[Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

[Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby Chris Fullmer » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:05 am

This plugin imports data from Voodoo Camera Tracker, making it possible to recreate camera flightpaths in SketchUp, from real movies. Also known as camera tracking or camera matching. Honestly I don't know how useful this really is, but it is still pretty interesting and could have some limited, specialized instances where it might come in handy.

Intended workflow:
  • Shoot your movie clip (Voodoo has guidelines on waht types of clips, length, etc, work best for their software) (See video #1 below - my video clip).
  • Turn movie clip into a series of images (I've used QuickTime Pro, but there are other free ones out there. I just need to rememeber what its called and put a link to it).
  • Open series of still images into Voodoo Camera Tracker.
  • Use that software to track the camera - creating a lot of 3d point clouds along the way!
  • Export as a text file. (I've attached an example text file that can be imported for testing purposes.)
  • Import text file into SU using this plugin (from the File > Import dialog or through Plugins > Chris Fullmer Tools > Voodoo camera tracker Importer).
  • Now you have a scene for each from of your movie, a camera path of construction points, and a cloud of construction points. (I've attached an example sketchup file that shows how the data is imported if you'd like to play with it).
  • Clean up any construction points that are way out of the range.
  • Play the scenes animation inside of SU to get a feeling for how well the import worked.
  • Add your model, using the pointcloud as a reference for where it should sit more or less.
  • Export an animation of your model (hide construction points first) as a series of image frames.
  • Now somehow figure out how to composite those frames cleanly back on top of your original frames (I used photoshop. I know other software does it too. If there is interest, I am looking at automating this part of the process with ImageMagick). (see 2nd video below for an example of my final output video).
  • The End.

Ok, well that is a sort of theoretical workflow that worked for me. I should mention I have not used Voodoo very much, so my example video would have come out much better if I knew how to refine things inside of Voodoo. Also notice that Voodoo might be capable of exporting more info than I currently import. Right now I only import cameras and feature points. I do not know if Voodoo exports different/more data if you do more refining work inside the program. If so, I can add that to the importer once someone explains how it works :)

Please check out my original footage, my SketchUp model, my example Voodo export file that you can import just to test it out, and finally my final video, where I add an amazing fountain to the front of my office. It is amazing.

Let me know what you think, if you can get it to work at all, if you need more tips on layering the frames afterwards, etc. This plugin was written as a fun exercise, but I will develop it further if there is real demand. I can't tell if this plugin is just a silly little toy, or on the verge of being something really useful.

And lastly, I am not convinced that I have the camera FOV worked out perfectly. I have not tested it very thoroughly. So if someone notices that it is really off, let me know and I'll see if I can figure it out better. Oh yeah, and for some reason, my videos are always upside down in Voodoo, so this importer actually turns the Voodoo export upside down (which makes it look right in SU). But that could just be a quirk from how my video camera saves the movie file or something. So if you notice your videos come out upside down, or the scenes do not actually point at the geometry cloud, let me know! Thanks,

Chris

PS - Voodoo is apparently not for commercial use, so that is a bummer :(

My original video:



My video of what the camera movement and 3d point cloud look like inside SU:



The finished product:
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Gaieus » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:12 pm

Yes Chris, I already exactly know where and how I will use this when it comes to there. You say it's currently just a toy - I say it's an extremely useful tool which has immense possibilities (of course, you need to edit that lamp post and fountain so that the post looks to be in front of the fountain but I know it's just nit-picking now :D )

Thanks a bunch and I guess I will be closely following this topic to see if there is any development.

BTW Could it be used with still images? Say if I shoot two (or more) images from two, different angles? It would be an easier tool to handle than PhotoMatch!
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby xrok1 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:13 pm

now you need a shadow catcher. :geek:
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby ktslambieng » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:51 am

xrok1 wrote:now you need a shadow catcher. :geek:
:fecstatic:
I think it just used to create shadow by photomatch in sketchup :bounce: :sketchstatic: :sketchstatic:
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Mike Lucey » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:50 am

Well done Chris,

Thanks for taking on this project. I looked at camera tracking possibilities some time back and thought there was great potential. I even researched some devices for keeping the camera steady while walking, cycling past the 'scene'.

It would be fantastic to have a marriage of Camera Tracking with SketchUp at it would allow for very realistic 'This is how the building would look in reality' videos for presentation to clients and Planning Authorities. A plugin that would do this would definitely be worth its weight in gold and I am sure you would be well compensated for your efforts.

Like Csaba I to will keep a close eye on your progress and send you the bits and pieces that I have filled away somewhere on my HD.

Mike
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby thomthom » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:13 pm

This is a very interesting plugin.
I can see it being useful for arch viz. Grab a camera, go to location and film the project site from a human perspective and then insert your Sketchup model.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Sir » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:59 pm

Syntheyes is what we're currently experimenting with for our uni project. been used in films and things, its amazing...

dont think it integrates with SKP tho, we've been using c4D with it.

expensive too, but there are free demos


This is the interesting bit

Developing New Exporters

currently exporters 'only' available for these

Included exporters for MAXscript (3ds max, 3D Studio VIZ); Maya scene file; Softimage dotXSI; Lightwave; Maxon C4D (via .LWS); Modo; Bentley Microstation; Houdini; Blender; Carrara; Electric Image; Hash Animation: Master; Poser, Realsoft 3D; trueSpace; Vue 5 & 6 Infinite; Discreet Flame/Inferno/Smoke2008(3-D); Combustion(3-D); Combustion/Flame/Inferno 2-D ASCII tracker file; After Effects(2- & 3-D); Shake (2- & 3-D); Apple Motion(2- & 3-D); Nuke; FLAIR motion control cameras; Fusion (2-D); Fusion 5 (3-D); toxik; Mistika; Particle Illusion
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Chris Fullmer » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:33 pm

Yes, Syntheyes seems to be a popular option from what I've seen.

It would be amost equally easy to make my pluing incorporate synthese exports also. In fact, I could perhasp just make my script read in the 3ds max export file. Then theoretically it might be able to import the camera match data from any camera match software. Maybe that would be a good solution,

Chris
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby floric » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:31 pm

This plugin was exactly what I was looking for. But it seem not to work correct.
I generate a .txt (from 360 pictures, 132 kb) and then I import it with the plugin. The plugin asks me about the framerate, I klick OK and the scenes are generated. But all have the same perspective and there are no points from voodoo.
If I play the animation every "picture" is exactly the same. The camera also seems to be nearly exactly at the point of origin.
What went wrong? I used SU 8.
Please help me. Thats a really great tool and would be if I can use it! :D
Thanks, floric
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Chris Fullmer » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:59 pm

Hmm, that is a good question. This plugin was a bit of an experiment by me, but it definitely should work. I guess could you upload the .txt file here? You might need to zip it so the forum accepts it. I'll take a look at it and see if there is an oddity in the file that my script is not able to understand. Thanks,

Chris
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby floric » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:28 pm

Thanks for your answer. :)
I attached the file in a ZIP. 8-)
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby floric » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:07 pm

*PUSH*

Any changes at this problem. Or is there any other possibilitie to use Voodoo in Kerkythea?
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Chris Fullmer » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:39 pm

:oops: Sorry, I have not yet got to it. Perhaps this weekend I can though. Work has been unexpectedly bust the last couple of weeks - but we got a BIG project completed yesterday and this weekend I can finally relax.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby floric » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:57 pm

No problem. There is no hurry. :D
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby floric » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:52 pm

I really don't want to ennoy but ANY changes? :)
It would be great if this plugin would work. :D

EDIT: Sorry. I studied the camera-file of the tracker and it seems to be a bug of voodoo. :D
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker - Importer for SketchUp

Postby Chris Fullmer » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:19 am

Hey Floric, I am finally finding some time to look into this, and the first thing that I'm seeing is that the data is not coming out of Voodoo tracker correctly. So somehow I think you have not got Voodoo set up right. Is there any chance you could uploade the video that you are trying to track?

Chris
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby Bertier » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:10 am

Chris

that is great !

I'll give it a try.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby sims » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:56 pm

At first, I apologize for my pretty poor English, I don't speak it really fluently.
Whatever, I only wanted to thank you ! It's a pretty amazing work !
I'm a student in movie/photography and it's so useful for green screens !
Thanks a lot !
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby sims » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:17 pm

After some tests, I still got a question: how do you make axes generated by voodoo match these of your sketchup model?
Maybe my purpose is not really clear... (Shame on my pretty poor English ^^)
So I join a screenshot:

As you can see, there is some problem... And of course, if I simply rotate the model to make surface parallel to the ground, I lose scene views.
I'd like to make red and green axes match initial sketchup axes (and horizon to get realistic light while rendering) but I absolutly don't know how to do so ! I've been looking for solutions over the web for hours, but I didn't find anything !
No way to move horizon line in sketchup, nor to manually set axes in voodoo after tracking.
Well, I'm lost, can anyone help me, please?
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby Chris Fullmer » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:48 am

Hi Sims, I've been out on vacation for a few weeks, but I'm back now.

I admit that I can't tell what it wrong with that image. It looks like it imported well to me. Could you upload the .txt file?

Or in your PM you sent me, you mentioned just trying to use another file format. If you could give me some better detail on what file format it is, I might be bale to write another version that reads their file format.

Chris
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby sims » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:52 pm

Hope you enjoyed your vacation !

First, about Voodoo, it generated a text file and it works. But as you saw, the wrong thing is that it didn't correctly find horizon... But I didn't manage to fix it.

Then, I tried Boujou. It's much more flexible and userfriendly. It generates several kind of files. But its txt is not the same as Voodoo.

You'll find attached both Voodoo and Boujou txt files from the same tracking test movie.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby Chris Fullmer » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:23 pm

The picture is unclear. To me it looks like the camera path is oriented correctly with the model axes. It looks your "flat" plane and person component are the things that are wrong. The blue axis should be pointing upwards, but in your image, it is slanted, which is wrong. But I'm probably just not understanding what I'm seeing.

As for Boujou, sounds good. I'll see if I can look at it. How quickly do you need it? I'm really swamped. But I might be able to get you something simple.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby sims » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:35 pm

Well, with Voodoo, something is wrong (even in 3D viewer), not only axes. It's really "skieve" as we'd say in my country. I mean, even while switching axes, it's still skewed.

I would need it for post production, so first week of February. But I absolutly don't want to bother you ! If you are overbooked, don't waste your time for me !
If I still have problems with 3D tracking, we'll work in 2D tracking, and that's it.

Whatever, thank you for interest.
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Re: [Plugin] Voodoo Camera Tracker Importer - March 9, 2011

Postby kingsteve111 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi Chris

This plugin is great! Thanks so much for writing it.

I was wondering though if there is a way to make the imported pointcloud match the model, instead of pasting the model into the point cloud.

I have found it nearly impossible to match large models to the point cloud. A easy way to do this would be to make the camera data align with the existing models axis.

If you can alter that, I would find this plugin endlessly useful.

Thanks again. :)
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