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03-06-2005, 12:01 PM   #1
Skeksi's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Millbury
Posts: 64
Newb - Home Movie Effects Questions
I'm new to this environment but I've always had any interest in 3D animation and especially as it relates to movies and special effects. I only recently had the chance to jump into it with Maya and several other programs that Ive been using for very basic home movies. My question is this.....I have some basic video footage I took of the family and want to add in a Maya generated model/animation. I was planning on doing the following...if you can correct my thinking or refer me to a better method I could use your expertise....

I have the video footage and I will create a Maya 3d model and animate it with a green background. I will export it to .tga clips and combine them into an .avi. Using Premiere I will make the green background transparent and overlay it onto my original video footage. (or do I need to do it the other way around?? original footage needs to have green screen? anyway.....) I think this will work but your input is appreciated.

Before I make my Maya model/animation can you point me to a tutorial that describes how to scale my model appropriately for my original video footage? How big does my character need to be in order to fit in properly with my video footage?

Sorry if this was addressed in other threads but based on my questions I wasnt sure terminology I need to reference or what this would be categorized under.

Thank you in advance for any support and advice you may have. I'm looking forward to making my first movie creation
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03-06-2005, 02:17 PM   #2
Alan's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,800
first off welcome to SM

in order to get 3d elements into you video footage you need to have it on your PC as a series of tifs or tgas You then need to go through the process of match moving/tracking it. What this does is allow you to create a 3d camera which matches the movement (hence the name) of your real camera. This is done with either maya live / boujou / matchmover. This is a tricky process for a beginner but a skill worth learning. You wont get it right first time I assure you!! but stick at it.

You can then animate your character etc etc and render them with what is called an alpha channel. What this does is tells your compositing app where the image should be transparent. So in the simplest scenario you can then place the CG straight over the video footage (not in premier! you need after effects/photoshop (for a still) /shake etc) bear in mind if you want your CG character to pass behind someone/something you need to eiether rotoscope where they will pass behind to create a mask that you can use to make your CG hidden at the correct place. Also bear in mind that you may need to create proxy geometry to cast shadows onto etc for your CG character.

What i'd suggest is getting to grips with maya before you try anything like this, it's not a trivial matter especially if you've never done it before why not check out the free beginner video tutes here at SM to get you started?

Post again and we'll see what we can do to get you started ok?

Technical Director - Framestore

Currently working on: Your Highness

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03-06-2005, 02:28 PM   #3
Skeksi's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Millbury
Posts: 64
Scaling I guess is the real question
EDIT: Just noticed your reply Thank you.....

Yeah I downloaded every free tutorial there was!! I love to make the time to go through them...I put most of them onto a DVD with main menu referencing each tutorial...makes it easy for me to go through Plus I upgraded to VIP to get some of the real nice points tut's also....considering what I'm looking to there a tutorial or two you recommend that addresses this issue in particular? Not sure the terminology would be. Thank you !!

Last edited by Skeksi; 03-06-2005 at 03:02 PM.
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03-06-2005, 07:44 PM   #4
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astrocalder's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Santa Monica
Posts: 76
another way to do it is this -

if you import a tga sequence of your video into maya, you can set it as the background movie. to do this create a camera in your scene. go to "environment" under "camera settings" and select file, as an image sequence, then import your sequence (remember to number it accordingly - if you have 300 frames make sure the first one is 001.tga, etc, that way it'll be sure to go in order). check the settings so it's fixed to the camera.
once this is in the background, you can create your model, and have it interact with the action in your video. a way to cheat, if you want to keep it simple, is once you're done playblast the sequence, and check the settings so that it's saved, not a temp file. this is an alternative to rendering. that way you can skip the process of using alpha channels and other programs to combine your footage later on.

of course, by doing this, you can't get the same quality as if you actually rendered out the sequence. for one the lighting won't be rendered, it'll be as you see it in the window. depending on how you want it you might not mind. like pure_morning says it's better of course to render your model seperately and combine it with footage later. but at least import your video as tga or whatever so you can see it clearly with your model.

one other trick - when you shoot your video, keep the camera still, like put it on a tripod. that way you won't need to do motion tracking.

also do you have after effects? i think it's necessary for the kind of things you'll want to end up doing, combining different types of footage.
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03-06-2005, 09:43 PM   #5
BMS's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Australia - Melbourne
Posts: 738
I did the following clip earlier this year Click Here to download. Its not very good.

I never used a specific compositing program like AE for this clip. I used Maya Live to track my camera movements, then did a very simple test to see if it would track ok with a 3D object in the shot. I exported the rendered layers in TGA format from Maya, then imported them directly to Premier.

Video 1 - Real Footage
Video 2 - Shadow Layer
Video 3 - Robot Layer

I still have heaps to learn about Modelling, Animation, lighting, you name it!

If you used AE you could get much better results.

Have a look at this thread if you get a chance.

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04-06-2005, 04:23 PM   #6
Skeksi's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Millbury
Posts: 64
Good ideas! Thank you.

By the way BMS that was very cool effect the shadowing etc looked very cool. Fitted right into the scene

I do have Adobe After it recently...along with a 6cd tutorial set from beginner to expert and Im half way through it now.....looks like it does some amazing things....I have premiere as well and have tutorials for that as well but havent done them yet. Not sure what Premiere could do that AE couldnt other than stream in my video. But will see once Ive complete that training as well. Maya is on my list of MUST learns....but as you can see I think that by learning AE and Premiere first...then work on my 3D modeling afterward to compliment all my video footage is where I am headed. I must say that Maya is quite intimidating but I am looking forward to learning my way around it. If I can accomplish the basics Id be quite excited.

As far as motion tracking is concerned....I recently learned how it is done in AE but havent quite understood yet how it helps. Im sure that will come in later lessons.

I like your idea astro about placing the movie on a back plane with a camera facing it and then add the 3d models in front. Simple but effective for basic effects. Its obvious at this point I just need to keep on reading and watching these tutorials. I have SO MUCH TO LEARN! Overload :p But im excited about the end result....if only it was like the Matrix and I could just plug in and upload this information. I'll check out that thread BMS thanks again gang
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