CLF Voodoo Importer
Import Voodoo camera tracking software files into SketchUp.
CLF Voodoo Importer

This plugin imports data from Voodoo Camera Tracker, making it possible to recreate camera flightpaths in SketchUp, from real movies. Also known as camera tracking or camera matching. Honestly I don't know how useful this really is, but it is still pretty interesting and could have some limited, specialized instances where it might come in handy.

Intended workflow:

  • Shoot your movie clip (Voodoo has guidelines on waht types of clips, length, etc, work best for their software) (See video #1 below - my video clip).
  • Turn movie clip into a series of images (I've used QuickTime Pro, but there are other free ones out there. I just need to rememeber what its called and put a link to it).
  • Open series of still images into Voodoo Camera Tracker.
  • Use that software to track the camera - creating a lot of 3d point clouds along the way!
  • Export as a text file. (I've attached an example text file that can be imported for testing purposes.)
  • Import text file into SU using this plugin (from the File > Import dialog or through Plugins > Chris Fullmer Tools > Voodoo camera tracker Importer).
  • Now you have a scene for each from of your movie, a camera path of construction points, and a cloud of construction points. (I've attached an example sketchup file that shows how the data is imported if you'd like to play with it).
  • Clean up any construction points that are way out of the range.
  • Play the scenes animation inside of SU to get a feeling for how well the import worked.
  • Add your model, using the pointcloud as a reference for where it should sit more or less.
  • Export an animation of your model (hide construction points first) as a series of image frames.
  • Now somehow figure out how to composite those frames cleanly back on top of your original frames (I used photoshop. I know other software does it too. If there is interest, I am looking at automating this part of the process with ImageMagick). (see 2nd video below for an example of my final output video).
  • The End.

Ok, well that is a sort of theoretical workflow that worked for me. I should mention I have not used Voodoo very much, so my example video would have come out much better if I knew how to refine things inside of Voodoo. Also notice that Voodoo might be capable of exporting more info than I currently import. Right now I only import cameras and feature points. I do not know if Voodoo exports different/more data if you do more refining work inside the program. If so, I can add that to the importer once someone explains how it works :) 

Please check out my original footage, my SketchUp model, my example Voodo export file that you can import just to test it out, and finally my final video, where I add an amazing fountain to the front of my office. It is amazing.

Let me know what you think, if you can get it to work at all, if you need more tips on layering the frames afterwards, etc. This plugin was written as a fun exercise, but I will develop it further if there is real demand. I can't tell if this plugin is just a silly little toy, or on the verge of being something really useful.

And lastly, I am not convinced that I have the camera FOV worked out perfectly. I have not tested it very thoroughly. So if someone notices that it is really off, let me know and I'll see if I can figure it out better. Oh yeah, and for some reason, my videos are always upside down in Voodoo, so this importer actually turns the Voodoo export upside down (which makes it look right in SU). But that could just be a quirk from how my video camera saves the movie file or something. So if you notice your videos come out upside down, or the scenes do not actually point at the geometry cloud, let me know! Thanks,

1280 users
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CLF Voodoo Importer (1.3.0); January 10, 2014
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Chris Fullmer has been writing SketchUp plugins since 2009 when he designed a free study course at UC Berkeley aimed at using SketchUp Ruby to make tools to help improve the landscape modeling process. Chris now works for Trimble as the SketchUp Product Manager for the Extensibility Team.