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Adding architectural rendering to drone footage in AE?

Explorer ,
Jul 25, 2020

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Hi there,

I was wondering if it's possible to import an architectural rendering of a warehouse into drone footage of an empty lot in After Effects without the use of 3D software like 3ds Max.

 

If not, what would be the easiest way to achieve that?

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Adding architectural rendering to drone footage in AE?

Explorer ,
Jul 25, 2020

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Hi there,

I was wondering if it's possible to import an architectural rendering of a warehouse into drone footage of an empty lot in After Effects without the use of 3D software like 3ds Max.

 

If not, what would be the easiest way to achieve that?

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Jul 25, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 25, 2020

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First off, everything in your post sets of several alerts. Was the footage even filmed with tracking markers? Does the camera have a good enough quality? What actual perspective is used? Depending on the answers to these questions, adding anything to the shot could range from "extremely difficult" to "utterly impossible", regardles even of whether this is 3D stuff or just a text layer. A screenshot or the entire video of the shot would clearly help. Creating a straight overhead shot may be possible, anything more fancy very likely not. You know, the perspective is simply going to change too much with certain types of moves and then any illusion of your 3D rendering will fall apart. That said, of course it would be 10000 times more preferable to work with a native 3D track in a 3D program and render everything in situ, even more so as your 3D options in AE are seriously limited even if you were to import a 3D model. OpenGL-based plug-ins have limitations on the model complexity due to their dependency on hardware and using solutions like Cineware would still have you spend lots of extra time converting the geometry, tweaking materials and lighting and so on, all of which would be redundant to what the 3D artist(s) already has/ have done already to produce your render.

 

Mylenium

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Jul 25, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Jul 25, 2020

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Thank you for your reply. I hope my question didn't alert/upset you too much.

 

This is a hypothetical so there's no video yet. The camera shoots 4k (UHD) at 100Mb/s with a 28mm lens (35mm format).

The plan is to shoot a simple pre-programmed tracking shot at a fixed distance, altitude, camera angle and focal length to eliminate variations in terms of distance to the object I want to add. This should make it easier to track and scale the model and help with rotoscoping and even lighting.

I could certainly create a topo civil file or terrain model with my drone but that's way beyond what we're trying to achieve and we'd like to stay away from software like 3ds Max or Lumion.

We've added simple 3d tracked boxes (very simple 3d shape layers) in DaVinci Resolve and After Effects before but I was wondering if there's a way to import an actual SKP or RVT file into After Effects to make it a little more realistic. I don't even care about textures and lighting. Just something slightly better than what we've done so far.

 

I'll check out Cineware. Thanks for the tip!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 25, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 25, 2020

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I'm not aware of any import/ export options for these types of data, but this doesn't mean a script couldn't exist or some cross-import/ export version by ways of creatively using the various mocha versions that come with the programs/ are partially implemented. For a simple tracking shot just moving and scaling a rendered image might work with a bit of masking, though it's still hard to judge. In any case, sounds like you have most of the ingredients figured out. I would just add some markers on poles to the equation. This tends to better represent the parallax effects than just boxes on the ground and can be helpful if the ground is too evenly colored to begin with or if the corners of the boxes you use for tracking get obscured.

 

Mylenium

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Jul 25, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 25, 2020

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I would Camera Track the footage, set an origin and ground plane, add a solid and a camera using the same markers, rename the solid Ground, then set a layer marker on the frame where you created the camera and ground track solid. Check the solid and make sure that it is stuck to the ground perfectly and oriented properly by editing the Z rotation. If the Ground solid is in the center of the lot and properly oriented that's all the better. 

 

The next step is to either look for a script called Normalize Track and run that or add a 3D null to the comp, set the Null's position to 0, 0, 0. Parent the Camera and the Ground Solid to the Null, then reset the position of the null to comp center.

 

Now that the camera track is normalized you can create a new C4D file using the File/New/Maxon Cinema 4D file menu. 

With the Architectural model saved as an OBJ file and properly textured you can add it to the C4D file. Because you Normalized the Camera Track the center of the C4D world is going to match the center of the comp. Save the file, add it to the timeline, then make adjustments in the C4D file to adjust the size and the orientation of the model. 

 

This whole process is much easier if you get the free Normalize Track script. It is part of my normal Motion Tracking workspace.

 

You can also use Element 3D to import the model. All it should require is a good camera track and an OBJ file of the building. I do this kind of stuff all the time.

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Jul 25, 2020 1
Explorer ,
Jul 25, 2020

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Thank you Rick. I haven't even thought about C4D. Maybe that's all I need. I'll give it a try.

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Jul 25, 2020 0