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Timelapse : 3D Tracking / Keying / Compositing using Blender (Tomato Branch)


We already featured the results of this video, but Francois "CoyHot" Grassard also recoded the process of doing the tracking and compositing with tomato branch and produced a timelapse of it.

Francis writes:

Two weeks ago, I made some tests about integrating a real character into a virtual world. Many peoples ask me how this effect was done. Last night, I took some hours to create a Timelapse of the process.


  1. Thanks! But how about a regular speed video where you explain a few things such as how many markers does one need etc.

  2. So I am obsessed with Blender, and I work in a professional 3d visualization environment where I used tons of commercial software. And yet one thing I cant get off my mind is, what can Blender NOT do... lol This is awesome.


  3. @Olaf

    I have been using other tracking software, from what I have learn, you should try to use as markers to different object at different distance from the camera to allow the tracker to accurately calculate the perspective and the tilt/pan/dolly/roll of the camera.

    For a more complex scene to track (like a moving object, or a long-distance dolly shot), there are some pretty good chances that not all objects are visible through-out the whole shot. You should put a lot of reference points to properly track the scene.

    Although sometimes it is a guessing game (depending on the shots you want to track), but the more markers you can put in your tracking the better, as long as you don't crash Blender.

  4. This is so cool.

    You know what I would like to see is a way to do a 'hand tracked' camera and use that as a reference for the solve.


  5. That's real nice. You make the color keying in a interesting way. I was using the matte->color difference or matte-> chroma key technique, but yours seems like a worth trying method.

  6. Man, in few years, Hollywood will be using Blender.
    with thousand of brilliant minds working together, this program will be the most powerful in the word. I'm not kidding.

    Blender it's not a program! Its a life style!!! :D

  7. Newbie question:
    Just wondering, in regards to matte keying (or whatever it's referred to), is it possible to include the shadows, instead of faking it with a model?

  8. Hi everybody !!!

    And thank you for you comments ... ;o)

    Olaf : I'm sorry but I have no time for the moment to provide a real tutorial about this, but some other guys has already made pretty good videos about that.

    MSZ : This keying method is the basis of the one used by professionnal keying system (Primatte, Ultimate, Keylight), heavily described in the wonderfull book "Digital Compositing for film and video" by Steve Wright (during 150 pages !!!). BUT, here is only a really basic setup. Before the end of the year, my goal is to code a compositing node for those keying tasks ... but far more complex and with a bunch of controllers.

    Simon : Yes ! I don't know if it's a well known technic, but when I do 3D Tracking, I create my garbage matte like that. It's pretty fast and you don't have to track the subject in 2D again (I saw that so many time in some major compagnies how track the shot twice ... :o(

    Aldi : I previously do that and here my technic : The garbage matte plane has been previously placed exactly where the guy is ... in the real world (you can see the placement of this element in the video using feets has a reference). In a different scene and a different compositing graph, i only do the keying and render the result in an images sequence (PNG with Alpha Channel). Back in the tracked scene, I project this resulting images sequence in "Window" mode, directly on the garbage matte plane (with the Alpha channel). Now, my plane support the image of the subject at the real distance from the camera. So, you can place lights and generate projected shadows on the ground or other objects using raytrace/transparent shadows. You can even use Ambient Occlusion using a "proxy object". This proxy is created by subdividing the garbage matte plane with a high value (using SubSurface modifier, for instance) and extruded according the Alpha Channel of the Keying process. The reason why the keying is done in another scene is that you can't reuse the compositing result as a texture.

    Bernard : Yes it's me !!! ;o)

    Thanks again for your comments.

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