SilhouetteFX, first launched in 2004, is a solid player in high-end roto and paint for visual effects. More recently, Silhouette has become an important tool in the 2D to 3D conversion workflow. Version 5, introduced recently, is the single largest upgrade in the product’s history and incorporates hundreds of upgraded as well as brand-new features.
According to the company, at least three of these new capabilities have the potential to be transformative in the visual effects industry.
Auto Paint – Joins the best of vector-based and raster-based paint.
Silhouette has been deeply entrenched in paint for post-production for many years. Auto Paint, new in V5, provides the speed and detail of raster-based paint systems with the repeatability and animation capability of vector-based paint systems.
The raster-based nature of each stroke is logged into a database, available to be instantly played back using keyframes or trackers in a manner similar to vector-based paint systems.
S3D – Assisted / semi-automatic conversion of 2D to 3D stereo and auto-stereo.
Silhouette was the first roto and paint system to offer a full stereo workflow. More recently, Silhouette has become an important part of the 2D to 3D conversion process. New in V5 is the optional S3D node incorporating RealityTools technology from 3D Impact Media
An option available at an additional cost of $3,995 (for a limited time – regularly $5,995), the S3D node facilitates 2D to 3D conversion and stereoscopic processing.
Shape-based warping and morphing from the folks who invented it. Silhouette partner Perry Kivolowitz received an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement in 1996 for the co-invention of shape-driven warping and morphing. Sixteen years later, Silhouette introduces a re-imagining of shape-based warping. Extremely fast, the Silhouette Morph node is capable of producing film resolution warps in a few milliseconds (in its draft mode). On a shape by shape basis, warps can be exact (where controlled pixels hit their marks precisely) or may be of looser precision (shapes become permeable). The Silhouette warper provides control over image folding, a feature overlooked in many warping systems.
Planar tracking technology licensed from Imagineer Systems
. The company has signed a licensing agreement with Imagineer Systems permitting the integration of the planar tracking technology from Imagineer’s mocha Pro into Silhouette V5. Silhouette V5 will continue to offer the company’s own point and planar trackers in addition to the mocha tracker.
Rotoscoping with Inverse Kinematics. Silhouette’s feature set has been augmented with the addition of an innovative approach to Inverse Kinematics. Silhouette V5 adapts the layer system already familiar to Silhouette users to dynamically generate “bone” structures for articulated shape transformation. When the IK feature is enabled, dragging a shape such as a fingertip has the potential to transform an entire arm.
New licenses of V5 are priced at $1,495. Upgrades from V3/4 to V5 cost $495.