doddleREVIEWS: SliceX From CoreMelt For Final Cut Pro X

SliceXBy Kevin P. McAuliffe (doddleNEWS)

I’m a huge fan of motion tracking and of Imagineer Systems. Mocha Pro has gotten me out of a jam more times than I can count, and I love to see how it’s taken and integrated into other NLE’s and compositing applications.  They recently released Mocha Pro the Plug-In for Media Composer, Adobe, and OFX Hosts. This is very cool, but what I find even cooler is how CoreMelt has integrated Mocha tracking technology into three different plugins for Final Cut Pro X, and in this review, we’re going to take a look at SliceX from CoreMelt.

The first big question is, what is SliceX? It’s a plugin specifically designed to let you mask out and track certain areas of your shots, so you can either blur the footage, do color correction to it, fix skin issues with your talent, or even sharpen certain areas of your footage.

In the past, this was a process that had to be done within Motion 5, but SliceX gives you the flexibility of doing this from right within your timeline. All you have to do to get started is figure out what it is, exactly, that you want to accomplish, and pick the appropriate effect. In this lesson, we’re going to blur out a sign in our shot that we don’t have permission to use. Installation of the plugin is pretty straightforward, and you should be up and running with the effect in a matter of minutes.

Once you have the plugin installed and licensed (which can be done directly from the SliceX interface), it is applied to a clip by simply dragging and dropping one of the ten different SliceX effects from the Effects window in Final Cut Pro X:

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Now, I did say ten different effects, because the ten different effects do something very specific. We’re going to use the “Blur Shape Mask” effect, and by dragging and dropping it onto our footage, we now have the SliceX effects parameter in our Canvas window in FCP X:

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Once there, the interface might look a little daunting, but it’s actually pretty straight forward. Your tools are on the left side of the interface, and you can choose the shape that’s necessary for the job you need to do. In our case, I’m going to mask out a sign at the bottom of my canvas window. To do that, I’m going to select the polygon shape tool, and draw a shape around it:

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Once it’s drawn, you’ll immediate see the blur appear in the shape you drew. Now, we’re ready to track.

Make sure the tracking parameters are active, which you can tell by whether or not the Mocha icon is lit up or not. Once you’re ready, simply hit the track forward button (assuming you want to track forward), to the point where the sign leaves the screen. Then, hit stop (or the spacebar), and now simply press the Mocha icon to disable tracking capabilities.

Now, you can head back to the start of the timeline, hit play, and see your blurred track match the movements of the shot exactly. This is perfect for anyone who needs to do logo removal from shirts, or blurring people’s faces out, essentially anything or anyone you do not have permission to use their likeness.

If you need to get in and adjust any of the “non-tracking parameters,” such as Blur Strength, Blur Type (Box, Gaussian or Disc), invert the shape, or even adjust the shape’s softness, all of this can be done quickly and easily from within the Inspector:

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Now, after seeing how easily this can be done, it brings up the question of, “How much?” You might think that an effect (plugin) like this would run you in the hundreds of dollars, but the good news is, CoreMelt is selling SliceX for $99. To be honest, this is a total steal for getting Mocha tracking capabilities, right inside of your FCP X timelines.

The best part is that you can download a free demo [link], and take SliceX for a spin, before you decide if it’s worth your money, but if you do any type of tracked blurring work (even color correction), this is an essential tool that you’ll want to add to your toolkit.

To purchase SliceX, click here [affiliate link].