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Chapter 10. Expressions > Emulating 3D Tracking

Emulating 3D Tracking

Finally, there has to be something to make everyone's head hurt, not the least mine. Although most major studios have access to 3D tracking these days, you may run into a situation where you don't. This workaround will do the trick for you, using the plain old After Effects 2D tracker. Just keep in mind that it will work only on shots in which the ground plane is clearly visible as you travel forward (or backward) in imaginary Z space.

I first used this setup on an aerial shot of a forest for the television movie Superfire; images from the movie appear in Section III of this book. For this shot, the forest needed to be covered with smoke, but the point of view was from a moving helicopter, banking slightly to the right. The idea was to track in a series of smoke planes to give the illusion of a bank of smoke, but each one had to be positioned separately because of the movement in 3D space.


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