Core Melt’s Track X – Review and Tutorial

Core Melt's Track X - Review and Tutorial

Earlier this week, we took a look and reviewed a plugin from Core Melt for FCPX known as Slice X.  This time around Core Melt has brought us a tracking tool for replacing images and signs, tracking texts and graphics with moving objects, all within FCPX. The plugin is known as Track X and is powered by Mocha once again. Does it have the same polish as Slice X ? Let’s dive in …..

Track X is powered by Mocha similar to Slice X in my previous review. This means the plugin works very well within FCPX without any hiccups or loss of speed. Track X allows you to track various objects and effects without leaving FCPX.  A task like this is normally accomplished with another software such as After Effects. Track X helps to keep you within FCPX, and reduce round tripping.

Track X comes packaged with 3 tools.

  • Simple Tracker: – instant tracking perfect for quick floating lower thirds or graphics following a person or object.
  • Track Layer: – advanced tracking with perspective shifts, surface mapping and masking capabilities.
  • Track Text: – includes a text generator that can track text with perspective and masking capabilities.

TrackX1

Track X allows the user plenty of flexibility to work and create. Moving objects that require text to follow has always been a job for key framing, but Track X makes this task easier. First, create a lower third with the text generator, then drop it into the timeline. Next, you will need to turn the text clip into a compound clip by hitting Option G.  This will make working with the text much easier later on.  Next, drag and drop the Simple Tracker plugin from Generators window onto your clip.  The Track X plugin must be on top of the clip in order to work correctly. Remember to adjust the plugin timing to match your clip.

TrackX1AThe following steps work very similar to Slice X, as the interface is similar. To apply the track tool, select the free form tool and begin tracing out the image you need to track. Once completed, click the track forward button and watch Track X, track your footage.  After that is done, jump over to the inspector window and click on the “ Insert Layer”  to highlight it. The final step is to find your compound clip, and click apply. At this point you should be able to play back your footage as the text tracks along.

 

TrackX2

 

TrackX3

Replacing Images in a moving object or even signs and be easily accomplished using similar techniques.  This time you begin with the Track X Track Layer plugin found in the generators. Follow up by using the the free form tool to select the area that needs to be replaced, and then track forward once again. Don’t forget, you can always zoom in to get better tracking points.

TrackX4

After your clip has been tracked, once again select the clip that needs to be replace the current clip into the Insert Layer. Depending on your footage, and shape you will notice that the image does not fit perfectly.  However, Track X has another tool built in to help polish the image. Select the third menu labeled mask, and jump into the Inspector window.  The inspector window contains variables that allow you to create a soft mask to polish up the shot.

TrackX5

The options in the inspector window will allow you to adjust not only the mask applied to polish out the shot, but also the X & Y variables .  This is a is a great feature as it allows you to perfect the shot right within FCPX.

TrackX6

Track X works very well, but I did run into some issues. Footage containing too many similar objects, such as marching soldiers would often fail to track. Track X would fail to maintain the tracking points. The solider’s formations combined with similar military outfits made it very difficult to track and maintain. You can mitigate this by key framing, but this again becomes very time consuming. My suggestion, is to stick with footage with that will stay together and be visible the entire time within the shot.  However, most editors already make this decision well before hand.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Track X is a powerful plugin that any FCPX editor would find very useful. Powered by Mocha, with the ability to stay within FCPX, with out round tripping is an absolutely delightful.  Just remember to select your shots accordingly and you find Track X will quickly become an invaluable tool.

 

You can download Track X here

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