Combined Arms Motion Tracking and Compositing

A key part of The Imperials has always been integration of 3D models into live action footage. This was most evident in Episode 4 Armour where the Imperials brought out new armoured vehicles to test them. Future Imperial episodes will continue to build off this, with two more in the works that require 3D weapons.

However that episode was done using Maya, something I no longer use now that I have switched to Blender so it has been necessary to do further testing to make sure that I can do the following:

  • Motion track the footage
  • Add in 3D assets and then render them out
  • Composite them using After Effects

I decided to shoot some new footage one day and see what I could do. Much to my satisfaction Syntheyes tracked the footage just fine and the camera solve was solid. I imported the result into Blender and then rendered the animation out and composited it using After Effects. I was quite pleased with it as a first result, and decided to post it on Reddit.

The feedback I got was good and I realised that there were several things that needed improvement. Even though my plan was to switch to another video to work on, I decided to go back and make the changes. I changed the lighting texture, fixed some of the shadowing and modified the tank rig to remove some excessive bounce, and here is the final result.

See the first version here.