Andrew Kramer's Orb

RossTrowbridgeRossTrowbridge Website User Posts: 423 Enthusiast

Video Copilot just announced a new plug-in called Orb. It appears to be a very powerful world generator. Unfortunately, it's AE only. Any chance of creating something similar for Hitfilm? Or even approaching him on how to integrate it here?



  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,414 Enthusiast
    edited September 2018

    Looking forward to playing around with this when I get back to town. His planet bodies look awesome.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,650 Ambassador
    edited September 2018


    Chances of getting the current ORB plug-in to work in Hitfilm are probably about 0.0%. Hitfilm and Ae are very different under the hood, and Ae uses a propriety format for plug ins. I note if you were to look at other FX plug-ins - we'll use Mocha and Twixtor as examples - you'll see OpenFX versions compatible with multiple hosts (Vegas, Hitfilm, FCPX, Resolve, etc... ) and a unique After Effects version. 

    Odds of getting Andrew Kramer to port to Hitfilm are small. Greater than 0.0% but tiny. Kramer mostly works as a VFX artist. We note that tutorials and new VideoCopilot product, while always excellent  are few and far between. I think things like Orb, Saber and his VFX Browser started as personal projects to aid his VFX work, released when he has a chance (note SABER came out right after Kramer worked on ep VII). Given the different architecture between Hitfilm and Ae, Kramer would have to learn how to code a new system first..

    FXHOME creating something similar? There are already filters that create 3D geometry and fractals, so it's possible. Depends on where it would fit in a long to-do list. :) 

    Of course Mods don't work for FXHOME  we're users, so I speculate based on public knowledge. It's possible something could be arranged  but have no say. I wouldn't mind being wrong, here. 

    In the meantime it looks like ORB is combining fractal generator (and other procedural generators) and allowing multiple spheres on a single layer, before creating 3D geometry and rendering to an image layer. Sweet stuff!

    Now I link to one of my tutorials on creating planets. Probably a few more steps than ORB (or at least needing more layers to create textures and atmosphere layers)  but there's a lot of good info here, like a neat hack to get day/night maps. 

    Oh, this tutorial was done before Hitfilm added 360-degree Fractal Noise. Using 360-degree fractals eliminates all the seam-patching steps in this tutorial. 

    Only caveat is I'm not certain which version of Hitfilm you're on. The Sphere filter didn't add Illumination controls until Hitfilm 2017, so these techniques don't really work in Hitfilm 4 or earlier. You could grab the current Express  to render planets? 

    I have a couple more space tutorials on that channel - one for spiral galaxies, and another with seven different ways to make starfields. 

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 4,008 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 "Using 360-degree fractals eliminates all the seam-patching steps in this tutorial. "

    Not that I have seen. 360 fractal does generate equirectangular fractals which will wrap a sphere in proper proportions (at towards the poles). Just like in your video, the flat Earth textures in your tutorial look squished at the poles. They look 'correct' when projected/wrapped onto a sphere.

    I've not found any way to make 360 fractal generate seamless textures.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,650 Ambassador

    @NormanPCN, really? Wouldn't the entire point of the 360 fractal be to create a seamless wrap for VR? I may have to double check this myself after date night . 

  • RossTrowbridgeRossTrowbridge Website User Posts: 423 Enthusiast

    I'll have to try your method. I'm up to date with Hitfilm now. I've been looking at Grand Designer Pro, and may still get it for a way go generate planets.

  • DavlonDavlon Website User Posts: 283 Just Starting Out
    edited September 2018


    Is Grand Designer only for use in games?  I'm trying to figure out if there is a Windows version.  It  seems that  it's only available on Steam?

  • RossTrowbridgeRossTrowbridge Website User Posts: 423 Enthusiast

     I kind of get the impression it's a one man band type of company. But it will export to an obj file. The base version is limited to 4k textures and the Pro version goes up to 16k.

    They do have a website. I wish they had a downloadable demo to try out to see if it will work for me.

    Here's his website:

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,414 Enthusiast
    edited September 2018

     Ross - I took VC's Orb for a little test drive. Sweet little plugin. Everything you need at the click of a button..... but I have to say that everything the plugin can do Hitfilm can to.

    Basically he's using multiple comps, adding the Orb plugin (modified CC sphere?) to each texture layer. Watch his tutorial on how the plugin is used. Everything that he does is absolutely do-able in Hitfilm - minus the one button click. One way with HF is you simply would bring in separate instance of a 3d model sphere (requires 3d module) and apply the proper texture (diffuse, spec, bump, normals, etc) and then bring all the individual layers into one final comp.

    OR....@Triem23 workflow tutorial he posted works very well to...+1 on fading the city lights from day to night across the terminator.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,650 Ambassador

    Like @GrayMotion says, there's really nothing in ORB that can't be done in Hitfilm, other than box mapping, rotating UVs, or inverting the Sphere. 

    Inverting the sphere? Yeah, just use Environment Map/360 degree viewer. 

    Otherwise ORB has a nice interface and puts a lot of the tweaking at your fingertips, but for Hitfilm you'd load in a high-res 3D sphere and duplicate that in the media bin to assign different maps to different layers. Diffuse=diffuse, bump=bump, normal=normal. Use Specular in Hitfilm instead of glossy.

    Fresnel works differently in Hitfilm. Technically Fresnel defines how specular reflections pull more of a color as angle of incidence of reflection changes. In Hitfilm these are the three number values which are RGB channels on a scale of 0 to 1. Set Fresnel to 1, 0, 0 and you'll see indirect highlights turn red, for example. Looks like Kramer has cheated the Fresnel a bit with either a customized refraction setting or a modified matte choker to push the Fresnel to the edges. 

    Hitfilm doesn't do alpha on model textures so a Demult or Luma key on a cloud layer would be used to generate transparency.

    Thel day/night matte trick in my tutorial, above, can be done exactly the same way with 3D models as with the Sphere filter.

    So 99% of the power of ORB is in Hitfilm Pro. You just have to poke around a little more to set up the layers. The real key is quality of texture map! 

    I don't know Grand Designer, but I guess it depends on workflow. If you're still rendering passes from EI and using Hitfilm for compositing and final effects  then use any tool you like. If you're moving more towards doing your animation directly in Hitfilm then you have options. 

    The above tutorial was aimed at Express users. Again, for 3D models, the matte trick for separation of day/night maps is the most useful technique to adapt. Otherwise, what, almost half of that tutorial is really on creating texture maps... Hey, create a texture map, render as a still and use with a 3D model! 

    3D model planets will look better than Sphere filter planets. You have a lot more control over your material settings. 

    Finally, Gray never brags enough. Check out this recent shot he did which has a really stunning planet in the BG and some really well dialed in materials on Orville.

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,516 Ambassador

    This is a sweet shot indeed! I love how Greg has dialed in the model textures most excellently. The reflective values are so perfect! The interaction of the sunlight with the ship is wonderful. This is not the greatest quality model, but I think he has pulled as much out of it as a person can.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    I would love for hitfilm to borrow a lot of the orb settings.

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