The new Boris FX Silhouette Paint plugin is a cross-platform, cross-host product that offers Mocha-tracked non-destructive repeatable paint for the industry’s most popular VFX applications. Silhouette Paint support includes Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Autodesk Flame, Blackmagic Design Resolve / Fusion, and the Foundry’s Nuke. Silhouette Paint offers 32-bit high dynamic range paint tools for tasks such as matte painting, beauty work, touch-ups, rig removal, and more. Its non-destructive Auto Paint stroke system delivers interactive pressure-sensitive artistic control, while remaining responsive at scale.

The plugin’s depth in tracking makes this plugin very powerful (footage and project from fxphd.com)

Founded in 1995, Boris FX is a developer of VFX, compositing, editing, and workflow tools. In 2014, Boris FX acquired Imagineer Systems, the Academy Award-winning developer of Mocha planar tracking software. In 2016, Boris FX acquired GenArts, the developer of Sapphire, one of the most popular VFX plugin packages. In 2019, Boris FX acquired Academy Award-winning SilhouetteFX and Digital Film Tools for advanced feature film rotoscoping, painting, and effects.

Silhouette Paint plugin combines many of these previously separate products into a powerful new plugin that allows artists to easily add hundreds of paint strokes without worrying about performance issues. Artists can easily track and mask paint effects with built-in Mocha planar motion tracking. Fxguide test drove the Plugin inside the Foundry’s Nuke. Nuke’s own built-in paint/roto node is vector-based, so it can get slow after a few thousand brush strokes. But Silhouette is raster-based. As such it doesn’t slow down even after thousands of brush strokes. The Silhouette Paint plugin is, however, a lite version of the standalone Silhouette tool, so it is missing quite a few useful features, but it has the advantage of being inside your application, so your results are returned immediately to the timeline.

The missing features in the plugin include exporting of tracking and roto data.  Manual tasks such as roto and paint are often outsourced in the post-production process. The Silhouette Paint plug-in does not allow the export of this data the way the stand-alone package does. The company’s solution for this is to offer the plug-in as a cross-platform, cross-host, tool. This is the most expensive option of the three on offer but it allows artists to start a paint session running Silhouette Paint inside say Adobe After Effects and then open the same setup inside a finishing tool such as Nuke, Resolve or Flame. If this option is purchased then all the OCIO or ACES color profiling is maintained. But even so, while the advanced Silhouette roto tools (IK, Weighted Keyframes, etc) are included in Paint, they are only enabled to contain paint work or drive tracking. These tools are just not available to export Roto.

Cloning and tracking

When clean frames do not exist, artists can use clone, stamp, and offset techniques to remove unwanted objects. Silhouette Paint’s interface is designed with onion skinning, advanced offset display, and multiple compare mode options to enable sophisticated cloning and clean plating. It is both easy to use and extremely powerful.

“Silhouette Paint fills an important gap. The world’s most renowned visual effects teams, who have relied on Silhouette’s superior paint and rotoscoping tools as a standalone application, can now access those same tools as a plugin inside the industry’s leading applications,” says Boris Yamnitsky, President and Founder, Boris FX. “This new workflow helps streamline the overall post-production process” he adds.  The company is also hoping that this new plugin will introduce Silhouette to an entirely new generation of YouTube and Instagram content creators, as the plugin’s subscription-based model starts at $195 per year for the Adobe node-locked Silhouette Paint version and $395 for the bundled Silhouette Paint + Mocha Pro Adobe version. The OFX version, Silhouette + Mocha version is $395, and the cross-platform, cross-host, tool fxguide tested is $595.

 

Marco Paolini, Silhouette’s Product Designer, comments “Silhouette Paint empowers artists, editors, colorists, and compositors to crank out simple touch-ups to complex animations using similar paint tools, and often superior, to more costly solutions. Retouching, wire/rig/logo removals, and sophisticated cloning are all now within reach.”

Industry Use

Laika’s Missing Link

“On Missing Link, Silhouette was used on nearly every single shot by our paint and roto team,” says James Pina, Senior Paint Artist, Laika. “Having access to these essential paint and tracking tools as a plugin inside Nuke will be a huge time-saver and will broaden our VFX capabilities.”  For their award-winning stop-motion work, Laika uses a lot of different software packages that are also typical in live-action visual effects work. They use Maya for animation and rigging,  Houdini for effects work and they use Silhouette for a lot of the cosmetic and puppet paint-work. The company also adopted the Foundry’s Nuke at the very beginning of ParaNorman, (along with almost all of the other Foundry products such as Katana).