Thursday, 27 December 2012

Happy Holidays from Imagineer Systems


Happy Holidays from all of us here at Imagineer Systems. We hope that your holidays are filled with the things that matter, like spending time with those people in your life that are dear to you, because time might be the most precious commodity in our lives.

May your new year be filled with peace and happiness... and less overtime. From Team Imagineer Systems. Please enjoy our holiday video.



Happy Holidays from Imagineer Systems from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.

We hope you took advantage of our Holiday sale! And we wish you good luck in the new year!

In other news... Job postings for mocha users!


There are some great opportunities around for advanced mocha users out there, check out some of these new job postings below!

A mocha customer in China is looking for 1-2 very experienced mocha users to help create a large scale training program. Must be very experienced and willing to relocate for 3-6 month contract. If interested, email: mocha@imagineersystems.com with resume and links to work. Please note this is not a junior position. Applicant must be have significant experience in vfx and roto for stereo conversion. We are not hiring, simply finding candidates to refer.

And Mocha Pro Roto & Paint Artists are also needed in Los Angeles. Peter Salvia is looking for experienced Roto &; Paint artists with immediate availability. Must have feature film and / or broadcast credits. Nuke experience a plus. Offices located in Beverly Hills. At this time they are only considering applicants who work locally in the Los Angeles area. Send resume and link to online demo reel to: peter@salviascope.com

Check out these awesome mocha tutorials!


As usual, there have been some awesome tutorials recently online, if you want some great tips and tricks from some of our users please check out the videos below!

Brenn Nakamitsu made this awesome mocha tutorial on how to track a crane shot using our planar tracker.



Create FX made a great "quick tips" tutorial on speed rotoscoping using mocha.



We are still accepting footage for our 2013 Reel!


The team at Imagineer is now collecting footage for our new customer reel. We are specifically looking for interesting clips that were assisted by mocha for tracking, roto, object remove, etc. Visual breakdowns and before/afters are ideal. If you used mocha on any cool projects this year, please share.

If you would like to participate, please email: mocha@imagineersystems.com
This is a good opportunity to get your work seen by a wide audience of vfx industry pros.

Last years reel is below.


2012 mocha customer show reel from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.


And that's about it until next time guys, I hope that your holidays were wonderful. Keep creating and keep sharing your work!

Cheers,
Mary

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

In the Top Ten, LAPPG, and Twittering

Hi guys!

Well, it's been busy as usual. We are busy making demos and hosting visits, so to make sure you're up to speed on what we're up to, heres a quick blog post.

Connect on G+ Communities


We have created a google community here for those of you that G+. Please share some of your knowledge with the group by talking about some of your latest projects and what what tips you might have for other artists. This community will only be as useful as we make it, so post and interact with one another, and invite your friends.

Let me link the rest of our communities online as well, so you have them all in one place:

Toolfarm's Top Ten

This weeks news is that we were in the Toolfarm Top Ten Plug-ins for AE list again! We count on your votes for that, so thank you for participating! We love working with Toolfarm, and we're glad to have a great relationship with them. Drop by and check out who else made the list.

LAPPG


In other news, tonight I will be at LAPPG's end of the year meeting. Join us as we wrap up 2012 and show you some of the most valuable plug-ins (including mocha Pro!) to put on your wishlist this holiday season at our 2nd Plug-in Showcase. They've gathered the hottest plug-ins for audio, video and visual effects to share with you so bring a pal or come yourself and head to this fun and festive meeting.


#MoChat


Yesterday evening Martin Brennand, Ross Shain, and myself, Mary Poplin, all participated in a #MoChat hosted by The Motion League, you can find a transcript of that chat here. Some highlights from the chat were mocha AE 3.1 and how mocha Pro can solve a 3D camera, and how mocha can be used to help with rotoscoping. We had good things to say about the 3D camera tracker built-in to AE. And we talked about David Torno's Face Replacement tutorials. We also talked about how you can upgrade from the bundled mocha to mocha AE 3.1 or mocha Pro at a discount. We even touted Mathias Mohl's MochaImport+ (US$40) script will help with getting data rom mocha to After Effects.
Users showed a couple examples of work using mocha and we talked about places to get help with mochaSee the transcript for all the details.

If you haven't yet seen the video for the previously mentioned David Torno work, watch this clip and be entertained. Find the Tutorials Here.



Pistol Youth - In My Eyes from Bedroom Empire on Vimeo.

Aright guys, that's a short and sweet update. Keep creating!

Cheers,
Mary


Monday, 3 December 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, the end of the year is fast approaching!

Hi Guys,

I am checking in again as we wind the year down. It has been a busy few weeks since the Atlanta trip! I hope you were able to take advantage of our Black Friday/Cyber Monday mocha sale and that you all had a very happy holiday with your friends and families. Our Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale is always a popular sale with you guys. Let us know if you have any questions about your shiny, new licenses of mocha Pro on the forums!

Contribute to 2013 mocha Customer Reel!



The team at Imagineer is now collecting footage for our new customer reel. We are specifically looking for interesting clips that were assisted by mocha for tracking, roto, object remove, etc. Visual breakdowns and before/afters are ideal. If you used mocha on any cool projects this year, please share and we can cross-promote!

If you would like to participate, please email: mocha@imagineersystems.com
This is a good opportunity to get your work seen by a wide audience of vfx industry pros.
Last years reel is below!



2012 mocha customer show reel from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.

We have a linkedin group!


By popular request, we have made a LinkedIn group for you guys, mocha Pros. Please help us grow the community! This is a community build to share your mocha work, tips, tricks, and discuss problem-solving all in one group. You are welcome to post anything mocha related to our discussions section, and we are happy to have you post any job leads for other mocha users on the jobs section. Please keep all posts related to mocha and the entertainment, media, and commercial industries... at least tangentially. Lets make an attempt to keep the community on topic!

Come see me at LAPPG!


Join us as we wrap up 2012 and decide which plug-ins you want on your wishlist this holiday season at LAPPG's Winter Plug-in Showcase & Holiday Meeting! I will be there demoing mocha Pro and answering questions along with Boris FX, New Blue and more.

We have a new tutorial out!



Quick Shots: Attach Layer Tool from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.


Product Manager Martin Brennand takes you through a quick example of how to use the Attach Layers tool in mocha v3.

You can download the source material for this tutorial by clicking "Download sources" on the imagineer video website here: imagineersystems.com/videos/join-layers/view

VFX Bro has a new mocha video out!




The Legend of Zelda comes to the digital world in this adorable short film. Link battles various enemies and travels through a digital world as he tried to find his lost love....the princess Zelda! Take a look behind the scenes to see how they made this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUauN8qoke4&hd=1

cmiVFX Releases New MochaPro Advanced Compositing Tactics Video




cmiVFX Releases New MochaPro Advanced Compositing Tactics Video from Chris Maynard on Vimeo.

cmiVFX has released the brand new Imagineer System's mocha Pro Advanced Compositing Tactics Video. Featuring veteran mocha Pro user Magno Borgo, cmiVFX takes you through some of the most difficult tasks made much easier with the use of both mocha Pro and Adobe After Effects. I think you guys will love this one. Magno is brilliant and has some excellent tips to share.

Alright, guys, lets wrap it up. See you next week when we find out who is in the top ten on Toolfarm's Top Ten Plug-in Awards. We made it last year, so here's hoping we clocked in the top ten this year!

Stay tuned and keep thinking outside of the box, you mocha Pros...

Cheers,
Mary


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Giving thanks in Atlanta and other adventures.

This is a completely sane and reasonable drive.
Hi guys! I flew out to Atlanta this week to come to the Atlanta Cutters meeting tonight and visit with some local studios and spread the mocha knowledge. I will be here through Thanksgiving and then I am flitting back across the country... in a car. It should be an adventure. The last time I drove across the country was ten years ago. So, that being said, I'm kindof looking forward to it. It's been so long I hardly remember how grueling that drive is. I'll be passing through Birmingham, Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albequerqe, and Flagstaff on my way home to Los Angeles. I think it can be done in three days...

Anyway, Atlanta's being very good to us; as the film industry, tv, and commercials are all flourishing here. I will be stopping by CNN and Turner, which is always a great crew to visit, and I am visiting with some of the kids from Lanier High School today before the Atlanta Cutters meeting tonight. I always like meeting students, they're so full of enthusiasm. If you're in the area you should really come by, it's the last Atlanta Cutters meeting of the year, so there should be a large turnout. We'll be giving away a copy of mocha Pro and I will be happy to discuss the finer points of mocha Pro and mocha AE with you.

I'm actually from Georgia, so coming back to Atlanta is always a nice treat because I get to see family I don't often see. I will actually get to spend Thanksgiving here with part of my mom's family before I roll out West, Oregon Trail style. How delightful!

In other news, my Southern dialect is back in force, but I'll try to tone it down by the time I record another demo.

If I am passing you by next week on my epic journey, drop me a line, maybe I can fit you in to say "hi"!

See y'all real soon!
Mary


Monday, 5 November 2012

New point release, winners, and visits! Oh my!

Hi guys! We have a lof of exciting news for you today! We have a new point release to announce! We have a winner of the Halloween Video contest to announce! And I'll be filling you in on some visits that we will be making around the US and some visits we recently completed.

mocha v3.1 Release

We have lots of new videos for 3.1!
New 3.1 Versions of mocha Pro and mocha AE Improve Lens Distortion Workflow; Adds New Support for ASSIMILATE SCRATCH v7 and HitFilm 2 Ultimate!
download now  • purchase now  • compare products chart  • upgrade guide


What’s New in mocha Pro v3.1? The development team at Imagineer has invested significant time and resources, working directly with customers, to enhance the mocha Pro workflow, and to ensure it integrates easily with the tools and platforms they use everyday. New features in mocha Pro v3.1 include:

  • Greatly improved Lens Module;
  • Ability to import and use External Distortion Maps in all mocha Pro modules;
  • Ability to export rasterized Distortion Maps for Nuke, Fusion, Flame and more.
  • Support for export to new mocha Lens plug-in for After Effects.
  • 3D Camera export to HitFilm2 from FXhome
  • RED (R3D) file support
  • Export colored roto shapes directly to Nuke and After Effects (or render externally)
  • Seamlessly export Planar Tracking data to Assimilate SCRATCH v7 watch video


We have a winner!

Congratulations to our Halloween Video Contest Winners! We received lots of videos, but these stood out among the crowd. Peter Butler was the lucky winner of a free license of mocha Pro! Please check out these awesome videos from our winner and honorable mentions below!

First Prize: 
final extended03 
by Peter Butler


Honorable Mention #1:
Halloween Ghost Hunt 2012 
by Sparkle VFX Glenn Maguire 

Honorable Mention #2:
"Zombie Test" 
by Jerome Mettling 

Zombie test - After Effects + Mocha from Jerome Mettling on Vimeo.

We've been visiting our users! 


Photo by AEMY
Martin Brennand was in Malaysia at Adobe After Effects Malaysia (AEMY). He was presenting a mocha showcase for Imagineer Systems at Mind Valley, Bangsar, on Oct 30th 2012. AEMY had this to say about Martin's visit: "Congratulations to Alvin Seah for winning a copy of mocha Pro at the AEMY mixer. Thank you to all that made it. Martin Brennand gave an excellent presentation of all the mocha versions, a great piece of software most take for granted..."
Thanks, AEMY!

Imagineer's Ross Shain was with the team from Assimilate in New York City on October 22nd to show how mocha Pro now supports Scratch v7's powerful color and finishing features.

Mary Poplin was in Mountain View visiting the folks at Google (Studio G). They have an amazing video department and were excited to learn more about mocha Pro. Thanks for having us by, guys!

Mary will be in Atlanta November 14th for Walter Biscardi's Atlanta Cutters meeting! It's the final meeting of the year for Atlanta Cutters, so don't miss it. Details below:

  • MEETING DATE: November 14th 
  • MEETING AGENDA: Member and Sponsor Appreciation Night;
  • mocha Pro Demo with Mary Poplin; Small Tree Returns; Yonder Blue Films Aerial Videography, Imagine Products Dan Montgomery, and much much more!
  • Mary Poplin from Imagineer Systems returns with some new mocha Pro sweetness!
  • One of our most popular demos from last year was Mary’s mind blowing tracking demo using the mocha Pro tool.  Such simplicity breeds incredible power.   We’re excited to have our Atlanta native back in town for the final meeting of the year!
If you're in the Atlanta area, drop Mary a line for a demo while she is in town at maryp@imagineersystems.com.

Alright guys, that about wraps it up for now. Stay tuned for more!



Friday, 19 October 2012

New Point Release coming soon, Zombies, and DMALA; it must be October!

Hi Guys!

October is rapidly peeling days off our calendar and we are scrambling to get some great new features and content out to you.

I visited DMALA

Ko over at DMALA was kind enough to have me by to talk about the new point release at their last meeting this past week. I was happy to meet more artists in the area and to introduce some new users to the power of our planar tracking software. We gave away a copy of mocha Pro to one lucky winner and I hope that they are getting some good use out of it! I did a quick demo of some of the new features coming out in our next point release and got some good feedback and excitement about where we are taking mocha Pro's lens tool.

New Point Release, V3.1

Speaking of demoing new features, we have some great announcements for you! We are releasing a new point release very soon for mocha AE and mocha Pro, version 3.1! This free point release will upgrade V3 users with a few exciting new features:
New Lens Features!


The Lens Plugin for AE

mocha AE V3 will now include the lens module, previously only available in mocha Pro. This upgrade also includes a free mocha Lens plugin to import distortion data right into After Effects.


Lens Exports as Distortion Maps

mocha Pro users will be able to export lens data out of mocha Pro into any compositing program that can read distortion maps, including Nuke and Fusion.


hitFilm 3D Solver in mocha AE and mocha Pro

hitFilm can now use mocha AE V3's powerful camera solver to get 3D camera and planar data into your hitFilm composites quickly and easily.

Render Distortion Maps!


Export to Scratch v7 in mocha Pro

mocha Pro now supports Scratch v7's powerful color and finishing features!


Export Color Mattes

mocha Pro will now be able to render out color mattes for complete, time and space saving matte passes.


Ross is Demoing in New York!


Imagineer's Ross Shain will join the team from Assimilate in New York City on Monday evening to show how mocha Pro now supports Scratch v7's powerful color and finishing features. Click to register. We'd love to see some of our New York users out there to give us feedback on our new features!


Halloween Video Contest: It's not too late!


It doesn't have to be zombies, get creative, go nuts!
We are still open to entries for our Video Contest for Halloween 2012 - Enter to win a free license of mocha Pro v3!

Rules:

  • Submit a short "scary, spooky, Halloween inspired" video (no longer than 5 minutes).
  • All videos must use mocha AE or mocha Pro for some aspect of the post-production/vfx.
  • The top 3 videos picked will win one free license of mocha Pro v3 software (retail value $1495)!

How to enter:

  • Create an interesting or scary or humorous "Halloween" inspired short video that uses any of mocha AE or mocha Pro's features including: Planar Tracking, Rotoscoping, Screen Inserts, 3D Camera Solve or Object Removal.
  • Upload your finished video to Youtube or Vimeo (we prefer Vimeo).
  • When your video is ready to be viewed email us the link, your full name and email address.

Important Stuff!

  • All content must be yours. Only original materials will be considered.
  • You may enter more than once.
  • You may submit older projects for consideration, but we will give preference to fresher material.
  • Have fun! This is an opportunity to learn something new and promote your work.

More Contests!

Ten Years of CG Society!
Imagineer is happy to sponsor CGSociety's 10 year challenge. Enter to win lots of amazing prizes including mocha Pro.

CGSociety is celebrating their first ten years as the premier site for CG artists worldwide. As part of the celebration they challenge you to incorporate the number ten into an image or video, whether literally or symbolically.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Of Fantasy Films and Video Contests

OK, I know I say it every time, but yeah... it's been a while since I last blogulated here. I am going to try to move to blogging once every two weeks so you guys can stay on top of what we're up to, so stay tuned. We went to Siggraph, and I probably should have mentioned that back in August, and we're working on a new point release, we're up for an Academy technical award, and new tutorials are out as well. Things have been firing on all cylinders, as usual, and we haven't stopped to type about it.

We have a New Demo from Mary Poplin (that's me)


And speaking of demos and firing on all cylinders, I have a new tutorial out. It's a breakdown of a project I am currently working on using mocha Pro and After Effects. The project is a very short film that me and a few friends are working on. My friend Morgan Buck filmed it, and she has a crazy-steady arm for camera work. It stars Mackenzie Jameson as an elf who is trying to convince a warrior, played by Sheldon Morley, to abandon a battle his human kingdom is embroiled in. We had some amazing help from Rachel Judd, who handled sound, and Bob Poteete, who handled lighting. Hopefully this project will go well and we'll continue to make little short films for an internet audience.

The goal was to get a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings style short movie with simple DSLR footage shot on a no-budget shoot. You could do this (with the help of a few friends to hold mics and reflectors and, you know, act and stuff) and with your own gear. And you can finalize shots on a laptop just like I did... and that's the point! With mocha Pro, you can have the speed edge you need in order to create your own content as a one-man-show.



This is an advanced walkthrough, so it is recommended that you know your way around mocha Pro and After Effects before you try to follow along. This entire shot took right around an hour from start to finish, but has been sped up to around 20 minutes.

Programs used are mocha Pro for lightning-fast removes and roto work, After Effects for compositing, and Photoshop for cleanplate creation. AE plugins used are Neat Image to remove grain and Red Giant's Magic Bullet Mojo for color. Footage is shot on a Canon 5D Mark ii DSLR with a Canon 50mm lens.

I think this is a really good example of how mocha plays nice with other tools in your toolbox in order to seriously speed up your workflow.

We have a New Demo from Martin Brennand


Martin Brennand also has a new tutorial out. Is this tutorial, product manager Martin Brennand shows you how to use the mocha v3.1 camera solver to solve a scenes camera and moving object to attach a 3D object to a man's head. 3D Object created in Element 3D from Video Copilot. If the guy with the horn on his head looks familiar, that's because it is Sheldon Morley again. Hey, when you have access to a professional actor and a DSLR, you just put them in front of the camera all the time.



There will be a part two of this video coming up soon, so keep a look out for it!

Feel Inspired? Enter our Halloween Video Contest!


We decided to put together a 2012 Halloween Video Contest! Enter to Win a Free License of mocha Pro v3!  All you have to do is submit a short "scary, spooky, Halloween inspired" video (no longer than 5 minutes). All videos must use mocha AE or mocha Pro for some aspect of the post-production/vfx. The top 3 videos picked will win one free license of mocha Pro v3 software (retail value $1495)!



How to enter:
  1. Create an interesting or scary or humorous "Halloween" inspired short video that uses any of mocha AE or mocha Pro's features including: Planar Tracking, Rotoscoping, Screen Inserts, 3D Camera Solve or Object Removal.
  2. Upload your finished video to Youtube or Vimeo (we prefer Vimeo).
  3. When your video is ready to be viewed email us the link, your full name and email address.
  4. Important Stuff!
  5. All content must be yours. Only original materials will be considered.
  6. You may enter more than once.
  7. You may submit older projects for consideration, but we will give preference to fresher material.
  8. Have fun! This is an opportunity to learn something new and promote your work.

Alright, guys, that's about it for now, but let us know what you think of the tutorials and I will make sure to show you guys the final short when it is all done. If these kinds of posts are relevant to your interests and you would like to join our newsletter, good news, it's as easy as clicking this link. Don't worry, we won't spam you, but we will send out new video links every few weeks and brief clips of news that we think you might find relevant.

Cheers!
Mary


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

What is mocha pro?

Our new video is here, and if you ever wanted to know a good reason to upgrade, this should let you know the ins and outs about what exactly mocha Pro is and what tools this amazing piece of software puts at your fingertips. If you don't like watching videos, if you like reading, or if you're at work, you can check out the article below for more information!


So I often have artists that have mocha for AE ask me what is so great about mocha Pro and why I use it or why upgrade if they already have mocha AE? Well, honestly, I use it because it makes sense financially and because it has spoiled me. And here’s why: The Planar tracker might be the same between mocha AE and mocha Pro, but what mocha Pro does with that planar data isn’t. mocha Pro has the lens tool, the insert tool, the remove tool, mocha Pro exports splines, corner pins, tracker points, and FBX data to every package you need it to, mocha Pro renders mattes with motion blur, splits roto projects up among multiple artists, and even has a stabilize tool with auto fill. mocha for after effects, while being an amazing tool that saves you killer amounts of time, handles tracking and roto for After Effects only.

Lets talk a little business.



If you think you’re saving money by not upgrading to mocha Pro, think again. As an artist, I hate talking about money, but it's definitely a necessary part of the freelancing and professional process. Lets say you think you save yourself money by not buying mocha Pro and sticking with your "free" version of mocha for AE that ships with Adobe After Effects. Without the extra addition of mocha Pro's automated processes, you actually spend a little more time on a project because you couldn’t render mattes, motion blur, inserts, or removes right out of mocha Pro instantly. Lets say you do that for two months. The amount of productivity you lose becomes a concern. You are still doing projects faster because you are using our amazing planar tracker in both mocha AE and mocha Pro, but how much money do you leave on the table because you could have gotten more projects done in that same amount of time if you were using Pro? Download a trial of mocha Pro and find out

How much do you value your time?



Every hour of overtime is an hour that eats something more valuable than the work hours in your life. Overtime eats your personal hours. Your hours you’d otherwise spend with your significant other, or your kids if you have them, or your pets if you have them, or even just your plain old hours playing video games or whatever your hobbies may be.

I value my time a lot, so hence why mocha Pro has spoiled me. And I want it to spoil you. SO lets talk about the modules that make mocha Pro worth your time.

Mocha Pro has dedicated roto tools for efficiency



You can still rotoscope in half the time in both mocha for AE and mocha Pro, however the added bonus of mocha Pro is that you can take that roto and you can export it to everything, including proprietary software than can read black and white mattes. In mocha AE you can only move your roto splines and tracking data to After Effects. In mocha Pro you can export to combustion, shake, nuke, flame, ae, and final cut. As well as anything that can read those formats, like shake formats, for instance. Mocha Pro also can render out your roto shapes with motion blur and feathering. And you can merge projects so that you can split roto shots up between more than one artist.

And even if you don’t upgrade to Pro, even though I think you really should, upgrading to V3 will give you a host of new roto tools like the transform tool, new layering tools (like groups and multiple selection), the join layers tool (which joins roto shapes together by parenting their points together), and the dope sheet (which gives you much more control over your keyframes).

Mocha Pro uses the planar tracker to give you an excellent screen insert tool!



The planar tracker inside mocha is a unique planar tracker, not a camera tracker or a point tracker with a 2d cards. That means we analyze the motion of the pixels in our splines inside mocha and give you match move data based on that information, which means we hang on more accurately than feature and point trackers. And while both mocha AE and Mocha Pro share the same planar tracker, the things you can do with that data in mocha Pro save you tons of time. Like the insert tool. With mocha Pro’s insert tool, messing around with difficult corner pins becomes a thing of the past. Simply track your screen, align your surface tool, click over to the insert tool to adjust your options, and render out a comp-ready screen insert with it’s own alpha channel and motion blur already rendered and ready to drop into whatever compositing tool you like to use, be it nuke, ae, fusion, or even things like final cut and avid.

Mocha Pro feeds out 3D Solver into any 3D program that can read generic FBXs



For years we heard our customers ask how to get our 2.5D planar data into a 3D space. We heard you guys loud and clear. So we spent tons of dev time making it happen for you, in fact, mocha Pro V3 is our largest release in years. With mocha’s new 3D camera solver, you can solve for 3D cameras in both mocha AE and mocha Pro, but where mocha AE allows you to export for After Effects, mocha Pro lets you export an FBX that can be used in any 3D software, like nuke, maya, xsi, max, and cinema 4D. So you can take your shots to the next level with only a little bit of trackable data. Simply track one plane for fixed cameras and two non-coplanar planes for moving cameras and solve your planar data in 3D space. You can then attach a 3D object to any null created by mocha’s planar data and the object will move inside the shot like it was shot in camera.

mocha Pro has the Remove Module



This is by far my favorite module, as making cleanplates has always been a huge amount of work. Do you have a boom mike in the shot because the sound guy’s arms were getting tired? What about the b roll camera guy or a random spectator wandering into your shot? It’s easy to remove problems like this by simply garbage matting the object you want to remove, tracking the background, and erasing the object from the scene. Mocha Pro is also great for beauty work, as with just a simple cleanplate and a good track you can remove blemishes from your talent like some kind of black magic voodoo magician. Anything you need tracking to paint out, mocha can assist you, and because our tracker is so powerful, we can help you cut your task down to size.

And that’s what it’s all about!



At the end of the day, fix it in post has become a widespread notion, technology and technology labor are both cheaper than they’ve ever been, competition is fierce, and it’s up to you to decide how much time you’re willing to spend on a single project and how much your time is worth. You can easily upgrade on our onlione store: webshop.imagineersystems.com

A standalone license of mocha Pro is $1,495 without previously owning any of our software. We at imagineer systems value your loyalty, so upgrade costs are minimal compared to list price, and upgrading from mocha AE or a previous version of our software will net you anywhere from $700-$1000 off list price. For instance, upgrading to Pro from the free version of mocha AE that ships with After Effects is $795. That’s an incredible savings, and not one you’re going to want to pass up.

And if you’re still unsure about upgrading, price this amazing tool into the quote of your next job and have your client build your toolbox. Or you can check out B and H http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ as they have a deal on No payments, No interest if paid in full in 6 Months. It’s worth checking out! Especially if you're a freelancer on a budget! As usual, if you have any questions or comments, let us know! Cheers, guys! Mary

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tutorial: Camera Solving for Moving Objects




Introduction

We've had a few requests to make companion written tutorials alongside our video tutorials.  
So for those who prefer reading step-by-step instructions, rather than examples where you have to hit pause all the time, this is for you.

When doing camera solves in mocha v3, the most common workflow is to track planar areas in your shot that are not moving, so you can define how the camera is moving relative to the non-moving objects in the shot.
This is fine for when you need to insert non-moving or animated objects that are relative to your camera, but sometimes you are looking to replace objects that are moving in the shot, or attach things to them.
Mocha handles this process by still solving the camera how you normally would with static areas, but then you can track any moving planes and export those planes based on your camera solve.  

In the surfing shot below we want to add a particle stream to the surf board.  We need to track the non-moving background first and then get 3D surface data for the surfboard itself.

The footage we are using is courtesy of Rubberball footage supplied by artbeats.com.
You can grab a small sample from this footage to follow along here.

Let's take a look at how this is achieved.

The Process

First of all you want to track your static (non-moving) objects to define a camera.  You will need to define more than one plane for moving (xyz) cameras, and at least 1 plane for cameras that are fixed, but can Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ).

To reiterate, "static" in this sense does not mean a locked-off shot with no motion.  Static means anything in the shot that is not moving, such as a floor or wall.  To solve for a camera we need to determine how that camera is moving relative to stationary objects in the shot.
 
Where possible, it is good to get as much information as you can (without overdoing it).
In this shot, we are using 2 portions of the sky using the Add Spline to Layer tool to create a second shape in the layer.

001 - Draw shapes in static planar areas
Before we track we also need to animate the shape to avoid the movement of the man and the surfboard.  This is necessary because we are going to do an unlinked track.  We could also just mask out the man and the surfboard by drawing layers over the sky-tracking layer, but animating the shape is faster in this instance.

002 - Adjust shapes to avoid foreground motion
So we can have the splines in the layer not moving while we track, we can set our Link to Track option to None.  This means that as the footage plays back, anything passing underneath our spline "Search Areas" will be tracked, without having to move the spline as well.

This is very useful when we have long pans and don't want to keep animating the shapes back on screen.

003 - Choose "None" from Link to Track so that the splines don't move.
We can then set our parameters and start tracking the sky.  I have gone with:
  • Motion: Check Translation, Scale and Rotation
  • Min % Pixels Used: 90% (The higher the number the more accurate the track, but the slower the tracking)
  • Input Channel: Auto Channel 
004 - Tracking Parameters

I always recommend having the grid on while you track so you can see if the track is drifting, but for tracks like this you can also turn on the Stabilize viewer in the view controls so that the area you are tracking stays still.

005 - Stabilize view (Not the same as the stabilize module)
Once you have finished tracking the static areas of the scene and you have determined you have a good track, you can then move to solving the shot.
In this case I know it is a Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) shot, so I have chosen that option, along with zooming checked to cover some of the subtle zoom in the shot.

006 - Solving for PTZ with Zooming turned on

Once we have solved the camera, we can export it out for the scene, but if we want to get the surfboard, we need to track that first.
We do this by drawing a shape around some texture detail on the surfboard.

007- Drawing shapes on the surfboard
We also draw a new shape in the layer with the Add Spline to Layer tool to cover the front area of the surfboard so we have as much detail as possible.  Again, we could just draw one shape and then mask out the arm, but you can do it either way.

008 - Adding another shape to the surfboard layer
Just so we can see how the track is going, you can then move the corners the surface to line up with the general position of the surfboard.  This is a useful visual aid when tracking.

009 - Setting up the surface so the grid lines up with the surfboard
We can then set up the parameters for the track.  This is a Perspective track, so we want to make sure that is turned on:
  • Motion: Check Translation, Scale, Rotation, Shear and Perspective
  • Min % Pixels Used: 90% (The higher the number the more accurate the track, but the slower the tracking)
  • Input Channel: Auto Channel 


010 - Surfboard tracking parameters

You can then start tracking!

Once it is tracked you can immediately switch back to the camera solver module.
The great thing is once you have solved the static camera from the first step, you don't need to resolve to export data for moving objects.  That all happens when you actually export.

In this case we are exporting out to After Effects.  If you want to use a different application you can export out to FBX if you have mocha Pro.

011 - Exporting to After Effects
Over in After Effects you need to go to the Edit menu and choose Paste mocha camera.  This option will only appear if you have installed the mocha 3D track importer for AE plugin from our website.  The plugin is free when you buy mocha AE V3 or mocha Pro V3 and it available here:
http://www.imagineersystems.com/download-view


012 - Paste mocha camera option in the Edit menu in After Effects

 Once pasted, you will get a camera and 5 nulls; 1 null for each corner of your surface and a central null.  If the nulls are too large you can easily scale them down by just selecting them all and changing a single value in one of the nulls.

013 - The resulting nulls in After Effects

The great thing about being able to track surfaces like this is that you can adjust the surface relative to the same plane, and get different positions on your plane.  In this case, we want to centre our surface nulls around the tip of the surfboard, so we can shift the surface inside mocha accordingly.

014 - Moving the surface to a different area on the surfboard
Then when we export the 3d data again and paste back into After Effects, we get the nulls in the same position.

015 - The new nulls in the place where we want them

Trapcode Particular

The rest of this tutorial is related to linking a Trapcode Particular emitter up to the central mocha null, so if you just wanted to know how to track the moving objects you're done!  
Carry on for seeing how I use Red Giant's great particle tool to make a trail linked to the 3d data.

First of all we want to add a new solid.  Either press CMD/Ctrl+Y to bring up the solid window or go to the menu and choose Layer | New > Solid.
Make sure the new solid is the same size as the composition and hit OK.

016 - New solid!  It's like a meme, only for After Effects.

Then we want to apply the Trapcode Particular effect from the menu at Effect | Trapcode > Particular.  You could also choose another default particle system if you like, and similar processes would apply, but Particular has a lot of great controls.

You can choose to leave velocity on, but since the surfboard is moving, you can get a nice trail effect if you set velocity to zero.  Everything else can be left at default values until you want to tweak them.  See the settings below.

017 - Set velocity to zero

Now comes the mildly tricky part.  You can watch the video  if you need further clarification:
  1. Go to your layer panel and select mocha null 4 in your layers (or which ever null you want to drive your motion) and press P to show its position information
  2. Select your solid and navigate to the individual properties of the Particular effect applied to it
  3. Locate Position XY under the Emitter section of the Particular effect
  4. Alt-Click the Position XY stopwatch to open the expressions area
  5. Using the pick whip (See image below) drag from the Position XY in Particular to the Position value of your target mocha null.
018 - Pick whip dragging from Position XY to mocha null position
This will generate an expression in the Position XY value of the emitter.  It will look similar to this:
temp = thisComp.layer("mocha null 4").transform.position;
[temp[0], temp[1]]
This is just telling After Effects to assign the X, Y and Z values of the mocha null position to the value temp and then only use the first two values of it (X = temp[0] Y = temp[1]).
 Copy this expression for the next step using CMD/CTRL+C.

019 - Copy the expression create by pick whip
Next, alt-click the Position Z value in the Emitter section of Particular, and paste the expression you copied into the available expression field.

Rather than keeping the original expression however, remove this line:
[temp[0], temp[1]]

And replace it with this:
temp[2]

This expression does exactly the same thing as the previous expression, only this time it is only grabbing the Z value from the null position. There are other ways to code this, but this suits the purpose fine.

020 - Modifying Position Z expression to only get Z value from the mocha null
 If everything has worked correctly you should get a lovely trail of particles from the emitter, following along exactly in 3d space, driven by your tracked null from mocha.

021 - Whee!

Please check out the video at the start of the tutorial to see the complete run-through, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, or on the forum at: forum.imagineersystems.com.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Your Camera Solver Questions: Answered.


Photo of mocha V3's release at NAB
by Michele Yamazaki of Tool Farm
Since the release of our camera solver in mocha V3, we have been getting tons of enthusiasm and buzz from you guys, and we're so pleased for your continued, awesome support. We got lots of upgrade orders the day we released mocha V3, so we know how excited you guys are about the brand new features and that excitement tends to fuel tons of questions!

I posted something very much like this in our imagineer systems forums and over on Tool Farm's forums, and Tool Farm even had a pretty cool blog post about our camera tracker... but I want to expand on this idea here. We've been getting a lot of questions from a lot of you about what mocha's planar solver is, and how is compares to all other camera trackers. I wanted to take a moment to expand upon what our solver is, how it works, and how it compares to camera trackers in general.

So what's the difference between mocha V3's camera solver and any of the other camera trackers on the market right now?



Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The difference is that our camera solver solves for the planes you track in mocha and builds a camera based off that. Just like we’re not a point or feature tracker, neither is our camera solver a camera tracker. 

mocha v3 creates a 3D camera solve based on planar tracking, while, for instance, many 3D feature trackers requires the user to define good and bad data for the tracker in order to complete a camera tracking solve. Using planar data means no more "X"s wobbling across your screen and no more telling your tracker "no."

Because mocha is using the planar tracker to solve, mocha can steadfastly track better than any feature tracking in any other software because our incredible planar tracker has the ability to track and solve footage with motion blur, footage that goes offscreen, etc. Common difficult tracks such as tracing around reflections or obscured tracking areas are things that the planar tracker can solve easily. And you tell mocha where to look, you dont ask it to track everything and then adjust proper features for ages. 

Another difference is that mocha v3 will solve a virtual camera and “select” 3D planes and that mocha v3 exports 3D nulls instead of a point cloud. Now, when I say our camera solver doesn’t solve a point cloud I want to point out that it will give you nulls that represent the planar surface that you can use as “a point cloud” in programs like nuke even though they just mark where your planar surface is at all four corner and the center point. 

The bottom line is that mocha doesn’t solve for “the” camera like a camera tracker does, the ultimate goal we have in our camera solver being to put objects anywhere in the 3D scene or putting volumetrics or particles in the scene. Our camera solver solves for a camera relative to the planes you have tracked.


How can we get the most out of mocha V3's camera solver?


Use large shapes for the best tracks.
With our camera solver, usually less is more. Find two or three really good NON-co-planar planes to track and then hit solve. You will be able to put a 3d object into the scene relative to one of those planes. 

The point being that you usually don’t need a huge camera solve to put a 3D object into a scene, as there are numerous solves you can get with a 3D camera tracker anyway. You just need a reference point and a camera that works for the element you want to drop into the shot.

Things to look out for are just the normal things you need to look out for with our planar tracker, avoid tracking reflections, occlusions, slow moving shadows, etc. And understand that you don’t need tons of data for the solve, you just need to track one good plane for a Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera, and two non-co-planar planes for parallax cameras. As in, you can’t track two shapes on the same wall and expect to get a good parallax solve.

For example: if you need to rebuild your entire set in 3D, our camera solver might not be the best option, but if you need to do a simple set extension for a wall or a ground or both, we can totally do that. mocha’s 3D solver does not give you the entire camera space, only select planes. This could be very useful for many match moves, set extensions, particle effects, etc.

We want you guys to get up to speed fast on our new camera solver so I even released a new video about how to solve difficult planar tracks this week.

Tracking Difficult Shots with mocha Pro v3's Camera Solver from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.


And Martin has also put together an excellent tutorial on the camera solver as well that he will expand on in another blog post later this week!

mocha v3 tutorial: Camera Solving for Moving Objects from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.


Are you trying to compete with other camera trackers?


We’re not trying to replace conventional camera trackers, we're not even trying to compete with them. In fact, for blurry shots or other hard to track shots mocha can help camera trackers by putting in new, sharp planar information or grids where bad information used to be. That is if you have a need for THE camera the shot was shot with and want to help your camera tracker figure the shot out. How's that for being a team player?

How can I try out the new camera solver in mocha V3?


You can purchase mocha Pro here.
It is probably best to download mocha Pro v3, which is now shipping, and activate the 15 day trial to do some tests and compare for yourselves. Both mocha AE and mocha Pro products are similar but they do different things depending on what kind of work you do. mocha Pro has tons of time saving features that aren't present in mocha AE, but they're both based on the same amazing planar tracking technology.

I always recommend upgrading to mocha Pro for the dedicated generalist or the artist who doesn't have time to mess with time consuming corner pins and roto paint.

You can purchase mocha AE here.

mocha AE V3 is also very useful for roto and 2D tracking. Upgrade from the mocha AE bundle version is $195

Hope that helps answer some common questions for you guys! Let me know if you have any questions.

Stay tuned to our blog for more this week from our Product Manager, Martin Brennand!

Cheers,
Mary

Monday, 30 April 2012

We're catching our breath! NAB 2012 was a success!

Me and Martin setting up the GoPro to record a demo.
Hi guys! NAB 2012 is wrapped and with it our major release of mocha V3. Las Vegas was good to us. I think I might need to sleep for something like two weeks, but there's no rest for the wicked, so instead I've uploaded two videos for you guys!

We had a major amount of traffic by the booth, and we were so excited to get out and meet all of you guys! We had our demo reel on loop and we were so thrilled that some of you were able to contribute some truly rad shots to it. The work you do with our software is consistently astounding.

Everyone was excited about our new features for mocha V3 including our new camera solver, all our new roto tools, including the transform tool, the join layers tool, project merges, nudges, and our dope sheet. We even wowed people with our established lens, insert, and remove tools. We have videos!

Steve Wright was at the Booth!

Steve Wright demoed mocha V3 for us at out booth. You can find his video below!

mocha v3 demo by Steve Wright at NAB 2012 from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.
Steve Wright demos the new mocha Pro v3 at NAB 2012 in Las Vegas. This video covers new features and tools for:
• Planar Tracking
• Rotoscoping - Transfrom Tool &; Join Layers
• Layer Management
• Dopesheet
• 3D Camera Solve Module - export to Nuke with FBX
• How mocha Pro interacts with Nuke


I showed off V3 like crazy!

I also gave a preview of our V3 software, all day, every day at NAB, and I'm excited to share it with you guys! You can find that video below.

mocha v3 demo by Mary Poplin at NAB 2012 from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.
Mary Poplin demos the new mocha Pro v3 at NAB 2012 in Las Vegas. This video covers new features and tools for:
• Planar Tracking
• Rotoscoping - Transfrom Tool &; Join Layers
• Layer Management
• Dopesheet
• 3D Camera Solve Module - export to AE & FBX
• Remove Module
• Insert Module


If you want to know more you can check out Martin's overview of the new features and an overview of mocha's 3D camera solver.

Introducing Mik Wells!

We even had our newest hire, Mik Wells, come to NAB with the imagineer systems crew and it was a great experience. We are SO excited to have him as a new part of our team as our Head of Engineering. Mik is an amazing fellow with TONS of programming experience, so we're really glad to have him on board. We can't wait to see what he comes up with moving forward with our software.

Mik took a few delightful videos of his new coworkers working hard at NAB.



Thanks. Thanks for that, Mik. :)

One of these Routes is not like the other.

We planted our flag in Death Valley!

I guess you could say that what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. When my 2012 NAB trip started out, Martin Brennand, our Product Manager, flew into Los Angeles from Melbourne, Australia, and met me in Santa Monica, California. We road-tripped into Las Vegas to meet the rest of the NAB imagineer systems crew.

Our international dream-team assembled, consisting of:
  • JP Smith (UK), our CEO
  • Ross Shain (NY), our CMO
  • myself {Mary Poplin} (LA), our Product Specialist
  • Martin Brennand (Melbourne), our Product Manager 
  • Mik Wells (UK), our Head of Engineering
  • Bryan Milne (Toronto), our VP of Sales
  • Kevin Bourke (Boston), our amazing PR man
  • and Ruslan Khamidullin (Russia), one of our wonderful, hard-working software devs. 


It was the most people we've ever had in one place, as we work scattered to the four winds in various small offices around the globe... which means we don't get to see each other face to face very often. And it was a wonderful experience. After NAB was over, Martin and I decided it would be extra clever to pass by Death Valley on the way back to Los Angeles. This may have been a bad call, as it was very hot, very remote, and very out of the way...

I may or may not admit to the fact that I am very extreme temperature and dry heat sensitive. Like an amphibian. This was not the best decision.

TTFN!

Updates to come as we keep on doing events for V3's release. We can't wait to hear what you guys think of it and as usual, if you have any questions, we are happy to help!

Cheers!
Mary