Imagineer Systems' mocha Pro in Review

Product Review: Imagineer Systems' mocha Pro

mocha Pro is the latest version of Imagineer Systems' planar tracking software. It combines the functionality of previously available products into one single package, making it easier since there is no longer the need to worry about different applications for different purposes.

As I said, mocha Pro is a planar tracking software (to learn about planar tracking, be sure to check out this video). Basically, it helps users rotoscope different features of any footage, and provides a set of spline masks that can be used for different purposes. For example, maybe you need to track the license plate of a car to replace the number with something else, or you might need to place a digital sign on top of a moving live-action truck. Rotoscoping is also a commonly used technique for stereoscopic conversion.

 

The workflow is simple. You draw splines on top of features you want to track. For example, if you need to track an actor's head, arm, or hand, you draw a spline around those features. You can draw either exact splines that follow the shape of an object, or splines that will loosely follow it, and you can use it to drive the movement of a more fitting spline later.

Once you've tracked the features, you can export the different shapes to a wide variety of compositing applications, such as After Effects, Combustion, Fusion, Nuke, Shake, or others.

One of the nice features available in mocha Pro is the Remove module. This module is used to remove any unwanted features from your footage. For example, maybe you set up markers in your scene for camera tracking, but you don't want them to appear in your final shot. You can simply track those features in mocha Pro, and then remove them using this module.

You have to keep in mind that removing things such as trackings may be a problem if your footage doesn't show enough "clean" background to perform the removal. Luckily, you can import a clean image to help mocha Pro remove the desired object.

mocha Pro also includes the "Insert" feature. This allows you to project an image on any tracked surface. This feature can be useful if you want to place signs on a street, or place a photograph or label onto something. Just like before, you track your features, and then attach your image to those tracked features. You can then modify the position, rotation and scale of your insert for a variety of effects. You can export this data to your compositing package, but you can also render out a sequence that includes the inserted clip in your footage.

The software is really fast, being able to playback video in real-time since it has an OpenGL accelerated viewport (I was able to playback uncompressed AVI video at 2K resolution without any frame drops). Tracking features, most of the time, is very fast as well, taking just a few seconds to solve the tracks in most cases.

One thing you should keep in mind is that mocha Pro is not designed to rotoscope every single feature for you, so it's not like it will be able to rotoscope every moving part of your actor or objects without user intervention. It does a great job tracking objects and features, but there's a chance you will always need to adjust the splines as the tracker is doing its job, especially for deforming objects.

I think mocha Pro is a move in the right direction, as it offers features from previously available software packages from Imagineer Systems, and eliminates the confusion that the previous lineup of applications may have caused. The software is very fast, and can help you get outstanding results. If you need a software that will help you in your rotoscoping and tracking needs, I would highly recommend mocha Pro.

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Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.

February 7, 2011

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