3D in 2D

We are working with a technology here to help merge our 3D animation with live video. It is really amazing, but working with it can sometimes be deceiving. In our 3D modeling and animation program, we can only view the reference video in the background through the camera view. That means that front, perspective, left and all other views leave us with no reference to the footage we are matching. This makes an interesting challenge for my eyes and leaves me with a 2D perspective on a 3D environment.

During the seal animation I’m doing, a live host from video is communicating with the animated seal. I aimed the seal to talk to the man based on how it looked in the camera view. This was perfectly fine until the live action camera turned on an angle. You see, the program we use matches the camera movement of the animation with the movement of the video. So when the video started panning, so did the animation camera. Again, it’s an awesome technology, but seeing the scene from this new angle made me notice that the seal wasn’t actually aimed at the host anymore. The seal seemed to be looking behind the man. A few corrections using this new angle fixed my problems, but it is just a great example of how your perspective on an object can make it look correct. That is what makes lining up 3-dimensional objects in a 2-dimensional view somewhat confusing and an interesting challenge. That said, if we didn’t have that camera movement, I would have been able to leave the seal how it was and it would have looked fine to everyone watching. The camera movement just showed me a whole new angle.