Space Battle: Ay-Ay-Wings!

ellis_is_great Posts: 47 Enthusiast

Followed Zach's tutorial, and made this. The animation is a bit janky in spots, but it was a good learning experience with the particle simulator. Shadows on 3d models are still a problem, but I've given up trying to find a solution for that. I just turned them off when they were too jagged and glitchy looking. Everything made using Hitfilm, and GIMP. Made one small cylinder in Blender to use a texture for the debris in the particle sim explosion. Oh, and the explosion is a stock footage form action vfx.

(I know the shots don't flow well. If I did it the right way I would story board them out first and make sure all the action is facing up the right way...but the poorly planned action editing makes it more like the latest actual Disney Star Wars shows lol)


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,188 Power User

    Avoid directional lighting if that's what you used. They generate more jagged shadow maps than point and spot. Try some spot lights. You might need to animate the spots to move a bit of your fighters fly out of the Cone, but they create better shadows.

    Don't forget in the "Advanced" tab of Project settings you can raise the resolution of the shadow maps. Higher values take longer to render, but are more detailed.

    Otherwise, it's looking pretty good!

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,796 Ambassador
  • iamkhanproductions
    iamkhanproductions Posts: 573 Enthusiast

    woah! wanted to see more of that!

  • DavidLamarre
    DavidLamarre Posts: 74 Enthusiast

    Fun video! Lots of cool shots. Good compositing to get the pilot in the cockpit.

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,492 Ambassador

    Nicely done. You broke the 4th wall at the end ;)

  • TomCowles
    TomCowles Staff UKPosts: 33 Staff

    That look to the camera says "this guy knows some maneuvers" 😄 Great job!

  • ellis_is_great
    ellis_is_great Posts: 47 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 Thanks for the tips! I did use directional lighting. The tutorials on FX's youtube channel all say to use directional. I'll give point lights as the main lights next time. If I don't use "linear or curve" the point light will still work infinitely far like a directional? I used some spot lights and attached them to the engines of the A-wings so they would spill some light when the TIE fighter got too close, but other than that I've never used the spotlights much.

    @DavidLamarre Thanks! The cockpits shots were entirely done with 2d matte paintings and used some blend modes to try and make the glass. Some animated flares were used for the blinking lights.

    @Andy001z & @TomCowles 😂 Thanks!

    For fun, I made a VHS version here:

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,188 Power User

    Ellis, yeah, without setting linear or curve falloff both point and spot lights have infinite reach.

    Directional is the most "realistic" in that it gives a huge parallel illumination like a star would, but Hitfilm doesn't raytrace - but generates a rasterized shadow map as seen from the position of the light source. This is why I mentioned the possibility of raising the shadow map resolution. But, because it IS a rasterized (pixel) map, a spot creates the most efficient map, since a directional light is "infinitely huge" and a point light throws in all directions. Since using the spot is a cheat, that's why you want to parent it to the ship its lighting. That keeps the ship in the same part of the beam and helps fake the look of directional.

    If you're using Creator tier Pro you can use "Behaviors" to automate much of the spot. Duplicate the point you're using to move the ship and delete its position keys. Call this "Spot Mount." parent the Spot Mount to the Ship Move point and position the spotlight. Parent this to Spot Mount. Add the "Rotate by Layer" Behavior to Spot Mount and set all three axes to "-100%." Now, when your ship moves the spot comes with it. When the ship rotates the spot mount rotates in the opposite direction so the spotlight will stay at the same angle relative to the ship. That'll save a lot of keyframes while giving you the benefits of the more efficient shadow map. Same trick works with point lights.

    Consider changing the spots on the A-wing to point lights. This will give some spill light from the engines on the back of the A-wing.

    Another trick that works well for Star Wars ships (Rebels and Resistance) is to bring in a simple white Sphere model. This can be low poly. Drag two spheres into the same layer (above your ship) and align them with the engine nozzles so they're half covered. Set materials for these spheres to be unilluminated and not cast/receive shadows and no ambient occlusion. In the Controls for the Sphere layer look for "Depth Layer." Set this to the ship layer. The ship will now properly occlude the spheres. Now you can add a nice violet Glow Effect to the Sphere layer and generate a nice engine glow.

    Same procedure I used for the Y-wing in this breakdown - and you can see it in the thumbnail.