Matchmoving is one of the most crucial techniques in the VFX pipeline and the first step to almost any motion design. Previously, we have posted blogs tackling both the definition of this FX process and what it takes to become a matchmove artist.
In this blog post, we will lay out the main types and methods of matchmoving every matchmove artist knows about.
Types of Matchmoving
There are two main types of matchmoving: 2D & 3D.
Two-dimensional (2D) matchmoving
2D matchmoving only tracks features in two-dimensional space without taking into consideration camera movement or distortion.
This type of matchmoving is applied when an element in an image needs replacement, stabilization, or other effects.
2D matchmoving is perfect for creating the desired realistic effects for footage without major changes in camera perspective.
Three-dimensional (3D) matchmoving
3D matchmoving tools are used to extract 3D data from 2D footage. With the tracking information, 3D matchmove artists can create a virtual camera capable of animating simulated objects.
This type of matchmoving has gained a significant technological edge in recent years that it has become quite a popular tool to be used on set and referred to as real-time matchmoving.
Real-time matchmoving allows producers to preview what the final CG elements will look like.
Methods of Matchmoving
There are two main methods of the matchmove tracking process: automatic & interactive.
The automatic method allows you to track the features of your shots using computer algorithms, which will create points much faster than any human can, then calculate a solution for your tracked movement points.
For an accurate solve, you will need to submit as much camera information as possible such as motion, lens distortion, focal points, etc.
Also, it is best to use this method for shots that do not contain fast camera motion or regular patterns with areas that are not distinct. For such shots, it is best to use the interactive method of matchmoving.
Often referred to as “supervised tracking”, the interactive method is when the matchmove artist tracks certain features through a scene him/herself. A human user is much more apt for tracking features that contain high amounts of motion blur.
As we have mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, a good matchmove should be invisible to the eye in the final shot. No one should be able to identify that such a visual effect was performed.
Most matchmove artists use a combination of both techniques to achieve professional-level motion tracking.