Experimenting with animation techniques
The initial idea for this film was, to achieve the synesthesy of different animation techniques; 2D, 3D and live action. The reason for that was to achieve viewers involvement with the story, but also feel the tactile quality of the with material (paper). This lead from photo collaged backgrunds to 3D environments with 2D animation composited on the top. Live action was firstly expressed through photographed frames of hand movement. I had an idea of 3d crane being animated with live action hands, but after speaking to some experts and I excluded that idea as it would simply take all my time to be solved and I couldn't afford that. This is why I decided to completely abandon the idea of having a live action involved and simply concentrated on marriage between 3d and 2d.
There is no way to properly track the motion of 2D animation to fit 3D camera move. It was always jumping around, no matter how hard we tried. So I needed to do the camera tracking. Camera tracking is done with the help of a poly plane placed on the spot where would otherwise be 2D animation. This plane is assigned a texture with high contrast pattern that is easily definable from near or far for the tracker to lock onto. Tracking can be done nativly within After Effects, using its point tracking system, which gives varied results. It would be better to use Mocha, which is AF plugin and offers planar mapping system and gives into account the whole image data (planar tracking instead of point tracking ).
I used tracking because the other option where I assigned the 2D animation onto a plane in Maya as an animated (.mov) texture. The problem was that Maya didn't take opacity into account no matter what movie file I used (regardless I turned on the transparency option).
All compositing was done in After Effects, importing 3D backgrounds in layers, enabling me to have bigger control over them. I discovered that I need to put on "premultiplied" option to keep the light effects the same as when rendered out,
2D animation was imported in editable layered PSD files, previously sorted out with animation option in Photoshop.
2D Frames of crane flight from the top, composited on the top of rendered layers from Maya: