Imagineer vs. FXHOME tutorials on Mocha

MarcDraco Posts: 37
edited March 2014 in General
Mocha is made by Imagineer systems and bundled (in a slightly limited form) with Hitfilm Ultimate as most of us know.
I would have thought that Imagineer's tutorials would be the way to go to learn Mocha - I have the AE3 version too so I can use it in After Effects too.
I just stumbled on a couple of solver tutorials from Axel Wilkinson and although I've still got a lot to learn, it was like a light went off in my head.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems Imagineer's people make a lot of assumptions that Axel doesn't - particularly about our knowledge of geometry - or even how Mocha works internally.
Here are a couple I found particularly useful in case anyone else is having issues with this remarkable add-on.
I'm still having "issues" with Mocha (unrelated to Hitfilm) which I'm going to try and sort myself but it seems to me someone from Imagineer should take a leaf from Axel's book. 


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,190 Power User
    Imagineer's tutorials are a bit less user friendly than Axel's, but I still linked them in other threads.
    However, if you rewatch the imagineer tutorials after Axel's, you'll get them, too. And the imagineer tutorials do have useful information Axel hasn't covered (yet).
  • MarcDraco
    MarcDraco Posts: 37
    I know Axel hasn't covered everything (I have the AE3 version which is more powerful than the Hitfilm bundled version so I can't rely on him alone) but it seems to me that they could take a leaf out of his style for the beginners trying to wrap heads around 3D solvers. It's tough enough doing it with a point tracker for the first time in something like Blender (which is still far from perfect).
    I suspect Martin Brennard and Mary Poplin are (unconsciously) working from the assumption that we already know how a solver works from experience with Bijou, Nuke or even the later one in AE-CC where in fact many of us have sparse or zero knowledge of planar tracking - let alone doing that in 3D.
    This is where (and you're alluding to this) that Axel's work is superior and I'd like to see it included in Imagineer's tutorial series. I'd go and complain to them but I suspect there might be some hostility to low-end users.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,190 Power User
    Interesting you say low-end users. I suspect you are correct in your assumption that THEY assume prior
    I think some of that is imagineer does pitch to major fx houses, and FXhome pitches to everyone. But FXhome assumes a higher percentage of the user base is inexperienced.
    I bet all the basic, concise, "here's how it works" stuff is on the expensive training vids they sell at the link my smartphone decided to post two paragraphs up instead of here. (note, they do let you stream the "Fundamentals" course.)
    Anyway, Axel and Simon do excellent tutorials. They sketch the concept so inexperienced users understand the idea, provide specific examples and suggest (and, usually, show) variations. Also, they just come off as likeable. And, when you realize those two have managed to somehow put out over 120 tutorials in less than 2-1/2 years...
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,190 Power User
    edited March 2014
    Oh, this poll needs an "I use em all" option. Just because Axel's tutorials are more accessible to me doesn't mean I haven't picked up tricks from Mary Poplin and Martin Brennard. :-)
  • MarcDraco
    MarcDraco Posts: 37
    There's something about Mary (Poplin) [see what I did there] that I just don't like - I think her videos are sped up and the audio is often tinkered with.
    The poll doesn't have a "I use them all" option because the question (which I can't see on the thread, oddly) is which one do you find most useful. Presumably this is an issue with the board software.
    I've been using Mocha since V1.x and only recently (prior to getting HFU) bought V3 but it's always been a bit of strange voodoo - again I better understand how things work when I know how they work at the core; hence Axel's vivid demonstrations of PTZ and the mocha slide of image texture really clear things up.
    Obviously, it's better to grab as many as you get your hands on as each person gives a slightly different tip. I just feel that Imagineer are ignoring a significant slice of the market  - which is their loss.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    Everything I know about mocha I learned for the Imagineer tutorials.  Plus an occasional question thrown directly to Mary Poplin or Martin Brennand.  The trickiest thing about the Imagineer tutorials, at least for me, is that they have so many that its sometimes tricky to find the one that you actually need.  Plus, since a lot of their users are working on projects at the academy award level, some of the tutorials are a bit next level, if you are just getting started.
    But there is a LOT of really useful stuff in the tutorials over at Imagineer, most of which we haven't really covered yet.  Its good to hear that my tutorials thus far have done a decent job of distilling down the basics though.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    I don't think they are sped up, I just think when you are a expert the most basic things so done quickly. Ever try to explain your advance knowledge to someone and find it hard to limit yourself?  I've done the live tutorials that mocha does and even a session where Mary helped me.  I do agree with a sense of voodoo about the software.  I thought I had a good grasp until I tried something advanced and ran into issues.  I was using mocha pro.  I own some of the paid tutorials and still had issues.  I think they need to do fun and simple tutorials for people to learn.  you can always sneak advanced concepts in. 
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,190 Power User
    Actually, Mary Poplin's tutorials are TOTALLY sped up--But Mary also SAYS when she's speeding things up. Sometimes in tutorials, you'll see/hear something like "and we'll skip ahead until this is done." *EDIT* "And, now it's done." Mary Poplin will show mocha working away, but, yes, she speeds things up--no one wants to watch 5 minutes of solve.
  • After first using Mocha for HFU I was hooked. So I went and bought Mocha Pro. So now I watch the Pro tutorials from Imagineer.  But I started with Hitfilm's.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,617 Ambassador
    edited April 2014
    I came to FXhome because they didn't talk way above my head. Over in the AE forums I constantly encountered folks, who may not have been condescending on purpose, but they always had an assumption that I knew what they were talking about. That drove this beginner away and into the open arms of FXhome. :) 
    Same with the Imagineer tuts as previously stated. Axel bridged a few gaps for me but I still have a ways to go.
    My process seems to be- watch a tut- ponder it, try it, ponder it some more and watch the tut again to see if anything clicks yet. Once it does, I explore as much about the feature or process that I can.
    I also watch tuts from both HF and Imagineer as well as supplement what I can with independent youtube tuts.
    I don't like to limit the avenues of learning 'cause one person may not convey a point clearly enough for me while another can. It's really no fault to anyone but the dunce writing this now and his ability to comprehend. :P 
  • MarcDraco
    MarcDraco Posts: 37
    The point I was making about Mary Poplin is she works at "pro" speed; of course no one in their right mind would sit through a solve unless they were having something else demonstrated. That said, there is evidence of post editing - certainly on the sound in at least one tut and I think several others. Hard to be sure without sitting through them again.
    I've trained a lot of people over the years (not in VFX) and one thing I've learned is you work at their speed; not at your own.
    This is where Axel's thoughtful and well constructed demonstrations score so highly in my view; even to the point where he has constructed virtual sets to demonstrate how the camera moves through the scene and what it sees (compared to what Mocha sees).
    To a raw beginner - and we're all beginners once - this is precisely the sort of explanation and demonstration that helps fix the ideas far better than some one babbling on about planar and coplanar surfaces and clicking buttons so fast that the pointed almost becomes a blur. I can still remember what it was like hunt and pecking on my first real Qwerty keyboard; something I did for years in fact until one day I just stopped looking.
    Like Brian I also bought Mocha - I've been wanting it since at least '09 but never had a good enough reason to justify it. The 3D solver was the final "lightbulb" - although the lack of a decent ground plane is a kick in the nuts.
    Martin Brennard (no less) emailed me today:
    "A floor plain is something we definitely plan to implement and we have the feature request logged for implementation.  Unfortunately I can't tell you yet when this will be yet as we are neck-deep in development of V4."

    Which is fair - and went on to mention that Mathias Mohl (mamoworld) has a tool to do just that - for AE, naturally - meaning we're stuck in Hitfilm for the moment - presumably using techniques Mohl alludes to in his tutorial for Orient World.
    I'm guessing we're going to have to hope for scripting to be included in a later version of HFX/U so that Mathias can port his stuff over. 
    I think Stormy's right here too - FXhome doesn't talk over your head; Imagineer has a tough job in this regard since it's got Academy Award winning software which means they are also trying to train industry veterans. Ben Brownleee's tutorials are good too - but unlike Axel, he too is working on the idea of surfaces and AE.
    I think eyes are going to be on Hitfilm because it combines the most common features of BOTH Premier and AE in a package that costs less than either (I think) and that means it could be adopted by a lot of film schools as a first step on the road to more sophisticated tools like Nuke.
    Even Blender has a usable compositor (if you're that way inclined), a 3D solver on top of a mature (if hideously inaccessible interface) 3d modelling and animation studio  - but it's video editing capabilities are limited.
    Having an usable compositor and editor is something that convinced me to add it to my stack and it's become a front-line tool to get things done; crucially without the steep learning curve!