By: The Foundry
CAMERATRACKER for After Effects® allows you to pull 3D motion tracks and matchmoves without having to leave AE. It analyzes the source sequence and extracts the original camera's lens and motion parameters, allowing you to composite 2D or 3D elements correctly with reference to the camera used to film the shot.
You can now match camera moves within Adobe® After Effects®' 2.5D environment, opening up new, robust options for the placement of composite elements, such as the creation of Fringe / Heroes style 'in scene' titles, insertion of animated design elements, match-moved virtual set extensions, motion-tracked projection mapping and much more...
Unlike all other tracking solutions, you do not have to leave your compositor of choice in order to pull a track. This does away with the usual problem of finding formats which round trip correctly, and cuts those vast feature lists of conventional standalone trackers, listing format support and so forth, down to just those which matter for pulling a track. The track is maintained live, so you can always go back at a later date and refine the results if necessary, and at any point you can use the tracked data to create cameras, nulls and solids locked to positions within the context of your scene.
Integration with After Effects gives you the benefit of being able to pre-process your image sequence using any of the powerful tools available, without having to learn a new interface or pay for duplicated functionality. You also benefit from direct integration with comp camera effects such as Shatter and Red Giant Software's Trapcode Particular, plus the swathe of After Effects scripts available from the community, including those allowing IO with Cinema4D, Maya, and 3D Studio Max and more.
- Can be run either fully automatically, or using its in-depth configurable options to allow you to tweak everything from tracking and validation through to solving and object creation.
- A unique in-viewer menu, allowing quick and easy operation of the plug-in without having to move the cursor, and thus your point of attention, away from the image itself.
- The in-viewer menu and associated keyboard shortcuts allow you to create After Effects solids and nulls within your comp, positioned to match your currently selected tracked feature points. Easily tie objects and text within the context of your scene.
- Estimates lens distortion of the tracked clip for you, and then provides the ability to both flatten and re-distort the plate. It'll additionally refine an estimate you dial in, and supports both spherical and asymmetric distortions.
- Able to work from either known focal length and film back shots, or to estimate this data for you using its high tech and production tested solve phase algorithms. Locked and varying focal lengths can be calculated, and a flexible 'refine' function allows you to explicitly define a rough estimate should you wish to lock to a particular range.
- In addition to supporting standard moving camera shots, CAMERATRACKER's flexible track validate and solve stages can additionally be locked down to solve nodal pans (i.e. where camera body and lens is rotated around the nodal point of the combination).
Point Cloud Feature Preview
- Once a shot has been solved and a scene created, the user can flip CAMERATRACKER into rendering a 3D feature preview which details the positions of the individual feature points, and their current selection and frame state. This unique feature can be used to visualise and assist in setting ground planes and creating objects.
Allows you to configure a ground plane, thus setting the entire scene's orientation and offset via a variety of means, including:
- Best fit set to selected, for rapid scene setup. It takes the currently selected points and fits a plane through them. With 3 points the plane uses those points as the defining structure, with 4 or more it finds a least error alignment. The center of the best fit plane is used for offset, and the angle for the scene orientation.
- Explicit set origin, set x, set y, set z, allowing fine tooth control over the scene's offset and orientation. Multiple point selection for axis options fits a best fit line through them. Great if you have multiple track points locked against an axis line in your scene.
- Scene null for manual tweaking. All CAMERATRACKER created cameras, solids and nulls are by default parented to the scene null. This allows you to easily configure the scale, rotation and offset of the entire scene using the standard After Effects null controls.
Stats Readouts & Refine Workflow
Features a comprehensive solve stats and refinement workflow. Standard After Effects parameters are set showing a number of useful statistics, both after the track phase and after the solve phase. These parameters include measures for:
- Track counts
- Track lifetime, in minimum and average values
- Track distance, in average and max values
- Solve keyframe status
- Solve overall error
- Solve margin of error
- Solve per-frame errors, in average and maximum values
- Solve per-track errors as the maximum value
A variety of tools are provided for working with these stats, to allow particular features to be isolated and removed including:
- Data overlays: Selection and 'hover over' tool tips are provided on feature points, so you can easily see the data of the underlying point. These include measures of track length, distance, and error stats.
- Track finders: Easily select the worst offenders on the current frame using the track finder functionality available both in the in-viewer menu, and via hot keys.
- Threshold stats: Quickly select and remove the worst offenders across the time range of your entire sequence, using the built in After Effects' graph editor.
- Matting workflow/Object Separation - to enable selective tracking for dealing with more tricky shots.
- Powerful display functions - showing track and feature quality measures both qualitatively and as an overview
- In-track display options - to allow the user to elect feedback or not during the tracking process.
- Sub-range selection - track only the time region you so desire, using the combination of work area and analysis range options presented.
- Support for 32-bit After Effects CS4 and 64-bit After Effects CS5
- Fully float 32-bit image processing.
Core Tracking Workflow
CameraTracker analyzes a source sequence and allows creation of an After Effects camera, which matches that with which the original sequence was shot. The basic process is 3 stages, namely:
- Track - automatically seeds a number of track points, based on a series of user configurable parameters, and tracks them through the sequence. The tracks are dropped and new ones are reseeded if they fall below a certain quality threshold, and then are verified in a bi-directional tracking pass.
- Solve - builds a model of the 3d feature positions of the track points, and the camera with which they were shot, based on the parallax observed in a number of key frames, picked according to a series of user configurable parameters.
- Create Scene - creates and After Effects camera and null which embody the shot analysed. The null can be used to control overall scene parameters, such as the scale, offset and rotation.
Version / Release Updates
BUG ID 31947 - On After Effects CS6, point cloud data disappeared in custom views. To get this working correctly, you need to install both CameraTracker 1.0v5 and the latest update (11.0.2) to After Effects CS6
Specifications & Licensing
Operating System / Host Version
- After Effects CS5 on Mac OS X 10.5.8 (or later) 64-bit
- After Effects CS5 on Windows 7 64-bit
- After Effects CS4 on Mac OS X 10.5.8 (or later) 32-bit
- After Effects CS4 on Windows XP 32-bit
CameraTracker licenses are issued as either floating or node-locked.
All licenses are locked to the computers MAC/Ethernet address. Download Foundry System ID from the link below. Once downloaded, launching the program will generate a pop-up with your system ID. Send your System ID to RFX for licensing.
The Foundry FFT 5.0 License Manager for CameraTracker and other Foundry Products (FLEXlm tools)
Requirements for FlexLM:
OS X (10.4 & 10.5), Linux Centos 4.5 (32bit or 64bit), Irix 6.5+, Windows XP, Vista or 7. Other operating systems are likely to work.
Upgrades / Support
The Foundry offers the following Upgrades and Support options:
- Upgrades from previous versions
- Upgrades from node-locked to floating
RFX is available for all your support needs.
The Foundry provides Furnace support.
14 to 90 days rentals available for:
- CameraTracker Render Nodes
Furnace compliments the following applications
- Adobe After Effects
Training / Resources
Go to swdfx.com for custom training from Steve Wright
Steve Wright is a senior visual effects artist and trainer with over 20 years of production experience creating digital effects for over 60 feature films, including three years working with the Digital Intermediate process. As a senior digital compositing artist and 2D Technical Director he has an unusual combination of both artistic and technical understanding of Digital Compositing and Digital Intermediate.
His independent services include:
- Master Compositing Trainer
- Nuke & Shake Training
- Freelance Digital Effects Artist
- Feature Film Titling
- Speaker & Lecturer
- Visual Effects & Digital Intermediate Writer
Go to the Nukepedia for resources, tutorials, and all things Nuke