3D Tracking in After Effects

I have finished projects from some of Pete’s lessons I haven’t yet blogged about, but they were in my portfolio. The first is a video I edited using the 3D tracker function in After Effects. This meant I could add a 3D object into real life camera footage of a park.

Firstly we wrote our names in the text function, then changed the extrusion depth of the text. Afterwards we added lighting to the 3D text and it looked realistic. Then we imported camera footage that Pete provided us with of a play park. In the video the camera pans around and that was why we couldn’t just overlay the text into the scene, we had to track a point of the ground and land the text there, sealing it to the ground and keeping the angle of the text the same as the angle of the floor.

To do this the renderer on this 8 second clip needed to be Ray-Traced 3D. The next step was to use the 3D tracker function with detailed analysis on. This put dots all over the scene. It rendered through slowly and you could see the computer working- it linked the dots to the colours it could follow and you see the dots moving with the image as the camera pans frame by frame. When that’s done you juust hold shift and click on 3 of the tracker points mid-way through the scene (in this case at 4 seconds) to create a target on the ground. The points should be fairly far apart, but still show the shape of the ground, and you make sure it seems like the target it laying on the correct angle before you carry on. When this is done it places the text object onto the target and it looks like it’s standing on that part of the ground in 3D space.

I was so happy with the outcome of this as it felt like we could apply this to many other VFX assets (such as explosions) to create an interesting scene in a story.

Unfortunately I don’t have photos of the process. Often my computer has issues in VFX that me and Pete fix, but in this particular lesson I had to redo this more than once until it worked correctly, so I was delighted when we finally got there, but I didn’t have time to snap the process.

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