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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D Studio Max
Cgi

Understanding 3D Camera Tracking: Part 7

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

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1. Tracking Footage in SynthEyes

Step 1

Open the SynthEyes software.

Open the SynthEyes
Open the SynthEyes

Step 2

Before tracking the footage, you'll need to set the preference. Since, you will work in 3ds Max later, the preferences must be set according to 3ds Max

Go to Edit > Edit Preferences.

Go to Edit  Edit Preferences
Go to Edit > Edit Preferences

Step 3

Set the Axis as Z Up (Max), Default Export Type as Max Script V6/Later, Max Axis Ordering as XYZ and then click on OK.

Set the Axis
Set the Axis 

Step 4

To load the footage to track, click on Open File icon. Alternatively, press Ctrl-O keys.

Open File icon
Open File icon

Step 5

This opens a browser window. Navigate to the location where you've saved the files. The footage is in an image sequence, so select the first file and then click on Open.

click on Open
click on Open

Step 6

This opens the Image Settings window. Here you set frame rate of the footage, pixel aspect ratio and lens settings. I've set the Frame Rate to 30 fps.

Image Settings window
Image Settings window

Step 7

SynthEyes loads the footage in its timeline. There are several white plus signs on the table in the scene. These act as good tracking markers.

SynthEyes loads the footage
SynthEyes loads the footage

Step 8

Now press Auto button to start the automated tracking process.

Auto button
Auto button

Step 9

The software starts tracking the scene. You can see the process as shown in the following image.

The software starts tracking
The software starts tracking

Step 10

SynthEyes finishes the tracking task within a couple of seconds and generates the camera and tracking data as well. 

But, you can see the camera is not facing in the right direction. You need to setup the correct co-ordinate system before exporting the camera data to 3ds Max.

SynthEyes finishes the tracking task
SynthEyes finishes the tracking task

Step 11

To setup the correct co-ordinates, click on the Co-ordinate Control System Panel icon. Alternatively, you can press F8 key.

Co-ordinate Control System Panel
Co-ordinate Control System Panel 

Step 12

First click on the 3 icon and then click on a good tracking point to set it as the origin.

First click on the 3 icon
First click on the 3 icon

Step 13

Next, click on another point to make it the reference point for the XY plane.

Next click on another point
Next, click on another point

Step 14

Finally, click on one more point to make it the reference point for the Z direction. As soon as you click on it, a dialogue box appears and asks you to finalise the coordinate system. Click on Yes.

Finally click on one more point
Finally, click on one more point 

Step 15

Another window appears which confirms the solving is done. Click on OK button.

Click on OK button
Click on OK button

Step 16

And now you'll see the camera is pointing in the right direction. All the tracking points are now placed on the grid. This confirms that the tracking has been done successfully. 

Now you're ready to export the camera to Max.

Ready to export the camera to Max
Ready to export the camera to Max

Step 17

It’s time to save the camera data. Go to File > Export > Max Script V6/Later.

File  Export  Max Script V6Later
File > Export > Max Script V6/Later

Step 18

Save the script as Max Tracker.

Save the script as Max Tracker
Save the script as Max Tracker

Step 19

A small dialogue box appears to ask for another confirmation. Select V6 or later and then click on OK.

Select V6 or later
Select V6 or later

2. Setting up the Tracked Camera Data in 3ds Max

Step 1

Open 3ds Max. The very first thing you need to do is run the script, which you saved from SynthEyes. Go to Max Script > Run Script.

Open 3ds Max
Open 3ds Max

Step 2

You'll see the same camera and tracking points load inside the 3ds Max viewport. The camera is looking downwards and all the tracking points are perfectly positioned on the ground.

You will see the same camera and tracking points
You will see the same camera and tracking points

Step 3

You'll need to set the live footage as the background. 

While in the Camera view, press Alt-B to open the Viewport Configuration window. Check the Use Files ratio button, the Animate Background option and the Match Rendering Output button, and then click on the Files button.

Viewport Configuration window

Viewport Configuration window

Step 4

Since the live action footage is an image sequence. Select the first file (Table_00000.jpg), check the Sequence option and then click Open.

Since the live action footage is an image sequence
Since the live action footage is an image sequence

Step 5

Create a box in the camera view.

Create a box in the camera view
Create a box in the camera view

Step 6

I've applied a wooden texture on to the box.

I have applied a wooden texture on to the box
I have applied a wooden texture on to the box.

Step 7

I've also applied several lights to mimic the original lights in the live action footage.

Apply several lights
Apply several lights

Step 8

Now you can render the sequence. After rendering and playing the video file, the 3d box will look like the integral part of the live action footage.

Render the scene
Render the scene

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