Quick 3D Animation Using Pre Keyed Video Footage

There are many ways of using your 3D application to create animations. There are ways of rendering without shadows and lights, to get that special cartoon look and feel. You can also render right inside your 3D application, and use characters with motion clips or… you can use something even faster.

Today, I wanted to show you how you can quickly and easily use pre-keyed video footage and get instant animations created.

First, you need stock video footage that is pre-keyed. These usually come in MOV video format, and I usually recommend you split them into an image sequence. You would then end up with something like this:


Because this comes from a MOV video file, I also recommend that you export an image sequence of the actual alpha channel. That usually looks like a black and white image:


Next, you simply head into your 3D application, such as DAZ Studio, Lightwave or any other software. Create a plane primitive, and add the main texture to the diffusion channel. Also, add the alpha texture to the opacity or transparency channel. Your scene might look something like this:


Match the lighting and camera framing. After some tweaking you should be able to get your pre-keyed footage to blend pretty good with your 3D scene:


And finally, after adding some post FX in an editing software, here in Sony Vegas PRO, you can easily get a cool look and feel as well:


And that’s it! For DAZ Studio, you need a plug in that I’ve created, called Animated Textures, that enables the software to read image sequences. It’s currently only available for DAZ Studio 3 (over at the DAZ 3D website), but an upgrade to DAZ Studio 4.5 is being made as we speak.

Have fun with your 3D animations!

– Val Cameron / Dreamlight

P.S. If you want to master 3D Animation, right from scratch, then go HERE.

5 Responses to “Quick 3D Animation Using Pre Keyed Video Footage”

  1. Steve April 19, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    I own many Dreamlight products. The sooner the “Animated Textures” for 4.5 is done, the sooner I will own more. I have held off buying it until it was updated.


    • Val Cameron April 19, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      Steve, thanks for your feedback!

  2. Lloyd March 9, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    I am waiting for that upgrade to 4.6 as well, looking forward to it.

  3. RichardN3D April 29, 2015 at 2:33 am #

    Unfortunately, the add at Daz3D Studio only says the requirement for this app is just “Daz Studio.” I just purchased this without knowing it only runs on Daz 3.xx.
    Any fix for this until then? This should be a standard feature for any version of Daz Studio.
    It was mentioned that this can be used in other software. Do you by chance know of HitFilm? It’s the software used in all the Marvel action movies among others.

    • Val Cameron May 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

      Hi there, yes–some of our plug ins are DS 3.X only. Might be a 4.x version soon. Not familar with Hitfilm!

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