4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2015 11:20 AM by completelywound

    Tracking a Graphic in 3D


      Hey all,

      I have an AE question, can you help me, and/or give me a proper phrase to search?

      "Tracking vector masks in AE" or "Anchoring points to graphics in 3D camera tracker"? 


      I'd like to superimpose this property line as I film (fly) 180 degrees around it.

      I'm attaching a video link, read the comments below on the video page.

      Many many thanks for any direction you guys might have.



      Here is the video clip:




      Here is a screen shot:

      Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 1.10.34 PM.png


      Here's the property line following the slope... so... it IS recognizing the tracking points. I just need to be able to pin/anchor some areas.

      (haven't tried correcting the lens distortion in the footage)


      Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 1.24.33 PM.png


      In respects of everything lining up this is ultimately what I'm shooting for, here over an image from Google Earth (which I obviously can't use):


      Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 1.35.47 PM.png




      Entire CC 2014 Suite 



      Mac Pro Late 2013

      Yosemite 10.10.2

      3.5 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5

      64 GB 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC

      AMD FirePro D500 3072 MB

        • 1. Re: Tracking a Graphic in 3D
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Read up on the 3D camera tracker.



          • 2. Re: Tracking a Graphic in 3D
            completelywound Level 1

            I have been for a good 5 days.

            I've been on Premiere for 20 years, love this stuff!

            Can you send me a link you recommend? A guru in that discipline? Is that you?

            Thank you very much for your time.

            • 3. Re: Tracking a Graphic in 3D
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              The problem that you are having is that the ground is not flat and your graphic is. What you need is an accurate 3D model of the ground that you can apply a projection mapped texture to. This is extremely difficult to do in AE. Let me explain with something as simple as a cube. Let's say you have a camera move around a cube and you want to add a graphic that wraps around the cube. The only way that you can accurately do this is to project or line up your graphic with each face of the cube. Inside AE we have a pretty good camera tracker. When you track your shot and then move over the tracking points you'll see targets at all kinds of angles. The tracking points on the side of a hill will give you a target that is laying on the side of the hill so it looks distorted or at an angle. Where the ground is flat you get a target that is at a different angle. What you need to do to get your graphic to stick to each point is to generate an accurate 3D model of the terrain then use projection mapping to lay the map over the ground.


              There are two ways to generate the map. The first is to use a isometric view of the property (no perspective) like a satellite image from Google Maps. The second way is to draw your accurate from a still frame of the property from your footage and use that view as the starting point. The first way is better.


              The second step is to generate an accurate model of the terrain using a program like Photo Scan which I have used for similar projects. Using about 100 frames of an aerial video you can generate a 3D model then apply a texture map to the model, then export only the map as a 3D model and then combine the footage and the 3D model of the map in AE using camera tracker.


              You can also use a program called Syntheyes to basically do the same thing.


              The long answer to your question is that it's going to take some more software and a bunch of research to do this project correctly. The short answer is that you cannot do this accurately in AE with the tools provided from Adobe.


              Another Option would be to take a look at Blender or any of the paid 3D apps like C4D and do your camera tracking and 3D model and projection mapping inside that app. I have done some fairly complicated Camera Tracking and modeling in Blender.


              I thought of another option. You could dig up a topographic map of the area and use that to create a displacement map for FreeForm Pro then use projection mapping to lay your map to the freeform layer and track that to the camera. Here's a Freeform Pro Projection Mapping tutorial... How To Dent a Garage Door VFX | Mettle

              • 4. Re: Tracking a Graphic in 3D
                completelywound Level 1


                Rick thank you so much for being so thorough, all your time and multiple options.

                I had no idea where to start. This is the exact framework I needed, I can't wait to dive in.