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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Blender
Cgi

Single-Point Tracking in Blender

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

Preview

1. Tracking the Footage

Step 1

Open Blender

Open Blender
Open Blender

Step 2

Click on Editor and select Movie Clip Editor

Movie Clip Editor
Movie Clip Editor

Step 3

Click on Open to import the footage into the Movie Clip Editor.

Movie Clip Editor
Movie Clip Editor

Step 4

Go to the folder with the image sequence of the footage. Select the first frame and click the Open Clip button.

Open Clip
Open Clip

Step 5

Now you can see the footage inside the movie clip editor window. Click on Prefetch Frames button to load the image sequence in the RAM. Alternatively, press the P key.

Prefetch Frames
Prefetch Frames

Step 6

Try to search for a good contrast point to track the footage. Once you have searched a point, press and hold the Ctrl key and secondary-click with the mouse button onto that point. 

A tracker appears on the footage. 

Tracker
Tracker

Step 7

Click on Track Forward button to track the footage.

Track Forward
Track Forward

Step 8

Within a couple of seconds, the footage gets tracked. You can play the footage to check the reliability of the track. In my case, the footage has been tracked without any problem.

Tracking done
Tracking done

2. Compositing of the Footage in Node Editor

Step 1

The next stage is to work in Compositor mode. Click Editor and select Node Editor.

Node Editor
Node Editor

Step 2

This is how the default interface of the node editor looks. If you've ever worked in Fusion or Nuke, you will find the process quite familiar. Click on little tiny + sign on the left.

Node Panel
Node Panel

Step 3

It opens the node panel.

Node Panel
Node Panel

Step 4

Go to Input > Movie Clip. The Movie Clip node appears inside the Node Editor window.

Node Editor
Node Editor 

Step 5

Following the same way, go to Output > Composite and Viewer. You get Composite and Viewer nodes as well.

Viewer node
Viewer node

Step 6

In the Movie Clip node, click on Open and import the background footage.

Movie Clip node
Movie Clip node

Step 7

Connect the Movie Clip node’s image string to the Viewer node’s image string. 

Alternatively, with the Movie Clip node selected, press and hold Ctrl-Shift together and click on Movie Clip node. This will connect together both nodes.

Movie Clip and Viewer Node
Movie Clip and Viewer Node

Step 8

Turn on Backdrop option to see the footage inside the compositor.

Backdrop
Backdrop

Step 9

Go to Input > Image. The Image node appears inside the Node Editor window. I'm using this node to import the foreground image which I want to place over the background footage.

Node Editor
Node Editor

Step 10

In the Image node, click on Open and import the foreground image.

Image node
Image node

Step 11

You can see the foreground image, by pressing and holding Ctrl-Shift together and click on Image node. This is a simple sign image with alpha channel.

Ctrl-Shift together
Ctrl-Shift together

Step 12

It’s time to merge both nodes together to see the final composited result. So, go to Color > Mix. The Mix node appears inside the Node Editor window.

Node Editor window
Node Editor window

Step 13

Drag and drop the Mix node between the Movie Clip and Viewer Nodes.

Mix node
Mix node 

Step 14

Connect the Image node’s image string to the Mix node’s image string.

Image node
Image node

Step 15

Turn on Alpha option of the Mix node.

Alpha option
Alpha option

Step 16

The size of the foreground image is quite big and it overlaps the background footage. Go to Distort > Transform. The Transform node appears inside the Node Editor window. I will use this node to scale down the size of the foreground image.

Transform node
Transform node

Step 17

Drag and drop the Transform node between the Image and Mix Nodes. I've used its transform values to position and scale the image according to the need.

Image and Mix Nodes
Image and Mix Nodes

Step 18

Go to Input > Track Position. The Track Position node appears inside the Node Editor window.

Track Position
Track Position

Step 19

Click Browse ID Data icon of the Track Position node. Select the footage which has been tracked.

Browse ID Data
Browse ID Data 

Step 20

You get two new options-Camera and Tracking Data. Click on Camera and select the Blender’s camera. Click on Tracking Data and select the tracker from the list.

Tracking Data
Tracking Data

Step 21

Go to Distort > Transform once again. A new Transform node appears inside the Node Editor window. I will use this node to connect with the Track Position node.

Transform
Transform 

Step 22

Drag and drop the new Transform node between the earlier Transform node and Viewer Nodes.

Transform node and Viewer Nodes
Transform node and Viewer Nodes

Step 23

Connect X and Y strings of Track Position node to the new Transform node’s string respectively.

Track Position
Track Position

Change the Track Position node’s mode from Absolute to Relative Frame.

Absolute to Relative Frame
Absolute to Relative Frame

Step 24

The work is done. Play the footage and you will see the foreground image going perfectly with the background footage. 

A little bit, however, of post production work is needed here.

A little bit of post production work
A little bit of post production work

Step 25

Change the Mix node to Overlay.

Overlay
Overlay

See how the foreground image now mixes with the background footage perfectly.

Final
Final

Step 26

You can add a Blur node also. Applying a tiny amount of blur matches the foreground image with the background image perfectly.

Add a little blur
Add a little blur

Conclusion

In this part of the tutorial series, I showed you how to create single-point tracking. In the next part of the tutorial, I will show how to set up tracking from two points. 

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