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View Full Version : motion tracking in Lightwave?



Zach
09-08-2003, 02:06 PM
I'm going to be doing a project involving liveaction, shaky camera footage. I was wondering if there are any tools in lightwave to track the footage to the lightwave camera?

SplineGod
09-08-2003, 02:47 PM
Not that comes with LW.

js33
09-08-2003, 02:52 PM
If you got the DFX deal I believe it has some motion tracking tools.

Cheers,
JS

Stranahan
09-08-2003, 03:01 PM
Here's a suggestion...

Don't do a shot with shakey camera footage....

It's a bad idea. It's much easier to do a steady shot, and then add in the shaky-ness as a post process.

You can't track a 3D match move in Fusion - and tracking a hand held shakycam shot is hard in any program. Do some research, find out what you're getting into, and come up with a clever solution. When doing visual effects, plan the shot and do the camera work to make the shot easier...don't just shoot whatever and figure you can fix it in post. Plan. Plan plan plan.

kevman3d
09-08-2003, 03:22 PM
Lees suggestion is probably the better suggestion IMHO, however here's another idea...

Place your background footage onto a poly (0% diffuse, 100% luminous) and place it far in the background of LightWave (and resize it to fit the camera view). Doing it as a texture on a poly refreshes faster then using the 'composit' background option...

Parent the poly to the camera (make sure 'Parent in place' is active) so that when you pan or adjust the camera, the background stays in view...

Add a NULL object - Now find a point in your image that is constantly in your camera view - Move the NULL from the camera approximately where it would have been in your 'realworld' footage, and adjust it to line up with the point on the background image in the camera viewport.

Now scrub through your animation, and hand-key the camera by using the null and the BG as a reference (just adjust the camera so that the null aligns up with the point on the image each time)

That's the poormans 'camera track' technique. :)

papou
09-08-2003, 05:02 PM
nice suggestion Lee.

It's really hard to mix 3d with video with Lightwave.
We don't have 3d tracking tool, we can't use Fron't projection coz no CameraView in the modeler and we can't model in Layout.
I am doing a job like that and it's a pain.

some plugins like Fi's MatchCam or StickyFront can help.
u can Transmotion3d from Al Street to track 2d and export to LW. can help too. http://www.ats-3d.com/

I suggest you to use Matchmover,Boujou or something like that if u can afford it.

a tip for poor-modeling in Layout:
in modeler: convert all points to polys, extrude them, convert new polys to curves, convert curves to skelegon
in Layout: convert to bones in Layout,
move your points in Layout to match your background.
save trnsformed object, deletes bones.
etc...

arararara, i hope we can move points in Layout like we can edit particle in lw8.

or better thing?

Zach
09-08-2003, 06:36 PM
Thanx for the replies. Some really good ideas in here.

Doesn't After Effects have some kind of camera export from its 3d tracker?

SplineGod
09-08-2003, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by papou
nice suggestion Lee.

It's really hard to mix 3d with video with Lightwave.
We don't have 3d tracking tool, we can't use Fron't projection coz no CameraView in the modeler and we can't model in Layout.
I am doing a job like that and it's a pain.

some plugins like Fi's MatchCam or StickyFront can help.
u can Transmotion3d from Al Street to track 2d and export to LW. can help too. http://www.ats-3d.com/

I suggest you to use Matchmover,Boujou or something like that if u can afford it.

a tip for poor-modeling in Layout:
in modeler: convert all points to polys, extrude them, convert new polys to curves, convert curves to skelegon
in Layout: convert to bones in Layout,
move your points in Layout to match your background.
save trnsformed object, deletes bones.
etc...

arararara, i hope we can move points in Layout like we can edit particle in lw8.

or better thing?
Thats an interesting suggestion. Actually you dont have to convert the new polys to curves first, just select them and click on make skelegons. Any poly edge or two point poly will be converted to skelegons.
Actually theres a great tool out there for manipulating points directly in layout called xtool. You can find it HERE (http://home.nordnet.fr/~phoneikon/XTool_Main_001.htm) . The latest version is very stable and works with bones, Motion Designer and other deformation plugins. You can select a point or groups of points on an object and move them around and keyframe them. You can parent a point or groups of points to other objects or items. The points also show up in the graph editor and can be influenced by or reference expressions and motion modifiers. Aura does pixel tracking and this could be an interesting thing to use with xtool to have points track specific pixels. :)

takkun
09-08-2003, 07:27 PM
Does anyone know how much Boujou VE costs? It might be a good solution for people working in D1 video resolutions.

http://www.2d3.com/2d3/products/featuresVE.shtml

papou
09-08-2003, 08:14 PM
yes, thank you Larry.

Boujou was extremly expensive, something like 10000$.
Don't know the actual price...

time to test Xtool :)

takkun
09-08-2003, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by papou
Boujou was extremly expensive, something like 10000$.
Don't know the actual price...

time to test Xtool :) But what about their VE version? It's the "Video Edition" of Boujou that's limited to 800x600 resolution. They didn't list the price on the site but it's supposed to be cheaper then the full version (but probably not cheap enough ;) )

EDIT: ohh well, if no one knows then I'll just have to register on their site and find out.

Stranahan
09-08-2003, 08:26 PM
It sounded like Zach's request was for 3D motion tracking, not 2D....

Tools are fun, but it sounded like the plan was to shoot footage - just however - and then fix it later, with some post tool. It can't be stated enough - that's a bad plan. Figure out the solution before shooting. Do tests. Maybe revise the shot idea.

Professionals do these kinds of shots all the time. They take a long time and they cost a lot. My brother Ken - just as an example I know personally - had used FPM, tracking and so on on dozens of TV shows and films. They work. That's not the issue. But the shots are either planned properly with a visual effects supervisor, or they are a huge pain in the ***. Sometimes both, really.

PS - See that little *** in my post? I didn't put it there. The forum software censored it. It bugs me that this forum software censors the word ***. It's stupid. I can apparently say butt and rectum and anus and cheeks and fanny and .... well, you get the idea. Why is one word permitted and another not? It's the SAME THING - just a different sound. Not to be an *******, but what a pain in the ***....

SplineGod
09-08-2003, 08:30 PM
Apparently ***** works. :)

takkun
09-08-2003, 08:34 PM
LOL, ******* works but *** doesn't. I think in vBulletin (that's the software these forums use) you can customize the censor list or turn it off completely.

Beamtracer
09-08-2003, 08:40 PM
•Use the British spelling "arse" (rather than @ss) and it'll allow that!

•"Fanny" means something completely different in other parts of the world! You might be very surprised.

•The USA is a very prudish country. Elsewhere they run movies on prime time TV without censoring the swearing at all... words that would be censored on this forum.

Elmar Moelzer
09-08-2003, 09:03 PM
Yupp, hehe the poor americans never get the pleasure of watching The Osbournes without the peeps every second ;)
Back on topic, I usually find it a lot easier if there is something in the scene that you know the exact measures of. Like say some furniture or something. Take a tapemeasure and then rebuild it to scale in modeler. Then match your LW- camera so that the object fits the one on screen.
Otherwise: yes doing 3d- tracking is a pain in the arse (hehe that one wont be censored).
CU
Elmar

Tom Speed
09-08-2003, 10:06 PM
Remember Icarus? It went commercial:

http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk/news/news7.html

The £2999 (approx $5000) price tag is well......less than boujou.


Tom
p.s I went back and removed my remark about extortionate pricing! :)

Ben_Chapé
09-09-2003, 12:44 AM
well i first started my 3d tracking projects with lw 5.0 ... using the 'do it yourself' manual technique ;)
it's possible , mainly a matter of time & experience, specially if u wanna avoid hi-cost/hi tech solutions.Bad points : it requires a good knowledge on camera lenses .
Results are generally quite ok compared to the 'caveman' method used.


If the project is kinda important, there some nice working solutions to do this kind of job. (with the minimum precautions taken on the shooting).

One of the major tool (working fine with lightwave) is still 3dequalizer from Science D vision Site (http://www.3dequalizer.com/) .
Warning, high cost app (used by weta & other famous companies), but its a pro solution, specially if you wanna do some serious 3d tracking .
There's the possibility to auto track some zone/trackers/pattern or to manually track the footage (auto tracking is fine, but in most cases, manual tracking is more adapted).


Some shooting tips
* To succeed (specially in 3d tracking), you'll need to collect as much infos on your scene as you can (about camera type & spec, about some distances of shooted elements & camera, angles, about size...). Most will help you to orient & define the 3d datas.
A good old paper & notepad with all distances & a fast blueprint is still a major requirement.

* You can use markers too (ie : tennis balls 4 example) to easily track the scene but you'll have to digitally remove them later so it can be risky.(tools like mokey can help you too here)

* For a first try , AVOID the zoom feature hehe.specially if you're not used with lenses & focal work.Shaking, panoramic, or travelling are generally quite ok to process.


A lot of middle-range tracking app can do the tracking job too, but be aware you can quickly face some really bad suprises.

voila , and good luck :D




P.S: Another smart technical solution is still to always sign in with projects including motion-controlled cameras. lol ;)

Zach
09-09-2003, 01:07 AM
***! ****! ****ING BULL****! MOTHER****ER!

WOW! Pretty interesting censor.

Lee, you have the right idea. Plan, plan, plan, plan!

I just upgraded to Lightwave 8 (by the way, will I get physical manuals and a cd when it's released or will it only be a download?) and am patiently waiting for the DFX+ package. I've never put 3D elements into live action before (successfully) and I really have very few ideas where to start.

I'm going to be shooting on a TRV 900 (unless they have another camera to use, which I don't think they will) and I know there is a steadycam option to have the camera attached to a stick or something with a weight at the bottom, but even that produces some shaky results when you're running through the woods (which I will be doing in some shots).

One thing I'm curious about: where is Lightwave's camera lense positioned? Is it at its pivot point (which would be crazy if you move the camera's pivot (can you move the camera's pivot?)) or is it at the representation of its lense cap?

Ben, that's some pretty levelheaded advice. I remember seeing some orange crosses on a bluescreen in one of the LOTR composites. Maybe a Blue Tennis ball or some blue tape would help. That would involve a lot of painting wouldn't it?

I think this project is going to take a lot of time (since I'm the only one doing the post on it) but it seems like some fun and some good experience. I really don't want to do any character animation till 8 comes out though. I like this whole fk/ik switching thing.

thanx for all your comments. This LW community definately kicks ***! heeh

petermark
09-10-2003, 12:04 AM
I did an interesting experiment recently. I shot footage of a sidewalk in a semi-circle dolly. I was just walking the camera and I purposefully made it shakey.

In Lighwave I made a table and roughly tracked it into the shot. I didn't both with the fine shakes, just tried to match the broad, 3d movement.

Then I took it into DFX and stabilized both the original footage and the 3d shot. I stabilized them on the same point in space (where the table met the ground. Then I comped them together and animated the camera shake back in. The final result was pretty good. The 3d motion wasn't perfect, and the DFX tracking was less than ideal, but it was pretty good.

I believe it would work if you were working on a master shot, but if you were cranking out lots of 3d camera tracking, it would be be impracticle because of how long it takes.