By: The Foundry
Ocula is a collection of plug-in tools for Nuke that solve common problems with stereoscopic imagery, boost productivity in post production, and ultimately help deliver a more rewarding stereoscopic viewing experience. The plug-ins are designed to automatically replicate key processes on left and right channels and help artists polish and refine stereoscopic material, literally removing headaches from the final viewing experience. Ocula plug-ins allow artists to apply a multitude of adjustments to stereo image pairs. All corrections can be made to the left and right eye channels either together or separately minimizing or eliminating discomfort from the stereo viewing experience.
OCULA tool sets provide standard templates designed to get the best results first time in plate preparation, color correction and vertical alignment. Built on production experience the templates step through the key stages in shot set up and include QC tools for review to reduce iterations and speed-up shot turn-around.
Disparity generator creates stereo disparity vectors that map pixels between left and right view. Disparity is at the core of the plate correction tools allowing color, focus, and alignment to be mapped between views as well as the correlation of key processes such as Roto or Paint.
Vertical aligner warps views vertically so that their corresponding features align, while keeping the horizontal position of each pixel the same. It can be used to remove focal length differences and rotations, eliminate lens or mirror distortions and fix issues with alignment in depth.
Color and focus
Designed to help you deal with the subtle color differences that are sometimes present between stereo views such as changes in reflections or highlights as well as localized color shifts. Color matcher lets you match the colors of one view with those of another for across-the-board consistency. Focus matcher helps to match the focus between left and right views, allowing you to sharpen and soften to match the contrast of edges or to rebuild edge detail in one view directly from the other view.
Differences between left and right views can make for an uncomfortable 3D viewing experience. Retimer is an optical flow-based retiming engine that’s designed to remove these differences and ensure better viewing in stereo.
Depth tools enable artists to create useful data for standard compositing tasks. If you have a CG scene with camera information and a z-depth map available, OCULA’s ‘Depth to disparity’ plug-in provides a quick and accurate way of generating the disparity field. Disparity to depth works by generating z-buffer depth maps per view in a stereo pair. The z-buffer depth data can then be used elsewhere in the NUKE pipeline, for example to perform depth of field effects or a deep merge.
The ‘New view’ plug-in allows one view to be rebuilt entirely from the other to help in tricky shots where where alignment, colour or focus matches are problematic. OCULA’s interaxial shifter lets you change the interaxial separation of stereo images - that is, the distance between the two cameras. This plug-in enables you to generate two new views at specified positions between the original images to control the disparity and depth in the stereo footage.
Troubleshooting and QC
The Stereo review gizmo has been built to push through production footage and provides an artist-friendly way to QC corrections and reduce iterations. The Disparity review gizmo provides an easy way to check disparity vectors to quickly spot any trouble areas where particular attention will be required in corrections. OCULA’s ‘Disparity viewer’ plugin provides different options to visualise disparity and render out to check for any changes in comp.
- Generates an occlusion mask defining where picture building with disparity is likely to be incorrect. This mask is then used by a number of tools to tweak how they calculate their results in specific areas, and can be manually edited to force fallback algorithms to be used in specific image areas.
- Aids in matching focus points between cameras, by a combination of rebuilding one view from the other and deblurring the source view.
- Is an optical flow based retiming engine designed to remove vector differences between left and right views causing uncomfortable viewing results. Retimer provides a familiar interface and robust stereo results.
- Is the engine tool behind the StereoRetimer it calculates a related pair of motion vectors to prevent disparate results between views.
- Lets you compare left and right views in various ways. For example, you can use it for testing vertical alignment, colour matches or measuring parallax. You can also convert it to a group to copy and edit the internals.
- Has been rewritten to deliver cleaner and more accurate disparity vectors. This leads to improved results in picture building operations for automating and speeding up day to day compositing tasks including automated roto view generation, convergence manipulation, depth channel generation, material QC and more.
- Is used to create disparity fields for stereo images. A disparity field maps the location of a pixel in one view to the location of its corresponding pixel in the other view. It includes two sets of disparity vectors: one maps the left view to the right, and the other maps the right view to the left.
- Is fundamental to the operation of the toolset. It controls the key-frameable calibration of camera pairs from stereo footage, to allow artist control of how the toolset reacts to changing camera geometry through a shot.
- Draws arrow overlays to allow easy visualisation of your vector field.
- Adds additional function-ality to Nuke, allowing rotos and paint strokes to be automatically copied from one eye to the other using the generated disparity and substantially improving productivity.
- 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.
- Has been designed to correct the subtle colour differences that are typically present in stereo pairs by attempting to match colour distributions between the left and right views.
- 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, with the result being that objects of different fore-, mid- and background depths are given a more gentle depth effect. This is different to an X-axis shift to adjust convergence, where only the image plane is moved.
- Allows the creation of a single view from a stereo pair of images. You 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.
- Allows the post-render modification of stereo CG in the composite, by converting the per-view depth maps from stereo CG renders into accurate disparity maps.
Specifications & Licensing
- Windows XP SP2, XP64, or (Nuke 6.2 only) Windows 7
- Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” and 10.6 "Snow Leopard" (32-bit and x86 only)
- Linux CentOS 4.5 (32- and 64-bit)
- Nuke 5.2v2 or higher
- Foundry FLEXlm Tools (FFT 5.0v1 or later) for floating licenses.
Ocula licenses are issued as floating. Node-locked licenses are available upon request.
All licenses are locked to the computers MAC/Ethernet address. Download Foundry System ID from the link below. Once downloaded, launching the program will generate a pop-up with your system ID. Send your System ID to RFX for licensing.
The Foundry FFT 5.0 License Manager for Ocula and other Foundry Products (FLEXlm tools)
Requirements for FlexLM:
OS X (10.4 & 10.5), Linux Centos 4.5 (32bit or 64bit), Irix 6.5+, Windows XP, Vista or 7. Other operating systems are likely to work.
To use Ocula plug-ins in the Nuke GUI you will need an Ocula GUI license, this will be checked out while you use the plug-ins.
You can use an interactive license when rendering from the command line by using the -i flag in your render command e.g.
/usr/local/Nuke6.2v2/Nuke6.2 -xi myscript.nk
Please note that this will make you check out interactive licenses for Nuke and other plug-ins.
With a default command line render, Nuke and plug-ins will require render licenses (Nuke render, Ocula Nuke Render). If you want to render Nuke scripts with Ocula nodes in on your render farm then you will need Ocula Nuke Render licenses.
Upgrades / Support
The Foundry offers the following Upgrades and Support options:
- Upgrades from previous versions
RFX is available for all your support needs.
The Foundry provides Ocula support with active Nuke maintenance.
14 to 90 days rentals available for:
- Ocular Render Nodes
Training / Resources
Go to swdfx.com for custom training from Steve Wright
Steve Wright is a senior visual effects artist and trainer with over 20 years of production experience creating digital effects for over 60 feature films, including three years working with the Digital Intermediate process. As a senior digital compositing artist and 2D Technical Director he has an unusual combination of both artistic and technical understanding of Digital Compositing and Digital Intermediate.
His independent services include:
- Master Compositing Trainer
- Nuke & Shake Training
- Freelance Digital Effects Artist
- Feature Film Titling
- Speaker & Lecturer
- Visual Effects & Digital Intermediate Writer
Go to the Nukepedia for resources, tutorials, and all things Nuke