3D software review: Mocha Pro 3
With some major new features and GUI tweaks, this motion-tracking software offers a strong solution for 3D artists, says Rob Redman
PRICE: $1,496, Upgrade from $496
PLATFORM: Windows / Mac
- Camera motion tracker
- 3D camera solver
- Easy object removal
- Rotoscoping tools
MANUFACTURER: Imagineer Systems
Mocha Pro is a set of tools that enable motion tracking, stabilisation and rotoscoping of video footage. This latest release builds upon previous versions with the addition of 3D camera solutions, which work in conjunction with After Effects, Nuke and industry standard FBX. Although it has uses in many video pipelines for a 3D artist, it can also really help with compositing jobs.
Importing footage into Mocha is as simple as you would expect, and the layer system will be intuitive to anybody who has used layers in other applications. Areas to be tracked can be assigned to different layers, and you can use the tracked pixel data from one layer to replace that of another. This is particularly useful if you need to remove an object – static or moving – from a shot to replace it with another, and then add 3D render results to the shot.
IMPORTING INTO MOCHA PRO
An example workflow might be a live action shoot, where an actor is wearing a mocap suit; this plate could be imported into Mocha Pro and the actor removed. If there is a lot of movement and the overall shape of the actor in the shot changes, you can combine multiple tracked elements into one object removal. Then you can track areas of the same footage without the actor in them, and use this data to effectively paint out the actor. Where there are obstacles to this, you can use Mocha Pro’s roto tools to gain frame‑by-frame control over the results.
Drawing target areas with a marquee brings up Current Frame and Next Keyframe boxes, helping with roto work at the pixel level
Once you have your clean plate, you can track the camera motion using Mocha’s planar tracker. Tell Mocha how to interpret the motion by assigning planes or grids, and then export the camera data. When I used it, I exported my data to Cinema 4D, where I aligned my 3D scene to the exported camera. I didn’t need to worry about camera animation, and my mocap data integrated seamlessly, allowing me to render from Cinema 4D with an alpha that then aligned perfectly with my clean plate. Mocha Pro is capable of far more than this, but for 3D artists this will probably be a fairly typical workflow.
Other new aspects of Mocha include some tweaks to the layer system; if you like to keep things organised this is now made easier with groups, or layer sets, using simple colour coding, which I found extremely useful.
I often need to delve into my timelines, especially when I have to do roto work, and Mocha Pro 3 has an elegant keyframe editor in the dope sheet. The layout is fairly standard but it’s easy on the eye, clear and intuitive to use. The tracking tools are really very good and object removal is just plain fun. I intend to remove some people from party videos just to see if they realise.
If you’ll use even a couple of Mocha Pro’s main tools, then it’s a well-developed, neatly laid out and very capable package. But if you only need to track the odd bit of footage here and there, you might find another solution is better suited to your needs and budget.
- Intuitive toolset
- Excellent motion tracker
- Export options are very good
- There are cheaper tracking software packages available
A strong release, with both some major new features and tweaks to the GUI that make it powerful and easy to work with
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Redman has been in the animation and VFX industry for over a decade, and has worked with clients ranging from pop stars to governments. He is also 3D World’s very own Technical Editor
on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 5:00 pm under Applications, Reviews.
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Tags: 3D, Mocha Pro, Mocha Pro 3, review, software