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mocha has always been very popular as a tracking tool, but with the rising interest in stereo 3D conversion, its rotoscoping capabilities have become a favorite player in that pipeline and sales have soared. In this course, Steve Wright covers the basics of operating mocha, as well as advanced tracking and rotoscoping techniques. The course also covers the mocha/Nuke stereo 3D production pipeline in detail.
One of the most important techniques for achieving quick and quality rotoscoping is to break the target object down into the right number of separate shapes. So for this, let's load a new clip, go to the New Projects > Choose, go to the Lesson_03_Media folder, click on Dancer and load the dancer clip. Now I have already prepared a script that has some shapes in it, so I am going to go and get that. A copy of this Mocha Script is in the Project Media folder, so you can follow along.
Okay, first thing we do, we play the clip and we study it carefully and form a strategy. In rotoscoping, the strategy is always to divide and conquer. We want small shapes that cover small areas and develop short sections of the timeline one at a time. Stop that. Okay, I am going to set an in point here at 33 and I will set an out point here at 43 and jump the playhead to frame 33 to show you the wrong way to do it.
Okay, here, I have drawn one complete shape that covers the whole arm. This is what you do not want to do. The reason you want all those separate little shapes is you want to do as much movement with transformations and rotations and scales of the entire shape as possible and the least amount of point twiddling, so let's see what happens if I try to do this on. So I am going to jump here to my next keyframe. Okay, I need to move the arm down here, so I am going to use the Transform tool, I will line up the elbow there, I will use the Rotate tool to get that arm lined up like so.
Move in a little bit here. Now this part of the back will be done by a separate shape. Now, I have the problem trying to deform this to fit the rest of his arm and hand. So I will start by selecting these points here, I will try moving them over like that and then I am trying to rotate them down like this and then maybe reposition them like that. I am getting the gross outline set up first. So let's try getting his hand to work.
So we will set that, I am going to deselect these points here and I will translate this down and do a rotate here, try and get this hand blocked in as much as I can with using transformations on the basic shape. All right! That's as much as I can do with transformations. Now, I am going to have to go in and start doing point twiddling. So I will come in here to these control points, start lining them up and adjusting the slopes.
I am moving this control right here and that one over there. So this is what you want to avoid is all the point twiddling. You would like to be able to do this as much as you possibly can with only transformations and rotations of large blocks control points that is the whole spline itself. So I am going to block all, I am going to just rough this in because you don't want to spend all day watching me twiddle control points.
Okay, so let's say that's good enough for now and I will rehome the viewer, deselect, I will turn my Mattes on, All Mattes and now I have my two keyframes for this one arm. Again, the problem I am going to have is by moving all those individual control points, I am going to introduce chatter. So let's look at the best method for doing this problem. Go back to my frame 33, turn off the Mattes. I am going to turn off the wrong arm and turn on a proper breakdown of shapes. All right! Let's zoom in and see what we've got here.
I have a shape for the upper arm and a shape for the lower arm and a separate shape for the joint. This is critical. You want the shapes to match the body segments. The joints however are going to have to deform, so you want to make them separate. This way, we can move each of these body segments as a single rigid object using transformations. I have a hand down here which is also separate from the upper arm and I have got a wrist shape. Again like the elbow, I am going to have to bend and animate this guy. All right! So let's see what happens.
We'll make a new keyframe, same frame, will be here at 43. I am going to turn off the visibility of all the other shapes. So let's zoom in closer. We'll select the shape, use a transform. Notice I am moving it by the joint, by the approximate elbow position, try to keep things pinned to the physiology, this is the point of rotation. So I am going to grab this guy and rotate him up like that. Okay, I am done with the upper arm and I did not do any point twiddling at all.
That's the punch line. Okay, we'll skip the elbow for now and go straight for the lower arm, okay? Well, again, go transform to get him in shape here and again keeping my control point at the body joints, okay? And I am going to move him into position there, maybe refine that rotation a little bit, there! And again I did not have to twiddle any control points.
This gives you much smoother, cleaner edges rather than trying to move all those control points. Okay, so we get the hand. Okay, so we've got the hand turned on, so we will start by repositioning it down here, we could zoom in a little bit. I will fine-tune that a little more and I am going to stretch his hand a little bit because now the shape is changed. When the shape changes, it's legitimate for me to change the shape, but in the case of the forearm and the upper arm, the shape didn't really change. That's how you want to use solid objects.
Let's take this point here and make that linear and move these points over here. Again, I don't want to spend all day twiddling control points for you. Okay, let's say we like that. Now, let's back up and take a look at this elbow. Remember we want to keep the joints as a separate shape entirely. So we bring this elbow over here, I am going to rotate it to roughly split difference between the two shapes.
Now, a critical issue when you have shapes like this is you must have a perfect blending edge right here and right there. Watch what happens when we don't. Okay, look at that. See the notch here, and the notch there, and the notch here and the notch there, you have to make that go away with perfectly smooth blended edges. So I will turn my splice back on. How do we do that? All right! I am going to select this control point here, move it up right on that line and turn the slope, the angle of the tension handle until I get it perfectly parallel with the other shapes line.
We'll move it in a little closer. Okay, and maybe I will extend this out a little bit, so I want to get the slope of the tension handles perfectly all parallel with the other spline right in this area. Now, this control point we don't care about because it's actually interior, so we're just going to make that nice and smooth. Next, let's take a look at blending this. I am going to move this control point over here and again change his slope to be perfectly parallel with this spline.
So now if we look at him, this should be one smooth surface here and now we'll take a look at the interior. All right! So I want to take this control point over here and adjust his slope to be perfectly parallel with this guy and of course again we don't care about the interior and then we move this one over here and make him absolutely parallel, all right? So let's see how are we doing? We will turn on our Mattes and we will switch the RGB and turn on paint bucket and we will turn off our splines.
Now, we have very nicely blended shapes. Okay, RGB back on, Mattes off, splines on and rehome to viewer. Now let's take a look at that wrist. We'll select the wrist, turn him on, wake him up, zoom in, okay. again I am going to use the Transform to block it in. Now the wrist has changed to shapes. That's a legitimate thing. So I am going to rotate this to kind of split the difference.
Okay, now and only now will I start my point twiddling. So we'll zoom in here, and again I need to get these control points perfectly parallel with the matching spline. So move this over here, adjust the slope of this, this guy, I just want to have it smooth out.
Again, this is an interior point, so we don't care about him. This guy, perfectly parallel with the other slope, this one to, again, interior point, we don't care. We'll take this point and simply give him the nice average and it allows from here. All right, so let's how that looks when we do our mattes, we turn on the Mattes, turn off the RGB, hide the splines, oops! I got a bit of a notch here.
Not good, okay, so let's do all, there you go, easy to see. All right! So I am going to select this guy and adjust the slope here. I didn't put that in a really good spot. Ah! There we go! Much better, okay, rehome to viewer, turn on the RGB layer, turn off the Mattes, turn our splines back on. Now we can turn on the Matte Overlay and see how our rotos are doing.
The key is to design your rotoshapes to mimic the bone structure and joints of your target, so their animation can mimic their movements as well.
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