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    Revolution in matchmoving: How technology has changed the way of doing matchmoving?

    Some people call it as motion tracking; matchmoving has become one of the key elements of the VFX process. Over the past few years, matchmaking has come a long way. Thanks to the advancements in the field of technology, the tedious and time-consuming process of matchmaking has now become an easier and hassle-free one. Technology has completely transformed the way matchmaking artists used to work, from movies and TV shows to other online video content, matchmaking is used across various mediums. Incorporating 3D data into live-action footage may not be possible without matchmoving. The recent revolutions in these technologies have made everything faster and more accurate, for all the matchmoving artists, achieving tasks has become easier than ever before.

    This piece of writeup will help you understand how technology advancements have helped matchmoving artists by simplifying their job, and what makes this process quite important for the VFX world.

    In general, VFX is all about integrating 3D elements into real-world footage. Let’s take an example- Optimus Prime in Transformers, or we can take Hulk in the Avengers. Here you need to have a virtual camera that will move exactly the way a camera in the live-action footage, this is only how you can get this right and make it feel like the 3D models are actually living with the actors. And, this is what matchmoving is all about, matching the movements of the live-action footage with a virtual camera, as the ultimate goal is to match the motions of the camera.

    Applications with matchmoving capabilities

    You can find a wide range of applications that can help you in the matchmoving process. Programmers utilize a tracking algorithm with the help of which they lock onto and follow through various frames the exact point of the real-world footage which has been identified by an artist. In general, it depends on the amount of contrast between areas, and this is how these areas are chosen. The motion-tracking algorithms can create accurate tracking information with the help of this contrast. It turns into two-dimensional coordinates as soon as the area is properly tracked.

    Matchmoving in today’s time…

    Matchmoving is utilized in various ways, this can even be seen during live broadcasts. Let’s take an amazing example here-

    The very first down line that we see on the television during a football match is something that is computer-generated; this line can’t be found on the field in reality. Matchmoving is done in two different ways- 2D & 3D.

    2D matchmoving helps in tracking features in 2D space and you won’t find this factoring in camera movement and distortion. When you simply need to make some changes in the advertisement on a billboard in the live-action footage or replace the image on television, you can feel free to make use of it.

    3D matchmoving comes into play when you want to interpolate 3D information from 2D footage. If you want to create a virtual camera, you can make use of this information and a 3D animation application. With the advancing technologies, more and more production studios have started making use of real-time matchmoving, and the film industry is utilizing this to the fullest. This proves to be highly valuable and helpful for directors as they can have a look at the real-time representation of how the final output is going to look like. You can include in it all those 3D elements that will take place post-production. At times, it is obvious that the output may not be exactly the same. But, this gives a good hint to the director and actor of how things are actually going to look in the end. At times when actors are doing their work in a greenscreen studio, this previously taken view helps them to see the extension or CG characters, just after doing any specific take. Do you need one more example? Here it is- At the time when Bumblebee in Transformers was connecting with the actors, it was important to figure out where Bumblebee would be standing during the final composite.

    How crucial is matchmoving?

    Meet a complex but highly important process, matchmoving is the art of altering the positions, orientations, and scaling camera parameters of any background plate to correspond exactly with the scene that is expected to be added.

    When it comes to producing computer-generated imagery, matchmoving becomes the key part of the production- the reason is that more and more animation these days is done in 3D. Being a matchmover artist, you need to move objects, and also ensure that the scene looks realistic on camera even if they are not present physically.

    Being a matchmover is never easy, there are countless complex tasks, replacing a large number of live-action footage with computer-generated images by manipulating the image plane in 2D or 3D space, or it can include creating digital matte paintings.

    Matchmoving is a crucial part of VFX and to achieve this, one needs to have plenty of technical skills. The world of animation is huge; it has become a vast industry. Gone are the days when animation had to work with only the things that are given, but now they are capable of creating their own world. Some amazing examples of matchmoving can be seen in movies such as “The Incredibles” and “Toy Story”.

    Technology has evolved

    Technology has evolved and it has come to the point when you have a matchmoving computer right in your pocket. Augmented Reality (AR) makes use of the camera on your phone or it can be on your tablet, it helps in analyzing what it sees, and attaches tracking points while allowing it to render graphics and 3D objects on the screen… and guess what, all in real-time.

    It has surely been a strong point that AR is different from matchmoving in that it gets some extra details from the gyro of the device, accelerometers, and GPS to aid it in the processing of the image.

    When the process of matchmoving footage is achieving the right pace with the help of amazing software solutions and the right hardware tools, the right artist is still an important part of the process. Computers are inherently ‘dumb’ and they are more likely to make errors, hence, the technique still needs some help from humans to wrangle the data into something meaningful. Now, you must be interested to know what the future has to offer in terms of VFX and the technology solutions associated with it. Here is what you can expect from the future.

    What’s next?

    This is definitely a time full of excitement in the world of VFX, a switchover from film to digital has been seen in the last decade due to the fact that it has become the preferred acquisition method for television dramas as well as features, making the visual effects more accessible and easier.

    The resolution, sensitivity, and dynamic range of digital acquisition formats, everything has increased with the passing of time and now it has come to the point where they have surpassed the film that they replaced. The process of matchmoving has become a lot easier due to all these aspects. It is no surprise that technology will keep on advancing, cameras will be smaller, and lighter with optimized performance as the push has been seen even in the large imaging formats.