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    Doing the VFX magic with matchmove and tracking

    The VFX industry is loaded with some of the finest technology solutions and tracking is no exception. In fact, it is one of the most important technologies in the industry. The technology is around for more than a couple of decades now, it has taken a while for the technology to make its way into the creative pipeline, but now it has become a crucial part of the VFX pipeline. This needs to be done right else it will break the shot, specifically when the VFX is hidden in plain sight.

    Matchmove is yet another term that is used in place of tracking, there’s a very small difference between both terms. Here, we are going to take a look at some forms of matchmove and tracking.

    The use of matchmove or tracking

    With tracking or matchmove, the actual goal is to seamlessly match the motion of an object in one shot to the objects of another shot. The compositor can properly depict the movement of the object in the scene with the help of tracking the motion of the composited object. The process can be quite helpful when it comes to creating realistic visual effects, for instance, when you want to make it look like a capture or vehicle is interacting with an environment in a shot. This process can be complex, but it is important if you want to create visual effects that can be believed.

    Tracking and matchmove: How are they different?

    When it’s about locating a point or series of points from frame to frame in a sequence, it is called VFX tracking. The entire spectrum of VFX tracking gets covered here. Later, tracking is utilized to solve objects, and stabilize, or camera movements in the shot.

    When it is about obtaining the final results from 3D tracking, this method is called matchmove. TO integrate 3D elements with live action, it is more and more important to have the accuracy of 3D tracking output.

    Processes of tracking

    Motion tracking in live-action footage can be done in several ways, and every single process has its own unique role to play. Let’s have a look at these processes.

    One point track

    As per its name, one-point tracking does the capturing of motion data from a single point in the footage or composition. You can call it a foundation for all kinds of tracking available today, and it is one of the easiest tracking methods of tracking. But, this method only gives position information of one point, there is no rotation or scale information, the usage of this method is minimal and this helps in achieving simple tasks.

    Two point track

    This one builds upon its predecessor, in addition to giving information about the position, this method also offers scale and rotation information which is not possible in the above-discussed method. The prime use of such a method is to incorporate warping and it also helps in capturing simple camera movements.

    Corner pin track

    This kind of process is the best friend of an artist who is doing screen replacement. You are more likely to use this method if you are working on some kinds of commercial projects that are related to TV, laptop, mobile phone, or anything that shows a screen. This specific tracking helps in matching the prospective movement of an element in the shot, and this can be achieved effectively and without wasting much precious time, 4 point track helps in achieving such goals.

    Planar tracking

    In general, when you are performing the tasks such as tracking points, you are more likely to track a single pixel or maybe a group of pixels that are available inside the user-defined search area. The concept here is probably the same, but there is a slight difference, here you are tracking contrast and texture instead of pixels. The tracking can be done excellently when done on a flat surface with some textures, you can also call it texture tracking.

    3D tracking

    One of the most superior and complex kinds of tracking that is available today, Other kinds of tracking don’t offer information in Z-axis, only 3D tracking has the capability to offer that. From the live-action footage, this tracking generates a virtual camera to place the 3D assets into the scene in a proper and correct manner. It comes with a deep learning curve due to its complexity, but you can call it one of the most effective methods of tracking available today.

    Let’s take a break, and talk about some 3D tracking software solutions you can give a try.


    SynthEyes is one of the most effective solutions and this one is available to help with stabilizing 360-degree shots and when it comes to inserting some 3D animation that you may need in your live-action filming. Moreover, you can also do virtual sets on green screens and you can clean any kind of error that might have been made.

    As compared to your investment, the tool is loaded with plenty of features and this is the reason why this is one of the most preferred tools out there. Some key features of this tool include 360 VR stabilization, available for a wide range of license types, geometric hierarchy tracking, stereo 360VR, Python work, and a lot more.


    A tool that keeps everything very simple and it also enables you to merge 3D effects with live-action footage, regardless of the size of the effects. The 3D motion tracking of this solution is probably the best you can ever find, for those who want to achieve top-end effects and other recognizable studios can make use of this specific solution. This amazing solution is around for more than two decades, and this solution has already been used by plenty of Academy Award-winning movies. As per the specific needs of users and growing technologies, the solution gets updated timely with new features.

    Spline tracking

    This enables you to track any kind of shape as the user needs to create a custom tracking plane, this tracking is probably the most advanced type of planar tracking. This tracking process works at its best to capture the track of the object, the user only needs to draw a roto around the object that needs to be tracked.

    Styles of matchmove

    These two terms, matchmove, and 3D tracking are used synonymously, but the purposes of both are quite different. 3D tracking is used to make the most out of a camera solution that seamlessly integrates with 3D elements of any live-action footage, and matchmove, on the other hand, is the method that makes everything happen. Check out these two effective ways:


    All those features or points in the shot can be tracked through computer algorithms in this specific method. This method has minimal human intervention, and this is the reason why the results derived from this method are highly accurate and quicker. But, if you want to get an accurate camera solution, this needs to be provided with all the vital information including focal points, lens distortion, and other details.


    Also known as interactive tracking, an artist can track certain features or points in the shot, it helps in supporting the algorithms generated at some point. In case the motion blur levels in a shot are very high, this particular method can prove to be useful, especially when the computer algorithms are not able to capture the features or points.