May 13, 2008
UK: Visual effects software developer The Foundry has developed Ocula, a collection of plug-ins for 3D stereoscopic imagery post production. Previewed at NAB 2008, the new plug-ins facilitates 3D stereoscopic post production by automatic replication of key processes on left and right channels, and offers tools to refine 3D stereoscopic material. Adjustments can be made to stereoscopic image pairs, with corrections able to be made to the left and right eye channels either together or separately. The Ocula tools are based on new disparity-mapping algorithms created by The Foundry’s research and development team. Disparity maps track and correlate the differences in positional space and movement between corresponding pixels in the left and right cameras, and then deliver pixel-level control over images. With knowledge of where disparities occur, Ocula tools apply corrections by warping, stretching and squeezing areas of an image that require treatment. Image manipulation using disparity maps is different to the X, Y or Z-axis shifting of images, where only whole image planes are shifted. Horizontal alignment issues can be corrected with Ocula’s Interocular Distance Shifter. Using disparity map data, a new ‘virtual’ view is created between the original left and right eye positions, to have objects of different fore, mid and background depths resolved more accurately for the viewer. This is different to an X-axis shift where only the image plane is moved. Ocula’s Vertical Aligner automatically attempts to vertically align corresponding image features in each view to minimize ‘key-stoning’ effects. This is not a single Y-shift for the whole image – with disparity mapping the correction varies across the entire image. Ocula plug-ins target to reduce manual labour required with various position-dependent image manipulations applied to just one eye with paint strokes, keyframed roto masks, and the like automatically generated for the other eye, to improve productivity. Nuke 5 is The Foundry’s visual effects compositing system with an embedded 3D stereoscopic workflow, where left and right eye channels can be manipulated separately or together. Ocula plug-ins will be available for the next point release of Nuke, version 5.1, expected in July 2008.