The first question to ask is what are you trying to do. Both can do amazing things, but so can the camera tracker built into AE. If you're integrating 3D CGI elements (making a movie like Transformers) then you'll need a 3D camera tracker that can export data into 3D apps and AE. If you're replacing billboards or labels then a tracker like Mocha is the right tool. If you're replacing actors faces, doing digital makeup, (Lord of the Rings - turning Elija Woods into a 3'6" Froto or the amazing Gollum) then you need something else. If you're doing background replacement, you guessed it, you'll need a different technique.
Given enough time and enough tweaking you can do just about anything you have ever seen in a feature film with the tools built into AE. Given enough money and software and hardware, you can do the same in a lot less time. I did some prety amazing things way back in 2003 when AE first introduced the motion tracker. I put a 3d Robot believably in a hand held shot, added his reflection to building windows, added a shadow, all with a simple point tracker and a bunch of hand work. The 20 second sequence took about 2 weeks. The same job with AE's built in tools and Mocha today would take just a few hours.
Tell us what you're trying to do and we can point you in the right direction. The question "Which tracker is better?" is impossible to answer without knowing what you're trying to do.
Thanks for the reply guys. I think from what I am starting to understand is the 3D tracking option is the direction I am wanting to go. I am wanting to add video footage along with still images that have the illusion the camera is moving into the still image. After watching some tutorials @ video copilot, the Cameratracker plugin seems to do a good job of this. I spent about half the afternoon watching tutorials @ Mocha and didn't see the exact same option, but a lot of great possibilities. I figured I would ask here and see who had some pros and cons on each, but it is starting to look like was mentioned above....both have great abilities, but are two different animals.
Thanks again guys,
I am wanting to add video footage along with still images that have the illusion the camera is moving into the still image. After watching some tutorials @ video copilot, the Cameratracker plugin seems to do a good job of this.
You've got a bit of apples and oranges going here. Tracking software and plug-ins are different that the DigiEffects Camera Mapper (Part of the Depth Cue bundle) tools. The Cameratracker plug-in from The Foundry is a motion tracking product not suited to what you're trying to do.
Let me explain.
Still images that have the illusion that the camera is moving into the picture have nothing to do with tracking. This is often called 'The Kid Stays In The Picture" effect. This is also sometimes 2.5D or Projection Mapping. The best way to do this effect is to carefully choose the still images you want to use, separate foreground, middle ground, and background elements, fill in the holes left in the background with cloning, then line the cutouts up in 3D space and move the camera through the maze. Camera Mapper does a fairly good job of faking this with some types of images but to pull off any really big moves on complex images you'll need to go into Photoshop and do some hand work on the images.
Another good way to do this is the do the same separations but then bring your images into a 3D app and Projection Map the image as a texture on some 3d geometry. You then animate the camera over the 3D geometry. You can do this very easily in Blender (an Open Source - free 3D app) and the results can be far more stunning that you can get in AE.
Let me explain a bit about motion tracking. 3D camera tracking would help you insert 2D images or 3D elements into a moving shot but there must be some camera movement for this to work.
Planer tracking (mocha) works best when there is little camera movement but the subject is moving in the scene. IOW, if you stand in one place and shoot a shot of a kid running across a field, even if you're following the kid, a Planer tracker or point tracker will be the tool of choice to attach elements to the shot so they look like they are actually in the scene.
If you are walking down the street with the camera and the street is fairly empty (there are a lot of things in the scene that don't move like trees, buildings, sidewalks, then a 3D camera tracker is a good tool to use to put things into the shot. If these things also need to be moving (like a cgi character) then you'll also need 3D camera tracking data to put in your 3D app so the movements match.
If you are walking down a crowded sidewalk following a person and you want to add a CGI element or an image to the shot so it looks like it's walking along with the person you'll probably need a combination of the two.
Again, all of these problems can be solved with AE's built in tools. Even the 2.5D effect on still images can be done in AE with nothing more than a copy of your Image and a little masking and maybe some use of AE's clone tool. A 3rd Party Camera Tracker or motion tracer like CameraTracker, Mocha Pro, Syntheyes, Boujou, or any of the host of other trackers available may speed up the process of motion tracking or camera tracking, or match moving, but camera tracking software will not help you with the 2.5D, Projection Mapping, Kid Stays In The Picture effect using still images.
The Camera Mapper plug-in from DigiEffects will help with the 2.5D process and simplify the process for some types of images, but there's no substitute for a bunch of hand work in Photoshop for complex projects. Here's a good tutorial for the AE/Photoshop workflow.
Thanks Rick...I am a graphic designer and have jumped over to AE with video I am shooting. Most of the approach I take is from my experience in Photoshop or Illustrator so the separating of the image is what I was thinking, along with other pieces for the camera to pass by using tracker and image stills.
I think my experience in graphic design helps, but I am sure I go about things in the wrong way....or the LONG way. I knew what I wanted in this music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ru47yYeK8g&feature=plcp) but at the point I grabbed the earth, I manually drew and tracked frame by frame. It was my first attempt at shooting in front of green screen as well as using AE and trap code. I racked up way to many hours in getting close to what I wanted and there are several flaws.
I am making plans for our next video and want to plan ahead and produce it in a more timely manner. I have a few old churches locally that I want to build a scene along with some images that can be included as back drops and camera movement. After watching this Video Copilot tutorial (http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorial/3d_set_extensions/) I am thinking Cameratracker will give me what I want.
I am sure I will jump back in here for more advice on how I should approach the idea that is still in my head once I start pulling in footage along with images.
You guys rock,
I feel like I am getting hands on training with Adobe forums and Red Giant TV and Video Copilot.
In my never too humble opinion, I think that Mocha, which comes with After Effects, is more than capable of doing background replacement. I have not used camera tracker, and I'm sure that it does a respectable job. As long as you plan your shots and don't go too crazy with pans and zooms, Mocha will get you where you need to be in very short order.
Here are a few Tutorials:
Adobe's Mocha Resources (Links to lots of tutorials and other info)
Imagineer Systems Tutorials for Mocha (a bunch of stuff here)
I'm also sure that CameraTracker will be a good fit. One of the nicest features of AE is that there is always about 40 different ways to do the same thing. Experience will let you know which is best for your project. The best way to get experiences to start with the tools that are available before you run out and buy new ones.
And here is a great tutorial on set extension (replacement) using Camera Tracker. This version is the one by The Foundry. It functions almost exactly the same way that AEs Camera Tracker works, with just a few more controls for refining tracks.
And here is another tutorial using AEs Camera Tracker in conjunction with Element. This is a camera tracking situation that it was designed to do.