Andersson Technologies has announced that its SynthEyes camera tracking software is now available for Mac OS X, offering a full slate of professional match-moving features. Camera tracking enables effects such as 3-D character insertion, virtual set extension, matte painting insertion, architectural previsualization, crash reconstruction, and transparent effects. SynthEyes performs both fully automatic tracking and efficient supervised tracking.
SynthEyes was used on the Oscar-winning The Aviator for 35 shots of Howard and Kate flying at night. Don Lee of Pixel Playground, Inc. reports in the press release, “They were shot on a green screen set with no tracking markers, and a camera moving all over the place. The footage shot for the background had a big problem: it was limited to only front and side angles, not allowing for any perspective change.” After tracking the shots in SynthEyes, Lee created a CG model of the L.A. area to fly over, projected frame grabs from the footage onto the model, and added lights with Lightwave. Lee concludes that “Thanks to SynthEyes we were able to get cameras solves that tracked the green screen camera. SynthEyes was extremely valuable in the success of these shots!”
This marks the second year appearing in an Oscar-winning performance after last year’s extensive use in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. Other recent credits include National Treasure, Racing Stripes, Blade: Trinity, Son of Mask, and Phantom of the Opera.
SynthEyes’s price point of $349 US has succeeded in bringing it not only to Hollywood effects houses, but regional and local commercial production and effects studios, independent film producers, architects, and “prosumers.” Commercially available for over a year, SynthEyes customers span over 30 countries worldwide. The new Mac OS X version should bring it to an even wider range of artists.
The powerful solver tackles not only single-camera setups, but object tracking, camera plus object tracking, multiple objects, multiple cameras including reference stills, zooms, tripod shots, and lens distortion. A light solver helps match the lighting. Point constraints accurately align the coordinate system, or the scene can be manually positioned.
The flexible workflow allows supervised tracking to be easily combined with automated tracking. Tracker and object display graphics quickly identify problem areas for touchup or filtering. Solutions can be quickly refined and extended as trackers are added, modified, or removed.
User interface features include scrubbing RAM playback with 3D object overlay, a viewport configuration manager, and user-selected coordinate axes. For more details on the extensive feature set, see the web site at http://www.ssontech.com.
An export scripting language, Sizzle, is another key strength, making new exporters routine. Users can modify exporters to suit, or add new ones for their own proprietary software.
SynthEyes exports to most common 3-D computer graphics and compositing packages. CGI programs include Maya, Lightwave, Cinema 4D, XSI, Houdini, Blender, Animation:Master, Electric Image, and 3ds max. Compositing programs Shake, After Effects, Combustion, Flame, Inferno and Nuke are supported.
Images can be imported in native and QuickTime-supported formats including Targa, Cineon, PNG, JPEG, DPX, EXR, TIFF, BMP, and SGI RGB. Movies can be imported from QuickTime(tm) Movie formats, including DV, MPEG, and AVI (Quicktime-supported codecs only).
SynthEyes runs under Mac OSX 10.3.x on G5 and G4 processors. A Windows version is also available.
SynthEyes may be purchased now at http://www.ssontech.com for $349 US for download. A CD adds $10 when shipped to the US, or $15 internationally. Quantity discounts are available. A free SynthEyes demo version may be downloaded from the web site.
Existing Windows customers of SynthEyes can switch to the Mac version for $99, returning the PC license. As a special offer until April 15th, existing Windows customers can add one Mac license for only $249. Contact sales for ordering details.