Fractal Noise Animation

CalebK Posts: 422 Just Starting Out*
So i have been trying to create a forcefield in Hitfilm.  my base idea is that I have a plain with fractal noise on it with a circular mask enlarging.  Then i apply it with the sphere effect.  I can get the look i am looking for my big issue is 2 things.
1.  How can i color it? None of the color effects seem to work! All that i can do is the color wheels and i dont really understand that effect.
2.  The fractal noise is completely still is their a way to make it animate? I dont mean like with the clouds generator but i just want the position to stay stationary with the fractal changing.  Basically so i can make it look abit like smoke.
Anyone have any ideas?


  • NullUnit
    NullUnit Posts: 779 Just Starting Out
    You can color it by adding one of the gradients, like the circle one or 4 color one. Or you could put a colored plane over it and set that planes mode to screen.
    You can definitely animate fractal noise, but I'm not in front of HF right now. I forget what settings are good to animate to get motion...
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    1. I am surprised the other color effects aren't working for you as I've used other grading effects on fractal noise. Remember you can change the color of the fractal noise in the fractal noise effect, itself.
    2. You want it to "evolve" and can't find that control, right? Keyframe the "seed" value, but with small changes, like having the seed go from 0 to 1 over ten seconds... Or 0 to 10.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    This tutorial covers both the topics you ask about extensively.  How to animate fractal noise, and how to colorize fractal-based effects:
    Of course, there are also color controls built into the fractal noise effect, under Appearance.
  • CalebK
    CalebK Posts: 422 Just Starting Out*
    WOW silly me! I cant believe i forgot about that. Especially that fractal noise has a built in color panel.  Wow!  This is why they invented the face palm.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    edited July 2014
    You want to talk facepalm? Remember the time I took three paragraphs explaining to you how to build a Difference Key from scratch and Axel comes along with "or, just use the built-in Difference Key!" Man, I felt dumb.
    Speaking of the star tutorial. You know that part where Simon Polar Warps his corona? Try using Polar Warp on your fractal noise before you add the Sphere effect, but use a "Polar to Rectangular" warp. This will remap the layer in such a way that what was the "center" of your noise becomes a pole on the sphere. It should make it wrap smoother, as well.
  • CalebK
    CalebK Posts: 422 Just Starting Out*
    Ok! I have a bit of a follow up.  I have successfully created an animation that I like!  However my new issue is appearance. I cant seem to get the shield to be transparent yet feeling like it has matter.  I am using add on the same grade that i am adding the sphere effect on.
    I have also found that adding a 3d plane under the grade amazingly allows the shield to look like it is stopping at the ground!
    Also i find fractal noise to be a llitle cheesy and like over thought out, like the fully colored areas are.... idk how to explain it.  Also when mapped onto a shield having areas be completely transparent looks quite stupid, i need a good way to fill those without making everything over washed out.

    Also i am having an issue with making it blend in nicely so any compositing tips you have for me would be great! What effects am i missing?  I have a look in mind but it is allot more cleaner smoother and visible than this current force field.
    Also what grading filter would be good to darken the background so that a light and transparent effect looks like it fits?  How can i darken it without loosing contrast and such? What filters should I use?
    Here a shot of what it looks like
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    edited August 2014
    A few thoughts:
    Fractal Noise: Remember that the fractal noise has a lot of controls--you can change the scale, for example for more or less detail. Change the noise type from Clouds to Swirl. Change the interpolation mode from Bicubic to Linear...Also remember that you can change the colors of the noise--you don't have to have a cyan and a transparent--you could have a cyan and a darker blue that's, say, 25% transparent. Based on your screenshot, I'd trying playing around with the noise to get a far smaller and more detailed set of "Blobs."
    Remember that you don't HAVE to use fractal noise as your texture, or and that you can use other filters to alter the shape of the noise, or that you can use more than one noise.
    Here's a quick experiment: Try making a composite shot. Set up a fractal noise, and keyframe it's seed value. Make it's colors an almost-white and almost-black. Duplicate it. Change the seed values of the second copy and tweak a couple of other values. Now set the top fractal noise layer to "Difference" blend mode---you should instantly see a more complicated pattern than the single noise, since down the two noises are interacting. Create a grade layer on top of that and add  levels histogram to this grade layer and adjust the sliders so you've got a full luma range. On this same grade layer add a "Color Balance" effect. On the Color Balance effect make the Green and Blue of SHADOWS -100, and dial Red up to +100. Change the MIDTONES to Red/Green -100 and Blue +100. Change the HIGHLIGHTS to Red/Blue -100 and Green to +100. By now you should have blobs that are far more detailed than your original noise and the colors should be shimmering a lot. This will be very ugly and you won't want to use it as a shield, but see how you can combine layers and effects to get things you wouldn't get from a single noise layer? Try making THREE fractal noise planes with different animated seeds and other variations. Make one pure red/black, another pure blue/black and the third pure green/black. Set all these fractals to ADD blend modes. Kill the grade. See what that gets you--it should be a rainbow shimmer. Again, it will be ugly--these are extreme examples. As long as we have three fractal noises, put a bulge on each fractal--make one bulge a huge bulge out (bulge 8 or something), make a different bulge a big bulge IN (bulge value like -8) See how distorting each of the fractal layers changes the overall shape! (BTW, I really did this myself as I was typing.)
    On top of the fractals I could use colored radio waves (try attaching the center of radio waves to a point, then move the point as the rings spawn) or lightning or a bunch of other filters to add details. Use displacement to break up the shapes. Add noise. Anything.
    Remember, Hitfilm is a COMPOSITOR, and a composite is when you put several things together to make one thing. The best looking effects are very rarely generated by a single effect. So move your shield texture to an embedded composite, and sphereize the embedded comp in the main comp.
    When you spherize the fractal, see what happens if you change the source layer from a surface texture to an environment map.
    Compositing tips: Add or Screen would normally be used to composite luminous objects over a bacground. Soft or Had light might work as well. Remember you can add glows or blurs on top of the sphere layer to break that up a bit.
    For grading filters, remember that it's technically impossible to darken a scene without losing contrast--if you darken a scene by, say 20% you've reduced the total number of luma values by 20% which limits to total contrast because you're no longer using the full value range. That said, try Levels Histogram--lower the white point and try moving the gamma point around. That might get you where you want to be. (I WISH Hitfilm had Color Curves. That's the effect I'd tell you to use in any other software.) Or, you can try the Brightness/Contrast filter since, you know, that adjusts brightness and contrast. :-)
    Keep playing, buddy. A lot of the best visual effects came around by an artist thinking "I wonder what it would look like if...."
    Finally--did you ever download the "Just the Photons" project from my Tutorials/Tests thread? (Man, I need to finish my tutorials....)
    Take a look at the "shield impacts" comp in that project--I was going for a different look (my shield was "flat"), but I made that with some lightning (keyframed "Start Growth") a Lens Flare, some Blur and a Bulge--I just tweaked the keyframes on that so it dissolved away more slowly and changed the bulge a bit, moved that as an embedded composite to a new comp shot and sphereized that. It looked pretty cool! But that's a demo of making shields not using fractal noise. If you've seen the Alien Saucer animations I've been putting up, the three shots where a saucer is hit have shields made from instances of Radio Waves for texture---I just made one orange radio wave, one green radio wave and keyframed the center points of each wave to move a bit., then but a sphere effect on the embedded texture source and used Add blend to comp the shield over the saucer. It's not the look I think you're going for, but, for those shots that gave me a nice set of ripples from bullet impacts
    I'm gonna leave here the Trek shot and one of the saucer shots for reference--again, neither of these are probably the look you want, but it's still demoing different ways to approach shields.
  • CalebK
    CalebK Posts: 422 Just Starting Out*
    I'm at programming camp again but gosh you just gave me a million toys to play with! I can't wait!
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    That's what it's about! I spent my night building a 3D slideshow template and another lower third template, just for funsies.
  • RossTrowbridge
    RossTrowbridge Posts: 399 Enthusiast
    Triem's shield hits are fantastic. I did an animation a while back where i needed shield hits and I took a different route. I used a muzzle flash. I tweaked the settings to get the shape and color I wanted. Another nice thing about the muzzle flash is that it's 3D, so you can rotate it to get any perspective view you need.
    Here's the link to a test video I did with this technique...
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    edited August 2014
    Good trick, Ross! And Phil Wesson's latest shows how you can tweak a muzzle flash into a full-on beam weapon!
    (Phil's tutorial)
  • Daniloth
    Daniloth Posts: 52 Enthusiast
    That is a cool trick Ross.  Filing things away into my 'to play with later' bin..
    Caleb, have you also added some displacement to your shield/forcefield?  That should help any transparent areas feel like there's something actively there.  Anyway, just a thought.
  • CalebK
    CalebK Posts: 422 Just Starting Out*
    Yah I plan to work with displacment. I can never seem to get smooth displacmemts, hopefully my luck will Change
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,280 Power User
    Caleb, displacement is similar to parallax, in that you're using a greyscale control map to distort footage. Black is no distortion, white is maximum distortion. Usually it's a good thing to blur whatever layer you're using as a displacement source before applying the distortion. if you have a hard white edge next to a hard black edge in your displacement map, you're going to get ugly edges.
    In fact--let me stress something. A matte, a key, a mask and a map all boil down to the exact same thing. Ultimately you are using a greyscale channel as a holder for a numerical data modifer from none (black) to white (full).
    In the case of a mask or matte you can see this for yourself by putting a mask on a white plane. The white you see is fully opaque. Black is fully transparent. If you feather the white mask you'll see grey values for partially transparent areas.
    A KEY is basically the same thing--you're telling the computer to generate a grey map based on the color range you are telling it to exclude---if you check "show mask" in a key effect you see... a greyscale image.
    Color bitmaps are basically combining grey images. One grey image represent the red, one the blue, one the gree, but they're still monochromatic channels. Grey.
    Look at control maps for parallax, displacement and atomic particles. Again, it's a black-white image where black is "off" and white is "full."
    Once you have your EUREKA moment and really understand that concept in your hindbrain, you're going to find creating your VFX so much easier. :-)
  • JazzyLevFilms
    JazzyLevFilms Posts: 21 Just Starting Out*

    Check out this tutorial on how to make a Force Field. It's by a small YouTube channel called Echo Productions, and I'm proud to say I'm their most loyal subscriber!