Imagineer's Mocha Version 2
Imagineer's Mocha Version 2
|Creative COW Product Review
San Francisco Bay area, California, USA
©2010 by Brendan Coots and CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.
In this article, CreativeCOW leader Brendan Coots takes a look at Imagineer's Mocha Version 2, a standalone 2D tracking and rotoscoping tool. Read on to see what impressions Brendan's experience with this powerful and innovative tool yielded.
Tracking and rotoscoping tools typically fall into one of two camps - simple, lightweight applications meant for the smallest of jobs (such as the tracking tools included with Adobe After Effects), and expensive, robust applications aimed at the feature film market. Having tried tools from both sides of this divide, it's easy to see why the split is so clean with virtually no middle ground. Cheaper tools are almost always a "good enough" solution strictly meant for non-critical applications. Ease of use and simple, toy-like interfaces are mandatory, as they are typically aimed at entry level users who seldom reach for these tools and don't want to learn a complex new workflow. Professional grade applications, on the other hand, tend toward extreme complexity that can take even experienced users several days to tackle. The depth of features that make these tools so useful in critical environments almost always means complicated workflows and, by extension, complex interfaces. Simple and cheap, or complicated and expensive - it's usually a bit of an an either/or proposition, but Imagineer's Mocha is changing that equation.
A few months back I reviewed Imagineer System's Mocha V2 for After Effects, a tracking and roto tool that integrates with After Effects to provide a seamless, cost effective solution. You can read that review to get a feel for the overall functionality and use of Imagineer's approach to tracking and roto tools, but generally speaking Imagineer has done a fantastic job of bridging the divide between ease of use and depth of features. It's not easy to reduce interface complexity without impacting functionality, while simultaneously reinventing the actual process of tracking and roto itself. These advances are very apparent in Mocha's standalone application, which is pretty impressive considering the broad functionality and feature set. In the end, the result is a tool that antiquates other systems as "the old way." It is precisely this type of forward-thinking innovation that changes entire industries for the better. I for one won't ever look back.
Anyone who has ventured into the world of rotoscoping knows what a nightmare it can be. Thousands of keyframes (and even more cups of coffee) later, you might have a usable matte. Imagineer's approach simplifies the process and significantly reduces the amount of time required to get a clean matte. Mocha's roto tools are definitely accurate and reliable enough for feature film work, yet easy enough to use that less experienced users won't feel discouraged.
Tracking footage with Mocha is dead simple - believe it or not, it's actually difficult to generate a poor track. In testing the software I experimented with a wide array of footage types and shooting conditions, and Mocha easily tracked almost everything I threw at it on the first pass, requiring no additional adjustments to get a solid track. I almost felt as though I should meddle with it just to earn my keep. Mocha also does a phenomenal job of tracking elements which move out of the frame, a task that usually requires heavy user intervention to clean up. The images below show Mocha tracking dark, fuzzy, heavily motion blurred elements moving completely off the screen, and it did so on the first pass without skipping a beat. That's powerful stuff.
In short, this is easily the best tracking software I've ever used, and its roto tools are so simple and innovative that it almost makes me look forward to rotoscoping. Almost. This is a solid, production-ready tool that is priced to kill.
Version 2 of the Mocha standalone brings some great new features. The biggest news is that Mocha is now 64-bit, which should provide decent performance gains, especially for users working with larger plates such as 2K footage. Mocha V2 has a more refined interface, new stabilization features, and improved overall stability and performance. Imagineer also tells me that support for both Apple Motion and Nuke are coming, which will make a lot of users very happy.
Product will ship April 12.
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