Aligning models to images.

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
Aligning models to images.


I am trying to align models to the picture in the background.

My first approach to this was to create an image plane with the image on it and then work in the Front viewport to align the models. This way I had a tough time aligning the models. Below is the image on how that worked. This took some time as the model has to be squished or rotated to get it perfectly aligned.

The other way now I am thinking is to drop the image as an environment map and then work on aligning the models. This idea stuck into me after watching a tutorial.

Below is the image on that. Well I definitely feel a bit easy working this way.
The picture that is used here will be there in the final render as well.

I am just in a dilemma whether I will have to restart the project when I am at the midpoint, just because I chose the wrong path. Thought of seeking help before I move on.

Please advice.
Thanks all.
Old 03 March 2013   #2
That image has quite a bit of distortion, it's going to be difficult to do, there's a camera matching tool in 3ds Max that you can check out in the documentation, but it wouldn't work on an image like that. Typically you'd want to take photos like that yourself and keep track of camera settings so that you can do the 3D later. If you didn't then I think the only option is to do it by hand like you've been doing.
The Z-Axis
Old 03 March 2013   #3
darthviper107 is right.
no way to align the image because the perspective view fails to basic rules of geometry.
This photo was taken with a wide angle lens or stitching multiple images.
If the first option and you know the characteristics of the lens, use a program like PTlens to rectify the image.
If the second option, performs a manual alignment in 3ds MAX excluding distortions, (Trial and error).
Not too difficult but tedious.
Fernando Ferro
Old 03 March 2013   #4
Thanks Zachary,

Quote: If you didn't then I think the only option is to do it by hand like you've been doing.

Taking photos like this , I don't think so I can do that. As far as I thought about this project , I find this image perfectly suiting in all ways.

SO you say instead of putting the image as a viewport background put into a plane like what I am doing now, right?

If I continue on like this, how am I going to setup shadows for my buildings onto the photograph just to give the look and feel that they blended well into the photograph.

Thanks for letting me know about the camera match tool, I could have used that in one of my previous projects.


Zachary & FFerro2
Thanks all.
Old 03 March 2013   #5
I would put it as the viewport background and then try to match your geometry by hand, if you know information about the buildings it can help, like dimensional information. If you don't have the actual camera info then I think just placing the objects by hand is the only thing you can do.
There are materials in 3ds Max that can be used on a mesh so they can simply receive shadows from another object, that's the Matte/Shadow material, Mental Ray has it's own thing too. That way your new buildings could cast shadows on the other buildings (if you built those as well). Light for something like that wouldn't be terribly difficult, Mental Ray has a daylight system so it can simulate lighting from a sun and sky.
The Z-Axis
Old 03 March 2013   #6
Well explained Zachary,

When i put it as a viewport background, I find zooming is not at all possible on the image. I will be creating only the buildings that are going to be the targets for attacks and the rest of the cityscape is going to be from the image. So the image will be a part of the final render. Casting and receiving shadows from the buildings on the image to my models and onto the buildings from the models is what is confusing me for sometime now.

Thanks all.
Old 03 March 2013   #7
If you want to focus on that area, I would crop the image and replace the background with the cropped image. And for shadows on the other buildings, I think Mental Ray has its own materials that you would apply on those so they can receive shadows that would render over the background.
The Z-Axis
Old 03 March 2013   #8
Getting it Zachary,

Thanks again.
Thanks all.
Old 03 March 2013   #9
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