Still Tracking the big white Whale…

While I still haven’t found that nice and simple whale papercraft model I have been chasing for a while now, I had some luck making my mom happy with some alternatives. It’s a good thing the Japanese still love this kind of stuff as much as they do love their smart phones! Still, tracking this down in the depths of the Internet can be pretty aggravating and time-consuming.

Sneaking in a little promotion for another kind of tracking, Mathias has released MochaImport Plus. Now I do this tracking stuff far too rarely, being a 3D animation guy mostly these days, but this script brings at least some of the functionality I have long requested. You know, wouldn’t it be nice if you just could right-click your layer in After Effects and have some Send to mochaAE right in place and then mocha actually being able to use your native footage rather than wanting you to create separate image sequences or clips? Both programs being the duo infernale that they are we can probably wait another 5 years for this to happen, but one can dream. On that note, I actually created some custom stuff for a client based on Symmetrion that allowed them some "trackable masks" functionality with Freeform Pro. I might actually release it one day along with another tracking helper utility that I’m working on inbetween the madness that is my current slew of big 3D projects. I still haven’t decided yet when and how, but there’s always the chance it might appear on AEScripts or my own site.

Speaking of After Effects‘ inadequacies, one of those has forever been 3D. Many have tried to make this better from the likes of Trapcode with Form, Particular, Lux and the up and coming Mir to Mettle with their Freeform Pro and Shapeshifter to Zaxwerks and their product line. Still, we are not yet an inch closer to a truly unified 3D environment. Now two more players will join the ring soon-ish with Video CoPilot‘s Element and AtomKraft also having made a pertinent announcement plus of course we all wait for the surprises CS6 may have in store like Picasso.

Will that solve any of the issues? Probably not. It’s still gonna suck to animate stuff with the awful graph editor and since After Effects has no realworld unit system, all your exported OBJ or whatever files will come in at different sizes in each of the different solutions. You can already observe this if you use the same file in Plexus and Form. Lining things up is gonna be a bitch and since each of these is going to exist in its own 3D space again of course nothing will properly integrate, either, still. And if that wasn’t bad enough, since a lot of this stuff is going to be GPU/ GPGPU based, they all will try to gain exclusive access to your graphics card buffers and get in the way of each other, making one hell of a fragile crashy environment. Some of them will probably even want their specific driver versions in place or otherwise refuse to co-operate. At the end of the day, you may not at all be able to use combinations of this stuff and only end up developing more workarounds. Brave new world, indeed…

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