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25 May 2016

Centennial Park: Tracking the Footage for Animation

Centennial Park: Tracking the Footage for Animation

Author:  Stephen   Categories:  Live-Action Plates, Behind the Scenes  

Centennial Park is a project we are undertaking to learn how to track and prepare a live-action shot for animation.
For a look at how and where we shot the footage, check out our post here.

 

The next phase in developing our Centennial Park shot was to matchmove the footage and get a 3D camera into Maya. The tutorials on the PFTrack website make it look pretty easy, but I think they have a pretty near-perfect scene for tracking in their example. I wasn't so lucky.

 

Going about this the hard way

Our scene seems pretty simple when you look at it - just a slight dolly backwards - but PFTrack seems to work best if you have objects in the near, mid and far ground. We pretty much only have objects in the far ground. We also did a pretty poor job in stabilizing our camera so the motion blur is a little too strong to track a lot of the small details. We'll make sure to do better next time. For this shot though, it was a bit problematic.

My first attempt did not go all that well. The camera was doing a lot of weird things and moving in a lot of strange ways and I just couldn't seem to make it work. I reached out to a friend who had experience with PFTrack (thanks Eric!) and was able to get a few of the gaps filled in to increase the quality of the track, but without someone in the studio to physically take a look at my scene, it was an uphill battle. Until...

 

Hooray for Tutorials!

Eventually I came across an incredible tutorial that explained a different workflow to the one used by the official PFTrack tutorials and it made tracking a lot quicker and easier. Big thanks to TunnelvizionTV! And if you're looking for an easy workflow to track shots with PFTrack, I highly recommend checking out their video. 

Anyway, let's see the results. I've added the Hero and Tyrannus walk cycles, just so I'd have something to show the track with.


Overall, not too bad. Next up, figure out how to create a spherical HDRI.


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