SliceX and TrackX Review Part 2

And now, the exciting conclusion – Part 2 of my CoreMelt SliceX and TrackX review. This week, I’m covering TrackX!

Before I get into that, I will say that if there are any plug-ins you would like to see reviewed let me know in the comments. I’ll reach out to the developer, and see what I can do. I’ve been doing this on and off in the group for a few years now, but it takes a surprisingly long time to write a decent review, and I don’t want to half-ass these types of things. When we asked the group awhile back if members were interested in this type of thing, we got a resounding “yes,” so I’d like to do it more, but I don’t want to be bombarding you with one every week.

In part 2 I’m going to concentrate less on the broader details of how to create a shape and track since TrackX operates largely the same as SliceX, so if you missed part 1 of the review on SliceX, http://www.davidarbor.com/blog/slicex-and-trackx-review-part-1/

TrackX is available as 3 generators – a simple tracker, a layer tracker, and a text tracker.

The Simple Tracker is good for tracking movement of an object and then applying that movement to a clip such as a title by dragging a video clip or a compound clip (note: a straight title will not work) into the Insert Layer well in the Generator Tab of the tracker. CoreMelt’s suggested workflow is having your clip on your main storyline sandwiched between the generator which sits on top and the desired clip to be inserted which sits below. As a simple tracker only the X and Y positions of the your shape are tracked and then applied to your title. When you apply the generator very simple instructions show up on screen telling you to create a shape to be tracked, drop your replacement layer in the image well, and then track.

The other 2 generators are more complex and more powerful, but the setup is the same as the Simple Tracker. I said this in the part 1, but I’ll say it again: it is crucial that you have the proper options set up for tracking, otherwise you will get a poor track that slips. If there’s any perspective change at all make sure to track as Perspective. If you’re still having troubles increase the track quality. Also, make sure your shape is actually drawn on the proper plane that the tracked object really is on. Then if you still have some issues you should try keyframing. I had several poor tracks until I fixed my shape to be more on the proper plane. So after several attempts with too many keyframes I tracked the plane of my iMac itself rather than just the green screen. The track analyzed while I was writing this paragraph, and I didn’t have to use a single keyframe. Also, remember that the larger the shape you draw, the longer it will take to track. Check out the 15s example here.
The first part is the raw clip shot from my phone, and the second part shows the final results. I used TrackX for the iMac and SliceX Blur Shape Mask to blur my second monitor a little. TrackX is the generator that goes on the clip, SliceX is an effect that goes on my original footage.

The Title Tracker is virtually identical to the Layer Tracker, but instead of an image well, you open a text editor that has access to all of your installed fonts. The process is the same where you draw out a shape, track, and then edit your text.

One thing I forgot to mention is that both the Layer and Text Tracker generators have an option to mask your tracked layers. This can come in very handy when you’re trying to fit a tracked layer to a non-uniform shape.

Overall, I’m very impressed with TrackX, especially since it lives right inside of the NLE, and sometimes it’s nice not to have to go out to a compositing app. Once I got the hang of the settings and I was using the suggested workflow for creating shapes and tracking I had a lot of fun with this plug-in.

-David