Visual effects software developer, The Foundry's Ocula -- its plug-in toolset developed specifically to deal with problems encountered during 3-D stereo post production -- was recognized with a "Best of IBC" award in the Post Production category by the editorial teams of The IBC Daily and TVB Europe magazine.
The awards recognize the very best product innovations at IBC, and the judging team hunted for new products that clearly showed the potential for end users to either make or save money.
The Foundry's Ocula caught the judges eyes, as it offers the potential to greatly reduce the man-hours required on many VFX stereo shots, by providing the technology to automatically transfer changes and adjustments made on one eye channel across to the other.
Ocula's toolset is based on brand new disparity-mapping algorithms, created by The Foundry's Academy Award-winning R&D team. Disparity maps track and correlate the differences in positional space and movement between corresponding pixels in the left and right cameras, delivering users with pixel-level control over images.
Knowing where disparities occur, Ocula tools apply corrections by warping, stretching and squeezing only the areas of an image that require treatment. Image manipulation using disparity maps is different to X, Y or Z-axis shifting of images, where only whole image planes are shifted.
Bernat Aragones, film editor at Barcelona post-production company Apuntolapospo, commented, "We think Ocula was one of the most interesting products presented this year at IBC. Compositing tools for stereoscopy are really in their infancy, and there is a growing need from post production houses for 3D tools. The Foundry's approach using the disparity generator is definitely the way to go. The use of paint and an efficient automated translation of masks from one eye to the other clearly addresses one of the biggest challenges facing stereoscopic compositing."
Interocular Shifter allows users to reduce camera interaxial separation in post-production. Using disparity map data, two new 'virtual' views are created between the original left and right eye positions, resulting in objects of different fore, mid and background depths being given a more gentle depth effect. This is different to an X-axis shift to adjust convergence, where only the image plane is moved.
Vertical Aligner automatically attempts to vertically align corresponding image features in each view to minimize or eliminate camera misalignment and 'key-stoning'. This is not a single Y-shift for the whole image – the correction varies across the entire image.
New View allows the creation of a single view from a stereo pair of images. Users can create this new view at any position between the original views using one or both of the original views. The "new view" then replaces both of the existing views.
Paint dramatically reduces the amount of manual labor required by artists undertaking paint work. Many position-dependent image manipulations can now be applied to just one eye with paint strokes being automatically generated for the other eye, substantially improving productivity.
Rotoscoping provides and artist with the ability to apply a keyframed roto mask to just one eye. Ocula then automatically generates the mask for the other eye substantially improving productivity.
Colourmatch has been designed to correct the subtle color differences that are typically present between stereo views by attempting to match color distributions between the left and right.
Nuke 5.1 is currently the only visual effects compositing system with an embedded 3-D stereoscopic workflow where left and right eye channels can be manipulated separately or together. Nuke 5.1 is, therefore, currently the only platform that supports Ocula.
Now shipping, Ocula is priced at $10,000/5,000 pounds. Also shipping, Nuke 5.1 is priced at $3,500/1,750 pounds with render nodes priced at: $250/125 pounds, with the annual maintenance and support contract prices at $1,000/500 pounds per GUI license. Nuke 5.1 is available for existing customers with valid maintenance at no extra cost, customers can download now from The Foundry website www.thefoundry.co.uk.