Expressions/Scripts/Presets

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hype
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TrackerViz for After Effects

Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:43 pm

Image

TrackerViz is an amazing little free tool for After Effects that makes it unbelievably easy to work with tracking data! You can average tracks together, correct drifting tracks, use averaged tracks to calculate rotation and scale, and it's the simplest, easiest way to apply tracking data to mask vertices EVER for After Effects! And the latest version, v2.1, includes some special functions for quickly and easily applying your corrected tracks to corner pins!

Get TrackerViz here:
http://www.mackdadd.com/CG/trackerviz/T ... z_v2-1.zip

I revised the tutorial videos a bit.

The first part quickly goes over the After Effects tracker. I explain how tracking works in AE and most of the choices in the options panel for tracking. This first part is really for people who don't have much experience with AE's tracker, or maybe if you haven't been able to get good tracks using just the default settings. If you've tracked alot in AE, you should probably skip this one. Also, I should mention that I don't cover EVERYTHING about AE's tracker, just the settings you might want to adjust if your track is having a hard time.

The second part really shows what TrackerViz was made to do - tweak, modify, and correct tracking data. Everything about TrackerViz is now in this one video, including the new features of version 2.1. It was made around the way I've become accustomed to tracking, by using little solids, so I can watch the playback in realtime and visually see which tracks are working and which aren't.

http://www.mackdadd.com/CG/trackerviz/T ... part01.zip
http://www.mackdadd.com/CG/trackerviz/T ... torial.zip

They are all zipped Quicktime movies, so everyone should have no problem viewing them.

About TrackViz:
TrackerViz was created for me by nab here at Aenhancers. You can see the making-of thread here, if you haven't already and want to:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=946
nab is an AE scripting genius (you guys know that already :) ), and you can browse all his stuff at his website! (most of it is in French)
http://www.nabscripts.com/

v2.1 changes:
-Dockable!
-Remembers the mask weights of original mask shape and recalls it when applying the track data.
-Mask chapes can be open or closed now.
-Uses Attach Point instead of Feature Center for tracks and solids. This would have only been a problem for you if you were repositioning your Attach Points before tracking.
-Two new Corner Pin options, including automatic precomposing.
-Automatically renames layers (after prompting you) if there are any layer name conflicts.

BUG NOTE for earlier versions and the old video tutorial PART 3:
In creating the third video, I thought I discovered a bug in one of the TrackerViz functions, "Shape to Layers". It didn't seem to want to work the way I thought it was supposed to. I went back in and dabbled around and found out it's because I had set the LAYER OPACITY to LESS THAN 100%. If you leave the layer you are rotoing on at 100% opacity, "Shape to Layers" works just fine. :)

Hope everyone likes it! There's no excuses now for bad tracks in AE!!! :)
If you have any questions, post 'em here.

sean
Last edited by hype on Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:22 am, edited 5 times in total.
if it's not fun, what's the point?
http://www.mackdadd.com
 
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lloydalvarez
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:01 pm

This script is totally awesome and the tutorials make it so easy to grasp the super powerful concepts.. This totally elevates the tracking ability of After Effects exponentially! Thanks guys!
 
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lloydalvarez
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:05 am

Hey Nab,

I am loving this script and for other things besides tracking. I have always wanted to be able to animate masks using expressions and now I am able to do it with your script. I animate a few solids and then use TrackerViz to convert them to a mask, but I would like to make 1 small feature request. Currently you make a closed mask, but noticed that there is a flag in the script where you assumed that you would always want a closed mask which i guess is true for roto, but not if you want to use the mask for other purposes. So my request is for a check box (maybe next to the rotobezier one) that asks if you want an open or closed mask.. I currently am doing it by modifying the script by hand but it would be nice to have it in the GUI..

Thanks,

Lloyd
 
AndrewE
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:23 pm

Bloody brill!
Cheers,

- Andrew
 
Redsandro
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:23 pm

+10/kudos/thanks to nab and hype!

I only watched the 3rd part of your tutorial though, to see if I could learn something new. And indeed, it helped me key a very ugly greenscreen believe it or not! Layers to shape is awesome.

My only comment/suggestion, unless I'm missing some point, is the following:
The function "Track combine" should be called something like "bake position" or "bake transform", because that's what it does. It does not combine tracks and it gives the wrong impression you have to select multiple tracks. Maybe update this in a next release? It's not crucial ofcourse but a cosmetic change for the better imo. But sorry if I did something wrong and this is incorrect!
avi + m2t -> Vdub + DGIndex -> AE CS3 -> x264 -> Hell On Earth :mrgreen:
 
hype
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:44 pm

It does combine tracks, actually. If you watch the 2nd tutorial, you will see what it does (I can't remember if I use it in the 3rd one or not). It does not average multiple tracks, or bake out a set of keyframes, it takes a track (or any layer with position data) that is parented to another layer with positional keyframes and combines the positional data from both layers into a single layer with the same motion. Adding them together, combining them.

Bake Position is what selecting "keyframes" instead of "expressions" does. "Expressions" keeps the data live and changeable, while "keyframes" bakes the data out into a set of keyframes.
if it's not fun, what's the point?

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Butters
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:06 pm

I wonder if it'd be possible to get this to run in a dock-able panel? That'd be really, really nice. Anyone?
 
hype
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:30 pm

Maybe next version. It's definitely been noted. I would love to see that, as well.
if it's not fun, what's the point?

http://www.mackdadd.com
 
nab
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:31 am

I've read all the comments and every request will be in a way or another incorported in the next version.

The most recent version of TrackerViz can be found here http://www.nabscripts.com/downloads_en.html

Sean, great video tutorials 8) !
 
hype
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:03 pm

Thanks! :) I set up an actual feature list for v2 in the original "making of" thread...

viewtopic.php?p=4368#p4368
if it's not fun, what's the point?

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)orgen
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:08 am

This is a great plugin and tutorial...thanks for making this more accessible!

...I'm not very experienced with either 2d or 3d tracking and I was wondering after watching the video tutorial if this data can be used in 3d space? Is it possible to replace the screen with a 3d plane that keeps positioning itself so each corner hits the tracked corner?
 
hype
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:59 am

That is something I've often wondered about myself, )orgen.

Right now, no, there is no way to turn it into a 3d plane. The best that can be done is corner pinning, which I show in the 2nd tutorial. You could use Mocha from Imagineer Systems, which is a planar track, but when you bring it into AE, it's just a corner pin track, so it's no different. If you don't have Mocha, I show how to do sort of a copy of planar tracking using just AE here:
http://www.simplycg.net/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=3554

I have often thought it possible to create a script that can turn corner pin data into a 3d layer, though. The only thing missing is a 5th point - a camera. But in my head, if you could set a reference frame for AE to use, I don't see why it couldn't calculate the position in 3d space. Setting the reference frame would, essentially, be setting the 5th point, the camera position. But I don't know any scripting, so me being able to work this out as a script is impossible. I can see the path of actions that should happen, I just can't make it a script.

(In a bit more detail... once you set the reference frame, and maybe a size for the 3d layer, AE should be able to calculate where in 3d space the corners of that 3d layer are to maintain the size of that layer. There a feature in the corner pin tool that does an interesting bit of math - the ability to move the attach points beyond the feature areas. Try this - set up a 4 corner track, then, before you actually press the track forward button, move only the attach points out beyond the feature areas. Now track it. You'll see AE does a pretty dang good job of calculating where out in space those new attach points are, and as you watch it, it looks shockingly like a 3d plane moving in real 3d space.)

Also, I don't think this would work on anything other than a locked off camera shot, because it would need that user-set reference frame to always look back to to calculate. A moving camera would have a moving reference frame, a moving 5th point. At that point, there's no reason to not just use Syntheyes or Boujou or something. Actually, no, this is wrong. Either the camera would have to be locked off, with the plane moving through the shot (like the side of a bus moving through a locked-off shot), or the object itself would have to be stationary (like a camera moving around a laptop sitting on a table). Lens distortion might present a problem, as well.
if it's not fun, what's the point?

http://www.mackdadd.com
 
)orgen
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:53 am

thanks for the reply!

I see that this might be a bit tricky...One approach I was wondering if might be possible is a fairly primitive approach...what if one made each corner of the track 2 pixels in a full color....then precomposed the track, and created a 3d layer with larger colored corners. Then use the pixel value to make sure each corner was in the right postition with the help of the 2 different color values, one surrounding the other. If there is not a match on all four corners the layer would have to keep rotating to find the match...very processor intensive and possibly impossible?

then a bit of averaging and bam! :=)
 
Redsandro
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Bug

Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:02 am

There's a bug in current TrackerViz. (I found it in 1.0, but it's also in 1.5)

I don't know if this affects keyframed output as well because I like to work with expressions, but if you use two tracks to output a layer using expressions (for example, position+rotation+scale from 2 trackers to expressions), it will not follow the attach point, but the center of the feature instead. This is wrong.

In order to fix this you can simply change the outputted expression at the moment.
Everywhere it sais:
something.featureCenter
Change to:
something.attachPoint


[hr]

hype wrote:
It does combine tracks, actually. If you watch the 2nd tutorial, you will see what it does (I can't remember if I use it in the 3rd one or not). It does not average multiple tracks, or bake out a set of keyframes, it takes a track (or any layer with position data) that is parented to another layer with positional keyframes and combines the positional data from both layers into a single layer with the same motion. Adding them together, combining them.

Bake Position is what selecting "keyframes" instead of "expressions" does. "Expressions" keeps the data live and changeable, while "keyframes" bakes the data out into a set of keyframes.


I understand the difference between the two and I checked your other tutorial for that. It indeed does what I thought it does. One can argue whether baking is a good word for something that can be virtually baked using expressions, but I stay with the opinion that the name is confusing. A parent layer is not a track. A finished tracker is. Track combine gives everybody the impression it combines tracks (as in finished trackers) which it does not do. I think it's only not confusing to people who've been close to the process of development.
avi + m2t -> Vdub + DGIndex -> AE CS3 -> x264 -> Hell On Earth :mrgreen:
 
Redsandro
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Re: TrackerViz for After Effects

Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:37 pm

I also have another suggestion for the expression based target layers. But it's so small I almost dare not make it.

Currently, trackerdata is linked to the layer that holds the data by using code like this:
L = thisComp.layer("layerName");

If this could be changed to:
L = comp("compName").layer("layerName");
we make manual editing more intuitive in cases where the compositor precomposes the source layer and thus breaks the expression layer.
How?
I just experienced the same thing where my scripting is a little rusty, I completely forgot how to address another composition, and I searched for a long time, finding that scripting guide and definitely wasting a lot more time than it took me to get the guts to make this suggestion. :P
There is no downside, because if the referenced composition's name is changed, the expressions will automatically update to the correct name.
avi + m2t -> Vdub + DGIndex -> AE CS3 -> x264 -> Hell On Earth :mrgreen:

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