Video-Tracking with Blender

Hi all, as we’ve seen at the Sunday-morning Presentation of Marc and Serge Ume at the B-Con 05, it is quit necessary to rebuild the Camera-Path from the Live-Film inside the Computer-Animated Scene.

As Ton posted in the BCon-roundup at, Blender lacks a Tracking solution.


Grab your movie - start voodoo (PS: the Windows-Version only supports a list of *.TGA)
Track the Path
Export it to Blender :wink: and run the script
There you get

  • a Pointcloud of the tracked Geometries
  • a helper-Object
  • a Camera with IPO which moves like the Original in your Movie

have fun…

very nice. Even if you got a series .tga files it would seem trival to just do a batch conversion to whatever formate you wanted

As Ton posted in the BCon-roundup at, Blender lacks a Tracking solution.

Blender still lacks a tracking/match moving solution. A closed source app with an exporter for Blender doesn’t really help. (Basically like Icarus, they are giving an open beta of the software and will cease giving free licenses once it is out of beta).

It is possible however that one of the GPLed or LGPLed libraries for motion tracking could be adopted to match moving.


a Camera with IPO which moves like the Original in your Movie

Did you tested that? I tried the Voodoo a while ago, and at this time it created a camera for every Frame. Have they changed it to a single Camera with IPO?

I’d like to try out Voodoo, but does anyone know of a converter to get a movie from AVI to TGA frames for use in Voodoo? Thanks.

avi to tga something like Virtualdub and it’s free. No non commercial use license crap either.

I looked at VirtualDub but I didn’t see a setting to export an AVI as a TGA sequence, do you know where I can find this export function.

You can export Avi to tga in Blender with the sequencer

Voodoo works really well. It does create a camera for every frame for reference but does use a single camera with an IPO at this point.

Chack out this DVD menu system that was created with blender + voodoo HERE

be patient, long load time but it is worth it.

  • Steve Tally

OK, I was able to track the scene and export the Blender py file, which imported fine to Blender 2.37. The py file says to use the helper object to help set up the scene, but mine is located right at the origin of the camera itself. Did I miss a step in the tracking process, or am I just not understanding what the helper object is supposed to do.

Does this look like a better solution than the Icarus beta, or should I, if I’m trying to find a free motion tracking program, look for an old copy of that?

This is a cheap tracker – which currently does not have an export option for blender. This programs ‘big brothers’ are what Icarus became (I think). But yeah there is a trial on the website which you might be able to evaluate. And if it worthwhile someone might create a importer. (?!) – if you have more money this is a good option. –

But not doubt a free blender internal option would be an awesome asset.— 3d tracking, compositing, editing, – it would definately make blender a well rounded app.

If you have a helper object at the camera center, that’s what you want.

Did it export the target geometry verts as well?

THe helper allows you to move the camera and all it’s tracking data without losing any of coordinates relative to the camera.

If you made a plane with the same video footage at the correct ratio you could put it in front of the camera at the correct distance from it and then parent to the helper.

This would essentially ‘lock’ the video footage to the tracked camera.

Think what I might do is find some crappy footage somewhere and do a quick voodoo on it and attempt a tutorial as tracking is what interests me too :wink:

I tried both Voodoo and Icarus for the first time yesterday. The one thing that seemed to seperate the two was that you can set the origin in Icarus for the Blender export, which I found helpful in knowing where I wanted to insert my 3d model into the movie. Other than that they seem pretty similar. Maybe there is a way to set the origin in Voodoo, I just didn’t see it.

What I’d like in Voodoo is better documentation as to what the settings do.

Every test I’ve done with Voodoo, the tracking has been fairly good but often quite “mis-aligned”.

If I remotely knew what settings did what, I might be able to understand it better.

Also, yeah, knowing how to place an object IN a tracked scene would be useful too.

The data out of voodoo is always curved (from a birds-eye-view) and whilst I can get the background plate to match 100% like the source footage, it’s damn difficult to figure out how objects FIT in the scene.

Keep this thread alive because it’s interesting.

I found Icarus’s tracking better then Voodoo’s.
ALSO voodoo takes more CPU power and needs lots more memory (since it keeps almost everything in the computer’s memory, and works from there.)

I also don’t like the idea of sequence images…

—That would be so cool…