Tracking, Ground Plane, Lighting

Once we had all of our footage, I then took all of our shots and began to track.

What did I use to Track? Nuke!  Why? Because I found it simple to learn and also to do simple enough tracks, then Truck is very good to use, hwoever if you are intending on doing extremely complex tracking movements, then a software such as PFT Track would be more benefical, but for the camera movements we had in this piece, Nuke is ok.

I learned how to track in Nuke and then export the camera and pointclouds (which come into maya as locators) using this video below on Digital Tutors.

So by using nukes 3D camera tracker node, i was able to track the footage and then export my camera and point clouds as an FBX and then import it into Maya.  I was also able to mask out the area on the footage which i wanted Nuke to track, as opposed to it tracking the entire footage.

After importing my camera, I then viewed my image sequence of whatever that shot was.  The next stage was to create the Geo which the character’s will walk on which will project the shadow also. To do this stage on a still camera is extremely easy, but to do it on a moving shot, that was a lot more difficult and this is where I had to use my point clouds. Recreating the Geo was just a case of creating a plane or cube and just shaping it to match the ground or the log which the character will walk/run on.

Once I had the Geo created, I then had to create the light which will cast the shadow of the character.  This is where I had to use the shadow reference’s which I took after each shot. I created a directional light and pointed and aimed it in the direction which my shadow reference shows me the light is pointing.  To test this out, I imported a character which I have and just posed him in the scene on top of the Geo and done a render to make sure that the direction of his shadow matches my reference images.  Now the colour of the shadow will obviously change, but that will be done in Nuke after renders.

I imported the character into each scene to make sure that the light direction was ok and it was then just a process of rotating the light a bit to match the reference images.


This lighting set up is created just to match the lighting on the day of shooting, the best I possibly can.

I didnt have acess to a chrome ball when we where filming, so instead I had to use a few twigs and sit it down and take a picture of the direction of the shadow. That way I was able to recreate a directional light within Maya that projected the shadow.


I then went through each scene and set up a 3 point light set-up that allowed me to light the character’s a bit better, however I turned of the shadowing in these lights, so that the only source of shadow would be from my directional light.

I went through each scene and done this.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 17.24.56Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 17.25.03Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 18.54.54Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 19.10.56Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 20.03.38



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