Quick Tip: Refine SmartVectors with an STMap.

Categories Quick Tip

SmartVectors, and the associated VectorDistort node is one of the best new additions to Nuke in recent years. Being able to effortlessly track a texture to an organically-moving object is amazing when it works, but oftentimes SmartVectors only gets us part of the way there and needs refinement…

By changing the VectorDistort’s Output knob to “st-map”, we gain the ability to modify SmartVectors in a bunch of ways, before using an STMap node to apply the modified warp to the image (as you see in the setup pictured below).

 

For example:

If a track slips off in a section: Isolate the problem area with a rotoshape, and adjust the warp with an iTransform. Blurring the rotoshape will give you a nice, smooth transition between the VectorDistort & your extra warp!
If a track is slightly jittery: Add a blur to the problem area. Blurring the st-map averages the pixels, and therefore averages out the motion.
If you want to blend between two SmartVectors: You can simply Dissolve between the two st-maps!

Working with SmartVectors this way adds an exponential amount of extra power into an already powerful tool. How else could you utilize this technique?