About this DVD

Little hint at the beginning: This page is meant to be the navigation tool for this DVD. The thumbnail previews are supposed to launch the videos. You can go fullscreen from there. Any current web browser should be able to do this.

This DVD is meant for filmmakers who want to start out doing tracking and VFX. You will find a lot of hints and advices that will help you not only to solve different kinds of shots, but also how to shoot them. For the most part I created the tutorials with the independent filmmaker in mind, using digital cameras. But the knowledge you will get on this DVD can also be transferred to real film cameras.

This DVD has been created between the releases of Blender 2.62 and Blender 2.63.
The functionality of the tracker has not been changed very much during this period. But there have been little bug-fixes and overall improvements of usability of the Movie Clip Editor. By the time you get this DVD Blender 2.63 will be out. By using always the latest development versions of Blender during recording I tried to make sure that I can also demonstrate the latest features that you will have in Blender 2.63. So even though we have put the stable version of Blender 2.62 on this DVD I want to encourage you to go to www.blender.org and download the latest version. Also you will notice that during the chapters several new features have been added to Blender, which will be mentioned in the videos. The development will of course continue after the release of this DVD. So chances are that by the time you get this DVD blender has new tools, more features, better solving, input panels for survey data and proper rotoscoping tools, not to mention the better and faster compositor and renderer. So if there are differences in the Blender version used on this DVD and the one you are using, don't be mad about that. Be happy! With the purchase of this DVD you have helped the Blender Foundation develop these new tools!

Blendfiles & Footage

This DVD includes all blendfiles of the endresults of these chapters as well as the footage used in it. The footage has been shot with DSLR Cameras, more specifically the Canon 550d/T2i with the 18mm-55mm kit lens and the Canon 5D with a 28mm and a 17mm lens. The shots from chapter 03.02 and 05.03 have been filmed by members of the italian Blender community (thanks to Gianluca Faletti and Luca Bonavita) in Turin. You can download a lot more of it at www.kino3d.org/tracking/tracking_footage/
All files are released under the creative commons license.
There is one 4K image sequence that didn't fit onto this DVD. You can download it it here: http://cgex.uvalight.nl/km9i3lkn984/7Bridges/
It will most likely also be available at this address: media.xiph.org


On this DVD you will find the official stable version of Blender 2.62. You can do all the tutorials with it. However, during the process of recording this DVD there have been some little improvements to the Motion Tracker. To take advantage of them I suggest to go to www.blender.org and download the latest version.
One thing that has been changed during the last months was Blender's mesh system. It has been switched from Edit-Mesh to BMesh. BMesh allows you to have NGons in your models, which allows some more advanced modeling techniques. However, it also introduced some little issues and bugs that I experienced during recording. Blender is in a process of constant little changes.
But this is a good sign! It means that Blender is in a constant evolution and is getting better and better!

To make sure you can watch all the videos on this DVD you'll also find a version of the VLC movie player on the DVD. If you are on Linux, just apt-get it.

1. Tracking Basics

Before starting to solve camera movements we can already do a lot of interesting things with just a few markers.
So in this part of the DVD we will explore different techniques how to add CG elements to the footage without having to create a full blown 3D camera solution.
The focus here lies on the interface of the Movie Clip Editor and the Compositor and how to work with Blender in general.
The details about tracking algorithms will be covered in the second part of the DVD.

01 1 Point Tracking(53 min)

  • Introduction to the tracking interface
  • Using Markers as parent object
  • Particle system
  • Using Compositor and Sequencer

02 2 Point Tracking (26 min)

  • Using 2 markers with constraints and armature
  • Compositing
  • Luminance-Key
  • Alpha-Masking

03 Stabilization(7 min)

  • Stabilizing location and rotation
  • Autoscale

04 4 Point Tracking(20 min)

  • Tracking 4 corners to replace a screen
  • Using the Hook-Modifier
  • Compositing with Add and Blur

2. Camera Tracking

Calculating the virtual 3d movements of a real camera and reconstructing the scene geometry takes a bit more effort and knowledge than just to track a few points. It can really help a lot to know how a camera works and what the solver tries to calculate during the solving process. So we'll have quite a bit of theory to cover, including focal length, photogrammetry, lens-distortion, keyframes and lots more. A camera solution is never final until you see a real render with 3d elements in it to be sure that there is no sliding, jumping or swimming. So we'll have a close look at how you can analyze markers, clean them up, calculate distortion and how to setup a composite form scratch.

01 Photogrammetry(24 min)

  • The principles of a solution
  • Understanding keyframes
  • Solving from 2 images

02 The first shot(31 min)

  • Tracking a whole shot
  • The different tracking algorithms
  • Solving the shot

03 Inside the camera(21 min)

  • How focal length works
  • The relation of sensor size and focal length
  • Adjusting the parameters of the Blender camera
  • Setting up distortion paramters
  • Using Auto-Refinement

04 Setup tracking scene(28 min)

  • Scene orientation
  • Using proxies
  • The composite setup

05 Compositing(28 min)

  • Renderlayers
  • Alpha channel
  • Renderpasses
  • Combining passes
  • Undistortion
  • Motion Blur

06 Examining the solution(7 min)

  • A closer look at the finished render
  • Refinining and improving the solution

07 Feature Detection(53 min)

  • Using automatic feature detection
  • Cleaning up tracks
  • Using the curve view
  • Examine 3d solution
  • Adjust camera parameters based on 3d markers
  • Manual feature detection
  • Colored markers

3. Advanced Tracking Techniques

Tracking and solving easy shots is always a fun thing to do. But there are lots of things that can make things a bit more difficult. Too much motion, too less motion, wrong motion etc can all mess up your shot. But of course the goal can't be to only track and solve easy footage, so in these chapters we'll have a look at some ways how you can track and solve blurry footage, how to analyze a solution with external reference and how to help Blender to solve shots with too little perspective information. The last chapter on this part of the DVD shows you how to use Blender's painting tools to create a clean plate by masking out elements with UV projection and rotoscoping.

01 Motion Blur(34 min)

  • Marker settings and presets
  • Match previous frame
  • Tracking with frame limit
  • Track scene in 2 parts

02 External Reference(21 min)

  • Solving the Shot
  • Manual undistortion to trigger refinement
  • Analyze geometry
  • Use external reference images to check solution

03 Helper Frames(18 min)

  • Try solving a moving pan shot
  • Join tracks with helper frames
  • Combined solution

04 Creating a clean plate(65 min)

  • Track shot
  • Solve
  • Projection Painting from movie as source
  • Masking with shadeless material
  • Using RotoBezier

4. Object Tracking

So far we have only been tracking and solving the camera motion. But you can also solve moving objects, as long as they don't deform. A car driving by, a virtual sword, limb extensions or head tracking are all very popular examples of object tracking. For as long the markers don't deform and have enough perpsective it is the same for the solver if it is moving camera with a static object or a moving object and a static camera. But even the combination of a moving camera solution with a moving object is possible in Blender, thanks to the constraint system.

01 Head Tracking(40 min)

  • Track based on single color channels
  • Solve object motion
  • Applying Object Solver
  • Reconstruct geometry

02 Composite Head Track(45 min)

  • Import head mesh
  • Adjust to solution
  • Project footage onto mesh
  • Put on virtual glasses
  • Mask out ambient occlusion
  • Remove markers

03 Object & Camera Track(40 min)

  • Track markers based on single color
  • Solve object motion based on estimated parameters
  • Track and solve camera with refinement
  • Clean up tracks
  • Repair jumps with extra perspective
  • Add solvers to object and camera

04 Composite with Cycles32 min)

  • Render plasmagun with Cycles
  • Import gun into tracked scene
  • Render with Cycles
  • Setup Cycles for compositing
  • Combine Cycles and Blender Internal

5. Extras

Somewhat related to Object Tracking is putting 2d markers onto a moving object to drive a deforming surface. Since most of the techniques for that have been covered in previous chapters, it will only be an overview over the basic techniques that are used for that.
In this last part of the DVD you'll also learn how to export a tracked shot into other applications, get some more general tips about shooting, as well as some more informations about various topics that didn't make it into any of the other videos. Finally we'll also have a look at an example with a moving object together with markers on a deforming surface.

01 Face Deformation(14 min)

  • Using tracking devices for extra perspective
  • Project 2D markers onto surface
  • Drive armature with projected empties
  • Deform second surface with armature
  • Support deformation with shapekeys

01 Exporting(9 min)

  • Export to Cinema4D
  • Export to After Effetcs

02 Tips for shooting(7 min)

  • Shoot enough perspective
  • Put stuff in the foreground
  • Avoid Image Stabilization
  • Use Helper Frames

03 Various Tips(20 min)

  • How to handle 4k footage
  • Feeding dutch ducks
  • Markers on floor are not enough!
  • Mix track and hand-animated camera
Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available under the GNU General Public License - © Blender Foundation | CC-BY