Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 07/23/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Pixel Hoe

Match moving made simple By Stephen Schleicher

There are many pixel/motion tracking packages on the market today.  Most have a very high price tag.  This puts those who have very little experience or who want to explore matching CGI elements with video footage at a disadvantage.  Now, thanks to The Pixel Farm, theres a simple solution at a reasonable price.

Pixel Hoe is the entry level application to the entire Pixel Farm lineup of match moving products.  Based on the core technology of PFTrack, Pixel Hoe, lets anyone with DV footage to learn the essentials of high end special effects.

Even though this is a wizard driven application, it doesnt pander to the monkey-button-pushers mentality.  Once you select the clip to track, youll be given a set of questions about your footage (free moving, constant focal length, aspect ratio). 


From there you can use Pixel Farms Lens Distortion Correction application which is great if you have to compensate for a very wide shot.  You can also load an image matte if there is a certain area of the screen you dont want to track.

Pixel Hoe Interface

The Pixel Hoe Interface. Click for larger image.

When you click on the Track Features button and Pixel Hoe begins working.  Pixel Hoe tracks data points automatically in your clip, so there is no guessing as to whether you should be using Luminance, RGB, or Hue tracking.  Pixel Hoe makes two passes of your footage, forward and backward to ensure the accuracy of the track.

With a few more clicks, youll have a virtual camera created based on the tracking points and you are ready for export.

The export function is what separates the two different versions of Pixel Hoe.  The Expanded Version includes all the current formats including After Effects, LightWave 3D, 3ds max, and others.

The Standard Version only includes one of the exports of your choice.  Because it is so versatile, I suggest spending the extra money and get the Extended Version.  The data moves into the various programs with ease, and in a future tutorial, Ill show how you can use Pixel Hoe to aid in the creation of a very explosive shot.

There isnt that much to it.  It is really that simple, and powerful.

The only problem with Pixel Hoe is it only allows you to import DV footage.  Sadly any other pixel aspect will not load, including the new HDV format.  The Pixel Farm would make a killing if they would at least allow HDV footage to be imported, or at least lower the cost of the next closest product PFMatch ($500).

Overall, Im very impressed with what Pixel Hoe can accomplish with very little effort.  At only $135 US, youll be doing some amazing effects in very little time.  I give Pixel Hoe a Strong Buy Recommendation. 

For more information visit The Pixel Farm at www.thepixelfarm.co.uk.


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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at schleicher@mindspring.com

Related Keywords:pixel hoe, pixel farm, match moving, motion tracking, schleicher, after effects, lightwave, 3ds max, cgi

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