Planar enhanced Match Moves

Smooth surfaces, to some of us who religiously do Feature Tracked 3D Camera solves, they are the Devil. Unless the smooth suface has pours that we can boost the contrast on, its pretty hard to track those suckers.  Something that Planar tracking seems to Excel at.  By Planar Tracking a smooth surface suddenly allows you to recreate the shot to have a texture on top of the of this surface,  But what should you put on it?  A gird would seem to work out great..since it would allow a high density of trackers constantly distributed over the surface, In theory its sounds good. Yet Grids are too similar for the tracker algorithm, which bumps up the computational time to figure out which grid square a track as well as confusing the features to jump from square to square with in the search region a set back that often cant be avoided if the track is moving a significant distance.  So what to do?  An Irregular Texture turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.  Perln Factual Noise is a fast way to generate a texture on the fly And complimentes most trackers search algorithms natural ability to look for high contrast patterns through out the enhanced plate.

The Exeption: Optical Flow tracking

Where contrast based Feature tracking gets confused and dazed at a black and white checkers Optical flow behaves different and tracks through less of an issue though it will get tripped a bit.

3DEqualizer Alt Key OSX fix

Anyone who uses 3DEqualizer on OSX knows that it runs through X11, And to its credit it runs pretty smoothly.

But there are a few issues with X11 that break the software right out of the box for some OSX users.

One is the ALT key.

support on at www.sci-d-vis.com tells mac users to download and install and open source version of x11, but is there a simple fix to this keyboard calamity?

Turns out Francis North an InkScape user noticed the same setbacks in Inkcape.

He writes in a form post http://www.inkscapeforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=800&f=5

Launch X11 from Applications/Utilities

Open the preferences window and enable the “Use the system keyboard layout” preference. This will force X11 to use it’s system default keyboard layout.

Open an xterm window (Command-N) and perform the following:

$ xmodmap -pke > ~/.Xmodmap

This captures the current xmodmap settings to a hidden file located in your home directory. It’s this ~/.Xmodmap file that X11 will by default use to override any system mappings.

Edit your .Xmodmap file by typing the following in the same xterm window:

$ open -e ~/.Xmodmap

Change the line: “keycode 66 = Mode_switch” to “keycode 66 = Meta_L”
Change the line: “keycode 69 = Mode_switch” to “keycode 69 = Meta_R”

Save the file and exit TextEdit.

Disable the X11 preferences “Emulate three button mouse” and “Use the system keyboard layout”, then close the preferences window.

These settings basically say “don’t treat ALT as a special key, and don’t override my .Xmodmaps file with system defaults”.

Close the X11 preferences window, any opened xterm windows, and then the X11 application.

That’s it. Now when you launch Inkscape, the ALT key should work as expected, and the status-bar will correctly display any ALT-key-specific help when that key is pressed (e.g. when using the Selection tool).

One final note: from an xterm window, you can debug your key mappings by typing “xev”. This program will open an interactive test window that will echo information about current key/mouse presses, and is a handy utility for determining keycodes and what they’re currently mapped to.

Feel free to provide any feedback and/or request for further clarification.

Happy ALT-keying

Thanks Francis North  for this InkScape Tip. 3D Equalizer MAC Users will also be thrilled to find out this fixes their Alt Key woes as well.

Nathaniel Westveer – www.nathanfx.com

SS Convert – Convert between PF Track- SynthEyes – Boujou and more

I’m writing this post today to tell every one on a great Mel. Script that i’m sure you trackers out there will enjoy.  The Survey Solver. as its called, not to be confused with Pixel farms new node in Matchit and Track, this Mel Script will take any Track from a verious other trackers and configure them to work in another program.  Such as PF Track to Syntheyes. Or PF Track to Maya Live..if your into that kind of thing.


The Script comes form none other from a fellow tracker known as  Minco Marinov, (Check this reel while your on his site too).  Survey Solver is easy enough to install by dragging it in to your script editor and saving it out to a desinated spot on your shelf.  Or if your feeling technical there are great step by step instructions on where to save the files on your system.  ( given it looks like the paths where written for Maya 7) This script runs great in Maya 2011.

Give it a shot,

Happy Tracking – Nathaniel Westveer – www.nathanfx.com

You solved it!…now what – Exporting Nuke Cameras to .MA

Well blogging about tid bits about nuke has seemed to been quite the theme for me these last couple months,  I recently had run into a job where the only tracker I had at my hand inside nuke,  No problem I thought I’ve exported cameras before. but ..to my horror it can be very difficult some times.  Sure there are a lot of Mel and Python scripts to Maya, but none of them where playing nice with the version I was  using.  And most of what you get when you look for alternative ways are people telling you to upgrade to the newest Nuke which exports .FBX –  which was kind of an issue for me, one I didn’t have that version and two FBXs are very difficult them to play nice most of the time.

So is there a way to get Nuke to write out a .MA file Nativity, with a slightly crude yet very effective plug in, absolutely ( cue up following link in a new window or tab)


After installing this into your plugin folder ( make sure you but the base.ma into the icons folder)

createMayaScene Gizmo takes a bit to get use too, After attaching all of the handles you still have to Type in the names of the nodes into the 3 fields with Correct syntax.  (Example Read1 ,CameraTracker3 ect)

Once you do fill in the fields you are ready to export that camera to  .ma, pick the extension you want to save to and remember to put .ma after the file name and hit export and kick back for those brief .2-.3 secs as it writes out the file.

Open it in Maya and there you go, you Made it. And your co workers will be so impressed.

Nathan – www.nathanfx.com