Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Digital Audio, Video

This chapter is from the book

3D Matchmoving

Once a solid 3D tracking solution is exported from a 3D tracking application, creating a 3D matchmove involves little more than setting up a scene and importing the solution into your 3D or compositing application of choice, as shown in Figure 4.43 and Figure 4.44. (See Chapter 3 for much more on matchmoving.)

Figure 4.43

Figure 4.43 3D tracking solution and point cloud in PFTrack

Figure 4.44

Figure 4.44 The same 3D tracking and point-cloud solution imported into a 3D application (which depicts tracking points from the point cloud as null objects in the 3D application)

Advanced 3D Tracking Strategies

There are many times when it is extremely helpful to know some advanced 3D tracking strategies as well.

Hand 3D Tracking and Matchimation

Unfortunately, as is usually the case in VFX, 3D tracking is often not quite as simple as autotrack, autosolve, autoorient, and export. Tracks contain too much noise or too many errors or they just downright fail altogether. In these cases, as with 2D tracking and matchmoving, you need a fallback strategy.

Very similar to the hand-tracked 2D track in Chapter 3, when all else fails, you can hand track, or matchimate, a 3D track as well. Matchimation is derived from the combination of matchmove and animation and refers to the process of manual frame-by-frame or keyframe matching a track.

To hand track a 3D scene, you first want to create 3D reference stand-in objects for any scene elements with known sizes and/or positions. You are basically trying to replicate key elements of the scene in your 3D application. Elements nearest to the 3D CG object you intend to place into the scene are the most important to place, if possible. In Figure 4.45 you can see a dolly shot sequence filmed on a bluescreen set, which will become an air traffic control radar monitoring station in this example.

Figure 4.45

Figure 4.45 Bluescreen VFX sequence to be hand 3D tracked

Load the footage into the background of your 3D application, making sure the footage size and aspect ratio is set correctly in both the background and the scenes camera. Set your 3D models to wireframe view mode so that you can easily see through them to the footage behind as well as the wireframe edges outlining your elements.

Since I know that we cut the tabletop portions of the “radar stations” to 30 inches wide and left them at their full 8 foot, plywood length, there is a base measurement to start with to build a reference object in your 3D application. In Figure 4.46 you can see two of these, laid end to end, to represent the two workstation countertops. Let’s eyeball the height of these countertops and place them at about 27 inches (the height of my workstation desk, which seems about right). Next, using the camera VFX cues you can ascertain (discussed in Chapter 1), set your camera to a fairly wide focal length and place the camera’s starting position at about 30 inches off the ground and approximately 10–12 feet away from the subject, as shown in Figure 4.46.

Figure 4.46

Figure 4.46 Camera placed at guesstimated starting height and position

Align the wireframe with the counter at whatever point in the shot you choose. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to work from beginning to end, end to beginning, middle forward and back, and so on. Keep in mind the information you can deduce from the scene—such as that the camera appears to be on a dolly so will likely translate in a straight line, even if it pans about on its Y axis. Move the camera in a straight line on its local axis until the end (or furthest point) of the shot and pan the camera until the counters and the wireframes align, as shown in Figure 4.47. Set your camera’s first keyframe here.

Figure 4.47

Figure 4.47 Camera aligned with scene element

From here, it’s the same procedure you followed for the hand 2D track, only in 3D. You will move your camera along the guesstimated path to the point where the 3D scene element you’re tracking diverges the farthest from the wireframe before either beginning to return or changing directions. This will be your next keyframe position, and you will realign your camera until the stand-in and on-screen element are aligned, then set your next keyframe, and so on (Figure 4.48).

Figure 4.48

Figure 4.48 Camera aligned with scene element to next keyframe position

Then simply repeat this process until the wireframe and scene elements are locked throughout the duration of the shot.

Once this is completed, any object added to the scene—once composited and properly integrated, color corrected (covered in Chapter 5), and rendered—should composite and integrate nicely, follow the motion of the scene, and appear to actually exist within the scene, as shown in Figure 4.49.

Figure 4.49

Figure 4.49 Integrated 3D air traffic radar workstation set piece

3D Object Tracking

If we defined 2D stabilization as simply 2D motion tracking data of a piece of footage, inverted and applied back to that footage, you can think of the inversion of 3D camera motion track data as object tracking. Where the output of a 3D camera track is a static scene and a moving camera, the output of an object track is a static camera and a moving object or scene. This technique is particularly useful in cases such as adding 3D prosthetics or props to moving characters, covered in detail in Chapter 7.

Motion Control and Motion Capture

Finally, no discussion of matching camera movements would be complete without discussing motion control and motion capture.

Motion control is the utilization of computer-controlled robotics (Figure 4.50) to very precisely create, record, and repeatedly play back camera movements over and over again. This allows for the combination of complex slow motion, or replication shots, such as adding clones of the same character to the same scene all within a continuous moving camera shot. On the pro side of this technique, motion control shots are very precise, align perfectly, and allow amazing seamless integrations. On the con side, motion control robots are expensive, huge, slow, and unwieldy and take a lot of time to set up, rehearse, and tear down.

Figure 4.50

Figure 4.50 3D illustration of a motion control camera rig

Similarly, motion capture, though not actually camera tracking either, is the capture of object motion data (as you would get with an object track) via various forms of data capture ranging from optical to wireless sensor arrays, as shown in Figure 4.51.

Figure 4.51

Figure 4.51 Wireless motion capture sensor camera rig

Motion capture is mainly used for the recording of lifelike organic character motions and interactions, and although used extensively in VFX for 3D CGI character and digital doubles, it is more in the realm of 3D character animation than VFX and compositing.

Now that you understand the basics of VFX, 2D, and 3D, let’s jump right in and begin integrating some CG VFX in Chapter 5.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020