Monday 24 February 2014

Camera tracking in Blender 3D: Small tests and possible applications

Camera tracking is a fabulous technology that allows us, through a real footage, capture the movements of the camera and create a digitized version in Blender. Besides the camera, we can also captured landmarks, thus we can make a composition of virtual + real footage elements. It offers a lot of possibilities, ranging from putting a flying saucer over a city linked to the use in retail advertisements, such as those where prices appear, usually with an explosion or earthquake.

When we cross that tracking technology with photogrammetry, we can expanded more the range of possibilities. In the video above is a good example, because the ball and oranges placed beside the bust, make a lot of the spectors stay confused. What is very common, because those elements were digitized (scanned in 3D from photos) under the same lighting conditions used in that video.

The terrain itself was scanned using photogrammetry shortly after the video was recorded. The pictures were taken with the same camera, the 3D might be used up for subsequent animation, because the light was consistent with that presented in the recorded scene.

The tracking technology is not just to capture the movements of a camera. We can also capture a point or set of points for use in various types of material, such as facial animation.

The video above shows a proposed activity in one of my classes taught in a production company here in my town (Sinop-MT, Brazil). The objective was to test the tracking  and apply the animation on the face of a reconstruction of an young Egyptian of the Roman period. By doing so, the movements would be much more natural than simply animate a face manually.

We take the opportunity and tested the 3D facial tracking to replace the head of the individual filmed by another team member.

Above we have an example of tracking to capture the key points for the animation of a humanoid.

Remembering the Past: The video above was made to be presented in a lecture that I ministered at Latinoware 2010. At that time Blender did not have native tracking system and we had to solve this by using the Voodoo (freeware). To create the material I had the help of two people, Daniel Ludvig, the owner of the producing which I minister the classes today and Teo Macedo, art director, he is the same person appearing in the picture and video above. Thank you all!

Capturing the camera is not difficult for those who know the equipment. Apart from good referrals, we must bear in mind the data of the equipment used in the recording, as the aperture and the CCD.

If you want to venture into this world, I recommend watching the material presented in Blenderguru:

The high point of this link is that it offers downloads of the video used in the tutorial, you can start to test the technology without filming anything for now!

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