Visual effects software developer The Foundry has developed a series of plug-ins that will help with the post production of stereoscopic 3D content.

The Ocula sparks, which were previewed at NAB 2008, automatically replicate key processes on left and right channels and help to improve the final viewing experience by providing tools that help artists to polish and refine 3D-stereo material.

The Ocula tools are based on brand new disparity-mapping algorithms, created by The Foundry's Research and Development team.

Disparity maps track and correlate the differences in positional space and movement between corresponding pixels in the left and right cameras, and then deliver pixel-level control over images.

Knowing where disparities occur, Ocula tools apply corrections by warping, stretching and squeezing only those areas of an image that require treatment. Image manipulation using disparity maps is different to the X, Y or Z-axis shifting of images, where only whole image planes are being shifted.

Ocula plug-ins allow artists to apply a multitude of adjustments to stereo image pairs. All corrections can be made to the left and right eye channels either together or separately, and the results of these corrections ultimately help to minimise or eliminate discomfort from the 3D viewing experience.

A key feature of Ocula plug-ins is the dramatic reduction in the amount of manual labour required when artists undertake rotoscoping work, paint effects or other operations dependent on image locality. Many position-dependent image manipulations can now be applied to just one eye with paint strokes, keyframed roto masks, and the like being automatically generated for the other eye, substantially improving productivity.

Dr Bill Collis, chief executive at The Foundry, said. “Ocula plug-ins will ultimately help artists to refine footage to new levels. This means fewer headaches in post, and fewer headaches at the cinema.”

Nuke 5 from Foundry has an embedded 3D stereoscopic workflow, where left and right eye channels can be manipulated separately or together. Ocula plug-ins will be available for the next point release of Nuke, version 5.1, expected to be July 2008.

The Foundry which has its HQ in London, makes visual effects and image processing technologies for motion picture and video post production.