Paint X Review

There are times when it sure would be nice to have something like basic Photoshop/Pixemlator tools right there inside of Final Cut Pro X. And it would be even more convenient if those tools would have an award winning tracker included. Yeah, that would be really nice. And it is called PaintX from Coremelt. It’s amazing, and I’m going to show you how I used it for the first time (after beta testing) in an actual broadcast production!

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What is PaintX?
Painting directly on an image is easy, but to paint directly onto video that is moving, what? Yeah, with Mocha Tracker built-in, THAT makes it easy. PaintX from Coremelt is an amazing product that I’ve actually already used in my broadcast workflow more than once. And to start with, PaintX seems to be the first in a series of “apps within an app” method of development for FCPX plugins. After it was released, Cinema Grade and mObject 2 both came out with the same platform of an app running inside of FCPX. Hey, it works, and gives us a smooth, seamless workflow! I love it! Both of those product names are linked (or will be linked soon) to my reviews of them.

PaintX has a variety of brushed so cover most any need. These are:
color brush, adjust color, blur, smear, sharpen, warp, clone, noise, heal, and erase tools.

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Once you’ve drawn a path for that tool, you’re not locked in, you can go back and edit it. And since you can group your stroke layers into groups, it’s easy to organize. Especially since you can have multiple tracking. Track one stroke, draw another, track it independent of the first. You can also copy and paste track data from one stroke to the other. And once you have tweaked a brush shape and size for a specific need, you can save it as a preset.

So you can see this is a very powerful, very flexible plugin for Final Cut Pro X. I’ll show you a demo of two fixes I’ve done quite a bit for my broadcast television work already.

The first issue I’ve had to deal with several times, well, I’ll use my friend and coworker Debra as an example of. A promo spot was put together for one of our sales folks, Debra. She’s an older (very attractive) woman, and is very self conscious of the bags under her eyes. I can relate, as I have bags under my eyes. So I whipped out PaintX and fixed it up! I used the Blur brush over the bags, and down over her cheeks to make it consistent. And to keep it looking more realistic, I painted the Blur tool over her forehead. Then I simply tracked each group of drawing layers independently of each other.

After the tracking was done (and it completes very quickly, I should add), I went back and tweaked the strength of the Blur strokes. Very nice to be able to tweak things after you track them. Because once you see it in action, you realize how well the effect works or not.

But I remembered I could copy and paste tracking data. Since it’s all on her face, and her head moves both the same, I deleted the tracking data for her forehead, and tried the copy/paste method. It worked! Like a charm! Mostly! You see, the shape of her forehead is a bit different, and I found I got a SLIGHT better result tracking it separate from her eyes. So, there you have it, copy/paste when it helps, and multiple tracks when that method is called for.

Another nice option is to adjust the area (see the red outline in screen shots below) that is doing the tracking to be larger or smaller. This can help on occasions when defined lines and surfaces are not readily available in the area of the image you’re tracking.

As a side note, there was one instance where the tracker seemed to shift slightly in the wrong direction through just a few frames. No worries, I moved the playhead to those frames, manually drug the tracking squares to the correct positions, done! It registered my manual changes as new keyframes in the tracking data! Very cool!


The second issue we’ve worked with on more than one occasion, is when we pull up these old clips and need to rework them. This second example, the email address was part of the loop playing on the TV screen in the background. It was wrong. So I used a clone brush to cover it up, and placed the correct address over it with the same title template. In this example, no tracking was necessary. But it taught me that the Clone and Heal brushes do very different things. Cone is just that, clones an area offset from the paint stroke. The Heal brush is simply color/textured based, is how I experience it.


Results
Below you’ll see the screen shots of the PaintX interface, and then
click here to see the before/after video clips. I’m very impressed with PaintX, and can’t say enough about it. The award winning Mocha tracker is what really makes it so practical and powerful. This is an accurate tracker! But be warned, use it on original clips, don’t try to track in a compound clip. I’ve had issues with that. Again, these are the clips I’m allowed to share publicly, but I’ve done lots of fixes to video that has actually aired. I don’t tell anyone what I’m doing, and no one notices. That, to me, is the surest proof that PaintX is a tool worthy of having in your editing bag of tricks.

For more information and very important tutorial videos, visit Coremelt’s PaintX page.


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Here you see the tracker for the Blur brush strokes under her eyes and over her cheeks.



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Here you see the tracker for the Clone brush strokes covering the bad email address.