SynthEyes New Features Summary

We show below a break-down of the new features in each release, so that if you have an older version you can see what upgrading will bring you. We've moved to a support-based system with no major releases, so this listing isn't quite as necessary any more. We show a few major features in each new build so you can get some idea how new features are introduced regularly. Customers can see more complete lists of details by clicking Help/Recent Change List or on the customer-only web site. 

Significant Recent Features

  • Synthia™, the huge new revolutionary SynthEyes Instructible Assistant productivity tool, with natural language text and voice control. Cloud communications facilitate rapid improvement based on users' experiences.
  • 3-D Planar Tracking. A huge new feature set: a new room with 2 panels, a toolbar, new 3-D on-screen graphics, many new camera-view mouse modes, new and modified exporters. (1311)
  • "Notes" in the camera view, for communication between tracking artists and supervisors.
  • Many auto-save and auto-increment enhancements, including File/Save a Copy and File/Save Next Version.
  • AfterEffects CC/CS6 distortion plugins and major new exporter features (1308, 1311)

SynthEyes™ 1407 Versus 1311

  • Synthia, the huge new revolutionary new SynthEyes Instructible Assistant productivity tool, with natural language text and voice control.
  • "Notes" for the camera view, for communicating between tracking artists and supervisors.
  • Many auto-save and auto-increment enhancements, including File/Save a Copy and File/Save Next Version.
  • Lidar reader now has a control panel and various additional controls.
  • Updated to RED SDK 5.0, which supports 6K Dragon R3Ds.
  • Planar trackers can now track the Alpha channel, ie from pre-keyed material, and apply the Key Every setting from the regular tracker control panel.
  • Added illumination color for each light, used in the perspective view. Exported via filmbox FBX.
  • Control-lasso in 3-D viewports to un-lasso, as in camera and perspective windows.
  • Eliminated a number of crashes and minor bugs. Underlying infrastructure made more robust for Mac and Linux (to match Windows).

SynthEyes™ 1311 Versus 1308

  • 3-D Planar Tracking. A huge new feature set: a new room with 2 panels, a toolbar, new 3-D on-screen graphics, many new camera-view mouse modes, new and modified exporters, ~50 pg manual.
  • "Run Now" options for 2- and 3-D After Effects exporters
  • New animated corner-pin exporter for After Effects
  • Texture extraction improvements: best pixel, tilt and distance weighting.
  • Motion blur for the perspective Preview Movie.
  • ASF, MP4, and WMV writing (ie modern codecs) on 64-bit Windows platform
  • Python and Extreme Sizzle scripting features now available to all Pro users
  • (Mac OS X) Quicker stopping and better responsiveness during playback and tracking
  • Alpha channel input from separate files

SynthEyes™ 1308 Versus 2011

Headlines

  • User-interface redesign: function, appearance, and performance
  • Multiple camera views, especially for stereo
  • Phases for nodal solving (not in Intro)
  • New Survey-shot features
  • Corner auto-tracking
  • Rolling shutter compensation in solves
  • New two-track rapid-release system with no major/minor upgrade distinction
  • Separate Intro vs Pro versions, 32- or 64-bit installers for each
  • Special Windows/OS X/Linux cross-platform version of Pro available

User-Interface

  • New 'rooms'-based approach extends existing panel & view system
  • Updated visual appearance throughout
  • Much higher display and hit-test performance with large meshes and lidar datasets.
  • Community Translation Project for user-created translations of the SynthEyes user interface to languages other than English.
  • User-controlled fonts and dialog scaling and other changes for high-DPI displays such as 'Retina,' but more flexible so the user can trade off between usable layout area and control readability. (Not all views support high-DPI yet.)
  • New master selector dropdown shared across views. Drop-down to select active hosting camera/object, sorted into camera/moving-object hierarchy
  • Time-bar at bottom for consistency with other applications
  • User-alterable layout specification language (XML-based). Option for panel on the right, for example.
  • Updated preferences panel with many more user-alterable parameters. Color preferences sorted by category and name.

Solving

  • PHASES for controllable and repeatable node-based solver strategy setup, documentation, and re-use. (Phases not supported in Intro version)
  • New phase-based methods to set up a coordinate system, including Set Horizon or Set Heading, Linearize to any straight line for dolly shots, and easy scene scaling from camera height or distance to tracker.
  • Novel new phase-based techniques for setting relative scale of shots with moving cameras AND moving objects.
  • New phase view and panel, graph editor interface, and Sizzle scripting interface. Phase configuration copy/paste, open/save, and a user phase library.
  • New solver output view allows solver messages to be viewed at any time, even after the solver dialog box is closed.
  • Rolling-shutter compensation produces an idealized solve for a non-rolling camera, for use with renderers that simulate rolling shutter.
  • Multiple-export system can write several different output files in a single step.

Tracking

  • New corner detector in the auto tracker, especially tailored for man-made scenes. Advanced algorithm emphasizes non-local corners, eg on buildings etc, where image pixels in that area may be unhelpful. New display modes and options for "Add Many" to support corners.
  • Enhanced "Add Many" to produce uniform distributions of new trackers—especially helpful when creating meshes from trackers.
  • Set the supervised tracker type with a new flyout selector.
  • A tracker interior view can now pop up at the cursor location while you drag a tracker in the camera view (user-controlled size).
  • Additional controls on the Features panel to make it easy to display and 'peel' blip trails that meet specific lifetime criteria.
  • Enhancement to auto-tracker spot detection to reduce some low-probability dropouts

Other

  • Survey shot handling: IFL creator accommodates different image sizes, tracking tweaks for fast single-frame placement, solver handles unordered frames.
  • Filmbox FBX, AutoCAD DXF, PhotoScan exporters
  • AfterEffects distortion plugins for AE CC/CS6. Many new exporter options including tracker layer sorting, facing directions, relative placement, etc.
  • Photoshop PSD and Lidar XYZ file readers (including per-vertex color)
  • New and improved code for reading additional movie file formats and to improve performance.
  • Advanced Disk Cache subsystem, especially for SSD and RAID systems (Pro only)
  • Match-frames implementation changed (still discouraged!)
  • New controls added for display of blip trails, trail type, and minimum trail length onto the feature panel, tooltip showing length of blip trail, altogether making it easier to select high-quality blip trails to peel
  • Python API/SDK available at additional charge for enterprise customers. Contact sales for details
  • Floating licenses now available through the online store for enterprise customers.
  • Option for autoincrementing save-file name. Important Note: auto-save is now on by default (controlled via preferences).
  • Left-over-Right stereo display in perspective views, for making Preview Movies.
  • Remove-object deletes meshes, trackers, moving objects without additional steps
  • Reversed spline-list order to match typical conventions, ie front at top of list
  • User scripts now replace system scripts of the same name, though they get marked with two asterisks. (User scripts marked with one asterisk.) This simplifies script management without having to modify the SynthEyes' operating-system-protected script directory.
  • One algorithm of stereo solving no longer complains if distortion is enabled (still preferable to remove distortion during rectification).
  • 3-D panel improvements when multiple meshes are selected

SynthEyes™ 2011 Versus 2008+1

Major Features

  • Texture-extraction system creates new low-noise textures and panoramic backdrops from image sequences
  • Add-a-card operation adds a card aligned with enclosed trackers, with automatic outlier elimination
  • Lens Distortion Grid Analysis and Calibration Tool generates high-order calibration including fisheye
  • SimulTrack window monitors multiple trackers and/or multiple frames on them simultaneously
  • Sophisticated automatic coordinate system setup engine analyzes scene structure to create an initial placement and integrates smoothly with manual adjustment tools as needed
  • Automatic key generation and automatic smoothing after key adjustment for new supervised-tracking workflows
  • Offset channels and cloning for trackers to aid creating trackers for fine mesh details and in problematic locations
  • Overall Distance constraint for smoother and more controllable solves, especially for object and other low-perspective solves
  • Controllable post-solve filtering via a new control panel
  • Projection screens with chroma or alpha key in the perspective view
  • New outlined-solid and cartoon wireframe shading modes in the camera & perspective views

Trackers and Tracking

  • Radar display in the camera view for visualizing tracker errors
  • Snapping for symmetric and spot trackers
  • Search-from-solved option uses tracker's 3-D location as the search location, creating new tracking workflows once shots are solved, including for stereo shots
  • Pan-to-follow in the perspective window
  • Tracker appearance options: dot-always, dot-only modes, with separate enables for the 3D and perspective views
  • Tracker names shown in camera/3D/perspective views: all, selected, supervised with enables
  • Marker shown on key frames in the camera view when a supervised tracker is selected
  • Stay-alive preference for number of frames before a lost/disabled tracker's search box is hidden
  • Camera view automatically shows per-frame markers on tracker trails when the view is zoomed in
  • Script to color trackers based on RMS error using a secondary color swatch; ability to switch between primary and secondary swatches
  • Batch "Rename selected trackers" script
  • New intermediate-sharpness filtering option for the preprocessor, supervised tracking, and texture extraction
  • Crosshair for 2D-only trackers being drawn in perspective view
  • Reduced size, increased visibility for the coordinate axis indicating trackers with locks
  • "Z-drop lock" menu item for quicker gross tracker repositioning

Stereo & Motion Capture

  • New perspective-view mode to quickly create stereo supervised-tracker pairs, including a "C"-key accelerator in the perspective view, as in the camera view
  • Animated Mesh Vertex export via Motion Designer MDD file for single and multi-camera mocap and stereo
  • Script to project 2D tracker locations onto a mesh, for creating facial animation with a rigid head model from a single-camera shoot
  • Interlaced and Luma-only display modes for stereo viewing
  • Zero-weighted-tracker solving for stereo pairs
  • Mocap tracker solving sensitive to overall camera weights, so a main camera view can be made to have super-accurate results at the expense of the rest
  • Control-HOME key centers camera view in available space, to match the perspective view layout for stereo and motion capture viewport configurations

Set Reconstruction

  • Assemble-mesh mode for quick controlled mesh building
  • "Align mesh with links" dialog for aligning meshes to trackers, or the entire scene to a mesh
  • Perspective window's Align-grid takes any number of vertices or trackers, and ignores outliers
  • Quick 3-tracker mesh alignment and sizing mode, for sizing primitives to trackers when vertices do not match exactly
  • "Punch In" to insert trackers into an existing mesh
  • Linking of tracker mesh vertices to original trackers, so vertices can be updated if the solve is updated
  • Improved standard mesh primitive generators (cube, sphere, etc) with UV texture coordinates and the ability to change the number of segments at any time
  • Texture-coordinate cropping tool to enhance texture map utilization
  • One-click camera-mapped texture-coordinate assignment menu item
  • "Far meshes" allow reasonably-sized meshes to hold distant backdrops

Texture Extraction

  • Mesh/mesh and spline/mesh blocking for garbage-matting
  • Texture alpha-channel painting toolset
  • Automatic alpha-channel creation tool

Perspective View

  • Expanded navigation options, with 3 ways to dolly/orbit/etc
  • Textured mesh display, including alpha and alpha only, and hide the indication that a mesh is selected
  • Configurable overlaid toolbars in the perspective window
  • "Frame on Selected" for quick re-positioning
  • Horizon line in perspective window
  • 2-D Pan/zoom in perspective window (in addition to 3D)
  • Floating perspective window(s)
  • Handy "scrub" mode added
  • Many drawing improvements regarding overlapping selected and unselected objects, edge visibility, backfaces

Graph Editor

  • Camera and object paths now have separate linear/spline controls for each axis of translation
  • Edit/Copy, Cut, Paste functionality for keys
  • Distance constraint value and current value display
  • Sort trackers by total lifetime
  • View/Group-by-color option to keep groups of trackers together
  • Camera and object colors shown and changable
  • Meshes now appear for their texture enable track. The selection, show, and color icons are active there also, which can be handy

User Interface

  • Focus stays within a text edit until you hit return with no change
  • Support for selecting multiple meshes simultaneously
  • Shift-drag to select additional trackers in camera view, 3D view as in the perspective view. Shift-click to toggle tracker selection in the 3-D viewports.
  • Column widths can be changes in the constrained-points view
  • Scripts can be started using keyboard accelerators
  • Polygon vs rectangular selects
  • Checklines now are colored for easier understanding of a setup
  • You can now set up a keyboard accelerator for "Custom Layout"
  • The swatch on the 3D panel can change the color of camera, objects, trackers also
  • Viewport autozoom looks at entire camera/object path, not just current time

Import/Export

  • RED R3D file reading
  • Full-feature export to AfterEffects using Javascript, supports textured Cards, moving objects, SynthEyes-equivalent undistort and redistort layer effects inside AfterEffects, and automated background setup for powerful workflow.
  • Full-feature Blender 2.57+ import
  • Native Cinema 4D export using python, supports textured cards, moving objects, and automated background setup.
  • COLLADA export as a way to export new features, especially textures — readability by other packages currently a work-in-progress!
  • Animated Mesh Vertex export via Motion Designer MDD file for single and multi-camera mocap and stereo
  • 32-bit server to read Quicktimes from 64-bit Windows SynthEyes. (Apple provides a similar server for 64-bit OS X SynthEyes.)
  • Added AVI file writing for PC version, 32 and 64-bit, subject to limited third-party codec availability (use xvid?)
  • OBJ-reader performance increased greatly for large meshes, 12x for example, reads texture-map file names, and suppresses hidden edges on quads
  • OBJ-writer outputs header information, a texture map name, and handles very large meshes
  • BMP read/write of alpha channels and non-standard image sizes improved
  • Support for reading filled 12-bit/channel DPX (eg from Smoke).

Sizzle

  • Access to primary view control flags and secondary tracker appearance
  • Access to mesh vertex/tracker links, making possible (among other things) animated mesh export scripts
  • Access to the graph editor clipboard via XML node in Scene
  • 3D Intersect functions from a ray or tracker onto a mesh
  • User-created-attributes capability for shots, cameras/objects, trackers, meshes, lights, and splines
  • Scripts folder changable via Folder Presets portion of Preferences
  • Scene.SetFrame(frm), Tracker.AvgImgColor(), Tracker.Clone() calls
  • "Extreme scripting" premium licensing for some new and existing workflow-automation Sizzle functions (marked with *)
  • Listener to accept full UI and SNI file manipulations from a separate app via TCP/IP socket*
  • ReadOBJ capability in Sizzle*
  • Scene.Solve() call*

SynthEyes™ 2008+1 Versus 2008

3-D Stereo Movies

  • Stereo auto-tracking and cross-linking (or supervised)
  • Stereo solving with camera/camera constraints, including a new seeding mode. Also, stereo moving-object shots and nodal "all-far" stereo shots
  • Image preprocessor "adjust" channels can be used without stabilization, ie to geometrically conform the two images
  • Mirror imaging in image preprocessor (for mirror camera rigs)
  • Anaglyph stereo display in perspective view (including for 3-D viewing of non-stereo shots)

Lens Distortion

  • New tools to simplify lens-distortion workflows
  • Batch rendering of sequences
  • Cubic distortion support in image preprocessor, for camcorders at wider settings
  • Checkline support in the image preprocessor window
  • Lens distortion presets allow complex distortions (fisheye) or high-order manufacturer-supplied lab measurements

Image Preprocessor Enhancements

  • Floating-point "clear channel" through image pre-processor so distortion and stereo manipulations to images can be performed at highest quality. (DPX, EXR, TIFF)
  • Selectable processing (8I/16I/32F) and RAM cache formats (8I/16I/16H/32F). For example, 32F floating-point processing for speed and accuracy, with 16H half-floating-point storage to save space.
  • 3D Color Look-up tables (LUTs) plus scripts to generate them (.3dl .cube .csp)
  • Separate animated exposure channel added to image preprocessor
  • Multi-threaded preview image processing for faster experimentation.

User Interface & Scripting

  • Handy free-floating toolbars and manager
  • Detachable free-floating script user-interfaces
  • New perspective view options: Freeze-on-frame and display only trackers for the image being shown. Mouse-wheel now trucks, rather than changing FOV.
  • Mesh opacity control in perspective and OpenGL camera views.
  • Expanded script access to the scene, especially image preparation system
  • Start-up and Post-solve script
  • XML read/manipulate/write and HTTP Get/Post for workflow integration
  • "Read one frame at a time" preference to avoid saturating networks
  • Tracker weight can be animated
  • Selectable key types for level and ROI controls
  • Adjustable nudge size

SynthEyes™ 2008 Versus 2007½

Tracking and Solving

  • Smarter, more robust, and faster solving by detecting and preventing certain common problems.
  • Tracker cleanup wizard to quickly locate problematic trackers and frames.
  • Fine-tuner re-tracks auto-trackers with supervised tracking algorithm for enhanced tracking accuracy.
  • Easy handling of shots mixing translational and nodal (tripod) sections.
  • Flexible hard and soft locking of camera path and field of view.
  • New coordinate system setup capabilities based on camera placement.
  • New methods to select the correct coordinate system when several are possible.
  • Multiple image resampling modes for sharper images while stabilizing, but also for supervised tracking.
  • High-pass filtering option for shots with explosions and other varying lighting.
  • New multi-threading for supervised tracking, fine-tuning, ZWT updates, and coordinate system preliminaries for more speed.
  • New special optimization throughout to run efficiently on 8-core processors.

User Interface

  • MAC OS X Users: new OpenGL versions of camera view and 3-D views deliver greatly enhanced frame update rates—comparable to Windows version.
  • New feature-rich graph and track editor for enhanced monitoring and cleanup.
  • Squished-track feature gives an overview of tracker lifetimes throughout an entire shot.
  • User interface improvements including a more flexible viewport system.
  • Multiple control panels can now be open simultaneously like palettes.
  • Playbar can be moved to the main toolbar or floated independently.
  • Time bar, play bar, and panels can be hidden for lean RAM playback.
  • Safe area displays.
  • Larger and prettier icons, wider tracker panel option for high-resolution displays.
  • Better performance with heavy meshes using the new OpenGL views (PC & Mac).
  • Improvements for easier tracker placement onto meshes in perspective view.
  • Highly visible tracker finder.
  • Better cursors, particularly enabling context-sensitive cursors on Mac OS X.

Workflow

  • File information dialog for comments and image and mesh version tracking.
  • New scripting features for special functions and workflow integration.
  • MAC: adds JPEG, PNG, TIFF 24b RGB output capability.
  • Write roto-spline masks and green-screen keys to disk to assist compositing.

SynthEyes™ 2007½ Versus 2007

  • Gigantic new stabilization system built into image preparation, keying off SynthEyes™ 3-D tracking for high performance, robustness, and accuracy. Geometric correctness permits stabilization without compromising image geometry. Pegs features or handles traveling shots. Create motion to add life to stabilized shots. Re-frame shots. Change aspect and resolution.
  • Single-frame 3-D alignment using lines, for nodal tripod shots and lock-offs.
  • Add-many feature rapidly creates many additional trackers after an initial solve, perfect for creating dense tracker-based meshes.
  • “Coalesce” engine to find and combine multiple trackers at the same location in different parts of a shot. Especially handy for green screen.
  • Camera view can float to a second monitor.
  • Multithreaded image prefetch and read-ahead to optimize performance, especially with multiple cores and RAID drives.
  • Per-tracker color, show/hide trackers. Select all trackers with the same color.
  • More animated settings in the image preprocessor, including lens distortion for handling zoom shots with distortion.
  • Speed and accuracy enhancements when solving particularly bad shots
  • Customizable alert sound for the completion of tracking and solving.
  • Lens distortion grid shown in lens panel.
  • New Vue 6 exporter. Quick access for the last 3 export types.
  • Many UI improvements, including enhanced key equivalents, click-on/click-off mouse mode, improved perspective view navigation and clipping settings. 
  • Around 50 decent improvements in all.

SynthEyes 2007 Edition Versus 2006½

  • Smarter and more robust auto-tracking for more first-pass success.
    • Additional image motion analysis
    • More selective feature detection (even faster too!)
    • Better distribution of trackers throughout images and sequence
    • Works harder to fulfill minimum coverage requirements
    • Automatic correction of small glitches
  • Advanced multithreading in tracking and solving to use multiple cores and processors such as Core Duo.
  • Faster basic solving engine
  • Green-screen masking capability: look for trackers only in a blue-/green-screen area, so that actors don’t have to be roto-ed out or a mask generated before tracking
  • 3-D Curve tracking and solving capability. You can find the 3-D shape of a curve, even if it has no point features
  • Right-click menus for camera view and 3-D view
  • Light position calculation based on reflection from a mesh
  • Usercan create their own shot setup presets
  • Bentley Microstation and Mistika exporters
  • Track repair feature from within tracker graph view.
  • Invert-perspective script for balky low-perspective object tracks
  • Can automatically refine after coordinate system setup using *3 button.
  • When solving, shows field of view and rms error in horizontal pixels
  • Back-plate widths can be shown in inches or mm.
  • Drag handles for cameras, objects, lights, extra points in 3-D view
  • Moving a camera in “Whole” mode moves attached moving objects also
  • Trackerprediction starts after 2, not 3, frames, for quicker supervised tracking
  • Trackerscan be moved to other shots easily (particularly for File/Merge)
  • When changing out of “tripod” mode, asks if Far status of trackers should be cleared, to eliminate a common “gotcha.”
  • Expand-to-fill option for 3-D view
  • Object-creation right-click submenu added for Perspective window
  • Progress bar for solving dialog
  • And more...

NOTE: SynthEyes 2007 requires a processor with SSE2, such as a Pentium 4, Athlon 64, Opteron, Core Duo, etc. Older Pentium 3 processors that ran earlier versions can not run the new version, sorry.

SynthEyes 2006½ Edition Versus 2006

  • Quick coordinate system setup. Click one button, then three trackers.
  • Zero-weighted trackers (ZWTs). Good for marginal features that you don't want to affect the camera path. Even better, once you have an initial solve, ZWT's 3-D positions can be calculated as you track for rapid feedback.
  • Peg trackers to exact coordinates. Force trackers exactly to measured coordinates, to accommodate shots such as a long highway track with occasional GPS fixes.
  • Import tracker paths to rotoscope control points. Quickly set up garbage or object masks before automatic tracking, even for jittery shots.
  • Multiple image preparation setups. Switch back and forth between multiple setups for object-tracking shots or different regions of the image. Accelerate workflow, fitting larger shots in RAM and enhancing visibility.
  • Image preprocessor blur. Pssst: sometimes fuzzier images track quicker and more accurately! Remove compression artifacts and film grain.
  • Quick preprocessor disable.
  • Combine multiple trackers.
  • Select trackers based on their characteristics (solved, unlocked, etc)
  • Improved Pan-to-Follow. Easier fine tuning of trackers taking into account a broad surrounding area.
  • About 50 more!

SynthEyes 2006 Edition Versus 2004

  • Perspective Window — 
    • Navigate the 3-D scene independent of the solved camera.
    • Object-manipulation handles.
    • Place seed points on imported mesh surfaces or vertices to aid tough object tracks.
    • Front-projection onto meshes
    • Shadow-casting onto the ground plane or any mesh(es)
    • Create preview movies for real-time playback in the Quicktime Player, including antialiasing.
    • Depth map outputs
  • Motion Capture — for faces or whole bodies, using multiple cameras.
  • Mesh-building commands to turn a collection of trackers into an exportable 3-D mesh
  • Flexible image preprocessing engine for easier tracking and RAM storage of large film-resolution shots.
    • Traditional hue/saturation and animated level adjustments
    • Animated Region of Interest
    • R/G/B channel selection and inversion
    • Lens distortion removal
    • Optic axis re-centering
    • DeRez to maximize RAM cache
    • Save processed image sequence to disk (QT MOV, OpenEXR, BMP, TGA, SGI. PC version can also write PNG)
    • Reapply lens distortion and cropping for total lens distortion workflow
  • Tracking Improvements
    • New tracking mode for hand-held (jittery) shots
    • Easy tracker direction changes
    • Tracker size and search handles
    • Faster re-placement of trackers after extended loss of track
    • Camera view can automatically pan to follow trackers
    • Many new keyboard accelerators, for mostly-mouse-free tracking if desired
    • Exportable flag per tracker
  • Object and tracker weighting
  • Skip-frame track for auto-tracking and solving.
  • Rotosplines can be named, animated on and off, or hidden. 
  • Scripting
    • Sizzle input and tool scripting capability
    • Self-assembling input dialogs to control scripts
    • More access for Sizzle scripts to scene elements
    • Vector and transform operations in Sizzle
  • Customer Care Center with automatic downloads of the latest builds, new feature suggestion system, messaging from the factory.
  • Dark-colored user interface option.