[TUTORIAL] How to create Star Wars SPACE BATTLE VFX

Learn how to create an epic Star Wars-inspired space battle scene featuring The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship! Zach takes you through the whole process from importing your 3D models, adding animations, creating laser blasts that interact with the models, and adding the final grade to bring the whole scene together!



  • iamkhanproductions
    iamkhanproductions Posts: 596 Enthusiast

    awesome, finally!..

  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Posts: 3,160 Expert

    This is a really good tutorial.

  • premiere_studios
    premiere_studios Posts: 131 Enthusiast

    I have been waiting for this tutorial since I saw Rise of the Dark Side back in 2019!!!!!

  • cianoh
    cianoh Posts: 22 Just Starting Out*

    Awesome tutorial, thanks a million!

  • ellis_is_great
    ellis_is_great Posts: 50 Enthusiast

    This one was great! I too have been waiting for this since I saw the Rise of the Darkside trailer.

    Using the particle sim for lasers was genius. I always hated animating individual lasers.

    Curious, what's wrong with the built-in lens dirt textures? I always see you guys saying to use using image textures in nearly every tutorial that uses the dirt.

  • philipwesson
    philipwesson Posts: 490 Staff

    I need to copy @zach_alan 's brain into my own. This tutorial helped me make the highest quality space scene I've done to date.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User
    edited May 2021

    @ellis_is_great @philipwesson oddly, the second shot I did ever in Hitfilm used the particle sim to create weapons fire. It's one of my favorite tricks.

    If you take a look at this tutorial, in the back half, not only do I rig a weapon to a particle sim, I'll show you how to set up a mobile emitter rig and deflector so that a weapon that actually hits a target can trigger an explosion or shield hit animation. During the battle scene at the top the photons are "fire and forget." The ones that hit their target weren't guided to hit their target, they just actually hit the target!

    Particle weapons can be expanded, BTW. If using the particle sim to create an entire fleet of ships, you can sync up and offset a second emitter to get the entire fleet to fire barrages. It's a complex enough technique to deserve a tutorial, not a long write up here, but the basic trick is the weapons emitter spawns mobile emitters aligned with each particle ship, then the mobile emitters spawn the weapon particles. Like this old HF3test

    And this HF4 test.

    Yeah, the particle sim in Hitfilm can do Fleet Battles!

    With the Lens Dirt filter, there IS a procedural texture built in, but it's pretty distinctive. All the dirt grains end up about the same size and color. After awhile you'll just see when the built-in texture is used, because it has a "Hitfilm Lens Dirt Look." Using different (raster) maps changes the look of the filter, AND the map can be customized to only have dirt on certain areas of the screen. If I only want dirt in the corners I can't really control that with the procedural texture. Finally, by using a second layer as a map I can animate the map. Say my camera is flying through a nebula, comet or asteroid cloud... I could animate a mask on my dirt layer so, as the camera moves it gets dirtier!

    That said, the procedural Lens Dirt has a fun thing that gets overridden when using a map. An element of the Lens Dirt filter creates this blurred, angled reflection, simulating reflections inside the lens elements themselves. You can turn down the Intensity which gets rid of the "dirt" but keeps the reflections. I did that in the animation below. Sometimes you DO want to just use the procedural elements... But, if I'd wanted actual dirt in this shot I'd double up the Lens Dirt. The first instance would stay as shown here - keeping the reflection - but the second instance would use a dirt map layer.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User

    @iamkhanproductions I don't think the particle sim takes long to set up at all for weapons, but, as I said in the post just above, it's also just about the first thing I did in Hitfilm.

    Is... Is that all Animated Lasers in your shot? Looks cool but I think I'd find it easier to set up a particle sim rather than keyframe all the bolts! Looks good either way you do it!

  • iamkhanproductions
    iamkhanproductions Posts: 596 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 i basically exported the 3d model tie fighter spinning around as a separate video. Then added an overlay of barrage lasers , The footage was then motion tracked so i applied the overlay of barrage lasers to the motion track... Hope that made sense.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User