure to check in next week so you don't miss out on my next Nuke Nugget.
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Skill Level Intermediate
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