Graymotion's Production Zone



  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    Another former Amiga owner here, though my high school budget back in the day only got me an Amiga 500.  Never got to mess with 3D at home because of that, so I leaned toward music production.  After HS I got into a video production course at the local community college, where I got my hands on a Toaster system and taught myself how to use Lightwave.  I won't 'jack this thread any further, but in a nutshell it's been a roller-coaster ride of animation software and platforms since then.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast

    I've been working on my Dropship adventure and tweaked a little bit on the landing. My crazy workflow scares me to nail the touchdown (yet). Shadows, deflectors , dust..etc. all being ejected properly in relation to the thrust port(s) angle of attack to ground level. I dropped the mountain models and just worked with 360 viewer for the scene. (In the back of my mind I'm thinking I need to learn a bit of matte painting skills.) 

    Pick me apart please...ton of stuff I've missed for overall scene symbiotic's and need a critic overall.....and would someone please tell me where, how, who, what is a person who makes soundfx called. Can I use Garage band to make sound fx,? Where you buy good ones for mechanical and engine /thrust/rocket sounds?? SFX suck!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador

    We'll talk audio for now, and Ill talk the visuals later. 

    First, an artist creating sound effects is a "sound designer" or "audio designer."

    GarageBand is more a DAW--designed to mix and edit multiple audio tracks--than an audio editor, where one is mangling single sounds. GarageBand is still useful as one can layer, pan and mix elements together and apply audio effects/filters. 

    A dedicated sound editor should have more powerful effects/filters options. Audacity is a good and free choice.

    Don't overlook Hitfilm. It's got a limited effects selection, but the Doppler Shift effect is gold. 

    To locate sound effects in 2018 you have tons of options ranging from YouTube (requires a downloader) through tons of sound effects sites offering free downloads through commercial libraries costing hundreds to thousands of dollars. You can also browse Amazon for sound fx cd's. That said the golden age of the SFX CD is done. CD's I got for a buck at Tower Records in the 90's going for over $10 on Amazon...

    With GarageBand, Audacity and a microphone (even a phone!) you can create your own. As an example, take a mic and hold it next to the body of a simple Dustbuster. Turn it on. Once the motor has powered up, slide the mic down and stick it in the suction tip. Let that go for a bit, then power down. Start a new recording, but this time touch the surface of the Dustbuster with the mic. Power it up, run for a while, power down. Take these into Audacity and drop them by two octaves (let the duration stretch). Layer both sounds in Hitfilm or GarageBand. You will have a nasty, rumbling engine sound and a harsh, low thruster woosh.

    This type of thing is how many classic sounds are made. In Star Wars the engine of a Star Destroyer is a slowed recording of the air conditioner at the hotel Ben Burrtt was at when he went to record an air show. The blasters are based off hitting a high tension wire with a hammer. Star Trek? The classic Enterprise door is a dry-fired torpedo tube reversed and slowed. A surprising amount of spaceships and explosions started off by blowing into a mic!

    Don't overlook the power of mangling audio with simple pitch shifting and reversing before adding effects. 


     Trivia: back around 1999-2001 I did several sound libraries for Dinamation, a company that built anamatronic dinosaurs for museums and theme parks. When Dinamation went under those libraries got split between the company that  took over the assets (Dino-Mae, later Dinomation) and Universal. Now, Dinamation had been contracted to do some work on the Jurassic Park rides at Universal Studios and Jurassic Park 3. Anyways, where I'm going with this is the Spinosaurus in JP3 is using my Spinosaurus elements for Dinamation after another round of editing. Stupid work-for-hire contracts! But you'll be amused to know a primary element of the Spinosaurus growls is me with a cold, snorting back my own nasal snot then nearly retching because a booger bounced off the back of my throat and hit my uvula. True story! 

    Anyways, here's a couple of sites to start you off. Soniss makes high-quality commercial sounds and gives away monthly freebies


  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,648 Ambassador

    I think Mike has you covered on the SFX.  My visual comments would be.  Wow!  Looks awesome.

    Just maybe an editing note: You start out with what appears to be an interior hanger deck view, cut to an exterior shot of the flyby that appears at the end to be back in the hanger deck again?  Maybe the stuff on the left is a satellite as part of the exterior?  In any case, it is visually confusing.

    I want to see that baby land!!!!  Very nice on the thrusters and heat displacement.  Maybe kick up a little more dust?  And soften the shadow on the roadway just a tad.  The sun angle for the shadow looks to be directly overhead, too.  Is that where it is in the background plate?   Maybe shift the shadow to the side slightly?   

  • BobDiMarzioBobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out
    edited February 2018


    I'm a noobie that only got into video compositing several years ago.   for me it's been a long journey and often my stuff  does not look they way I want and I blame myself when  more than not the ingredients are sometimes responsible. 

    For me the spacecraft is well lit, and the texture resolution is high enough that the hero shot fly by looks great.  The camera of the fly by is also good.

    Areas that drew me out of the illusion  were three things:

    1) The ship with the launch bay bay would have sold me more if there were emission light in the ceiling of the launch lights pared with hanger bay lighting on the launch ship.  Lighting between the outside and inside were too similar

    2) The view of the exterior of the ship that you are launching from, apparently suffers from a low res texture , looking to the right outside of the launch bay.   Maybe darken it to avoid having the eyes being drawn to it.

    3) The Still plate of the desert road  where the ship lands is seriously low res with harsh balanced midday light.   As the eye wanders it feels wrong.  

    If you had planned to correct these things in the future, my apologies. 

    Also, If the more experienced folks on this forum thinks that my observations  are incorrect, please note it since I am still learning.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador
    edited March 2018

    At 2:25 in this video is Simon Jones' take on landing the same ship model (it was easier for me to find this compilation than the HF4P launch video).

    Not to discourage, Greg, just to show you can totally get the look you're after--and with Pro 2017 or later, more easily than what Simon had with HF4P. 

    So, just looking at the landing... 

    How have you set up your environment? You said you'd cut 3D model of mountains. Is this all a single environment wrap? You'll need a large white plane to be your ground (put a grid on it to align with the apparent ground, then turn off the grid). 

    Material properties for the plane should be set to NOT illuminated but with Receive Shadows and both Ambient Occlusion options on. Set its blend to Multiply. Now the plane should catch your shadow. This same plane is also going to be your particle deflector. 

    Now you'll need to make certain you have points rigged at the engine nozzles of the Dropship. This Simon Jones tutorial as some useful techniques to review. This was Hitfilm 2, so you have more options. Link emitters to the engine points. Both emitters in one layer.  Pay attention to the particle/set matte portion. Otherwise instead of Displacement you could use the particles to choke Heat Distortion. Make sure you assign the shadow catcher layer as a deflector and check "Infinite Plane." In movement properties turn down bounce and friction. Air displacement doesn't bounce much and tends to "slide" along a surface. You can use the Lifetime controls to add a deceleration curve to particle speed. This will simulate air resistance. Take some time with this, because you're going to reuse this sim again after you've finished the distortion matte. 

    For dust you'll need another layer for a particle sim. You can start with a duplicate of your above sim. Raise the bounce a bit, use the Lifetime panel to get the particles to start transparent then fade in--you want the fade to happen after the particles hit the deflector and start to bounce. Change the texture to your favorite cloud and sample a few colors from your bg image. Set up a Random Gradient in the Lifetime panel for these dirt colors. Also in Lifetime have the scale increase as the particles fade out. This should help simulate the dust dispersion. 

    Add another particle emitter (same layer as your existing dust). This is a circle emitter with a cone trajectory pointing up from the ground. I'd probably use one roughly surrounding the ship, but, if you want to be really precise you'll want two--one under each engine. Set the circle emitters to Boundary, so everything spawns at the edge. You'll want a wide cone, throwing more sideways than up. Try a radius of 150 to start. Again you want particles to fade in, increase scale and fade out, slowing as they fade. 

    Once these are done, consider duplicates of the circle emitter. Change trajectory to circle so particles go straight out at ground level. 

    So, now you have four basic particle systems--a matte for distortion, dust taking bounce/thrust from the engines, a cone kicking dust up into the air, and more dust skidding at ground level. Make certain to change the seeds for each emitter for variety, and probably some rotation in Movement variation. 

    Now... Consider adding more circle emitters. These will be small rocks kicked up. Duplicate a cone emitter, drop the particles per second and use either a concrete/stone texture, or import a 3D rock model. You'll need to add a force for gravity and turn gravity strength down to, say 5%. Turn up bounce and friction for the rocks, so they bounce a couple of times then stop. 

    Once you add the Force you'll need to turn off "Affected by Forces" in your dust emitters. 

    Finally, look in Layer Properties for your model. Set Depth Layer to the dust particle layer. For dust, set Depth Layer to the ship. This should let you keep both layers in 2D compositing with correct occlusion letting you add effects to the ship. 


  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    Nothing to add aside from the awesome tips offered above.  It's looking really nice so far!

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast

    Awesome response folks!  I really do appreciate the look..

    First the sound...I have a lot to learn for sure.  I'm not even going to make any comments at this time about the AWESOME juice @Treim23 dropped other than to say I'll be firing up all my applications (SonicFire Pro, Audacity) and give SFX a whirl...and Amazon will get my 10 bucks :-) More on this later.

    @Stargazer54 -  you know how you get that tunnel vision and you only see one thing only to realize later you missed everything else. Thats me in this case. I watched this after I uploaded and ask myself, where the drop ship was coming from and what did it just pass? Trust me I have the scene in my head now!?!?!???? (Carrier needs to be in the first shot, second shot needs to be a LEO approach passing a satellite.) I be working that.

    @BobDiMarzio - I to am a noobie. You should have seen my attempts from a few years ago...terrible! I mainly just mess around with video for the challenge and satisfaction of actually making something! ........1)The panorama I used is of serious low quality as you pointed out. That needs to go away......  2) Yep..putting the camera inside the hangers wasn't the greatest move. The textures inside just don't match up to whats outside. I'm thinking of putting a drop ship on one side of the bay and light the ceiling lights as you suggested. Maybe cover up some of the low texture quality.

    Now - the landing. I'm still missing the whole concept of action shots I'm sure - as things still look to crisp to me. With that said  I took the shadows suggestions and the particle systems ideas  that Mike suggested to heart and went back and worked everything. BTW - I had forgotten about Simons tut on jet engine trust and displacement.  Awesome juice there too! ( I used that technique with my Flat side flame out I did a few years ago).

    On a side note: The multiple particle simulators really played havoc on my GTX 1070. I have 8-9 instance of the project backed up due to OPEN GL crashes/recovers. That's a first for me.??? I'd like to send one of the files to support ....but almost 3 gig! The geometry for the models must be stored in the project file???

    Anywhooo.. far from finished but this is what I got with the landing...and THANK YOU all for the assitance. 

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,648 Ambassador
    edited February 2018

    @GrayMotion  Man you got that sucker looking pretty tasty now!  Subtle camera shake, a little dust and distortion.  (I would personally want to soften the shadow a little more but that's just me.)

    Very nice!!!!

  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,781 Ambassador
  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast

    Question for you all...

    I'd like to have the camera focus on the ship passing by towards the planet but I'd like to have the ship veer off without the camera following it. As of now I have the camera looking at the model point until the path is complete. I then added another point and set it's start position to match the end position of the original point, duplicated the model layer and then continued the path towards the planet....but it seems clunky at the end.

    It's pretty hard for me to manual follow the object and get the same results I get from just having the camera follow the point. Am I making sense? Suggestion?

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,197 Ambassador

    One idea might be... After you have keyframed the model point the way you like it, duplicate the model point and rename that camera alignment point. Align the camera to that and then make changes to the keyframes there. That way you could change the camera's movement without affecting the model. For example, you could scrub to the point where you want to camera to stop moving and insert a keyframe, then delete the keyframe further down the timeline. Of course you would want it to be smooth or bezier, so that might affect the camera position slightly leading into the stopping point of the camera, but it probably wouldn't be a problem.

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,648 Ambassador
    edited February 2018

    @GrayMotion My first thought would be to make a Master point, parent the model to that.   Animate the Master point for the flyby.  Make a  second point and copy the motion data from the Master to it, so it has the same movement.  Target your camera to the second point.

    Then you can go back to the Master and make new keyframes after the flyby and the camera should not be affected.  You might even create another point to contain the original Master motion so you could go back and copy the motion from that without having to start completely over.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador

    Sensei and Stargazer called it.

    So... Talk about how you did your wormhole a bit, because that's sexy. 

  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,781 Ambassador
  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    Very cool! If you're up for yet another way to handle the camera, you could parent a point to the ship, and have the camera target the point.  The point would start at/near the ship's center, and you would add keyframes to the point so that it gradually lags behind the ship after it passes, forcing the camera to stay focused more to the left while the ship continues to the right.  I would recommend two keyframes: a smooth or bezier keyframe to start, and a linear keyframe on the last frame of the shot.  Because the model is moving the point, this would keep a subtle amount of camera motion going all the way to the very end so it doesn't completely stop, but still have the ship tracking you want for the beginning.

    Camera motion aside, the only thing that felt "off" to me was the size of the "warp stars" on the right side of frame near the end.  The farther ones on the left feel like nice streaks, but the ones on the left that come at the camera more directly feel fat and blobby.  Maybe you could split up the particles into different emitters and use different settings for those closer ones.

    While stepping through to take a look at your wormhole effect (+1 on the sexy comment!), I noticed a rather abrupt change from the wormhole to the warp stars in the upper left corner at about the 1 second mark.  At full speed it's almost not noticeable, but I thought I'd mention it.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast
    edited March 2018

    Ok! All three suggestions on the camera focus point and continuation work nicely. It's going to take a bit of finessing to get the speed and AOA right between the 2nd and 3rd keyframes but all work better than the way I did it. Thank for the direction gents.

    The wormhole - nothing special I'll tell ya. Basically I set up the emitter how Axel did in his tutorial "Create Dr Who Style Time Tunnel VFX". I put two particle systems back to back to make a tunnel and placed a camera slightly left of center. Instead of writing a book about it -

    @jsbarret - Yep. I'm not at all pleased with the exit tunnel. I have the camera to close to the right edge of the tunnel which definitely flattens the streaks out. Need to rethink the process for that particle system as you suggested. As for the abrupt change.... at 1 sec. I just dropped the particle layer from the time line instead of using the Lifetime panel to gradually fade/scale with the exit tunnel.  I thought I had that hidden well enough to squeak by :-) Damnit!!!

    I'm thinking I might try for a look similar to this one (at 4:12). Might take me awhile but I should be able to figure "something" out.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    @GrayMotion I actually like the asymmetry of the exit tunnel, with the camera favoring one side.  It's just how those particles on the near side are ending up larger because of that closer proximity that's the problem, which is why I recommended somehow splitting the particles into different emitters so you can have greater control.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador

    Split the particles into two emitters? Ok. Instead of using a single circle emitter create a square comp about the radius of your circle emitter. Add a white  plane. Use the masking tools to create a hollow circle. Add another mask to chop the circle in half. Duplicate this comp and adjust the mask so you have the other half of the circle. You want a transparent background with the arc. 

    In your particle comp drag in the half circles. Make them 3D layers and align them with the control point used to place your circle emitter. Hide both layers. 

    In your particle sim change the circle emitter to a Layer Emitter and select a half circle layer. Make sure that "Use Layer Alpha" is checked and "Use Layer Color" isn't. This should give a half tube. Just drop your particles per second by half.

    Duplicate this emitter, point it to the other layer and change the seed. You should now have a full tube. You can now adjust texture scale on the right half. 

    You might end up adjusting the half circle comps. Maybe "Left" is 3/4 and "Right" is 1/4?

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast
    edited March 2018

    Alrighty Lord's of VFX. I put a 60fps draft clip together so I could get a slow-mo effect going as the ship passes close by.

    Question if I may....If I have a 60fps clip like this do I then need to build the entire "movie short"  at 60fps? Guts telling me yes. Got to be one of the stupidest questions I've "newbie" is showing.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador

    Um. No, if you want slo-mo you would render the pass at 60 to bring back into a 24 or 30 project. Then the "extra" frames become slow motion. 

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast
  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast
    edited March 2018

    I corrected/replaced the video in my last post.

    Took me a bit ( all of 2 minutes with the help of @FilmSensei) to wrap my head around the super-simple slow-motion tip that Lord Triem23 offered up. 

    Basically I imported the 60fps clip, edited it's fps and added the cut between the lead/tail 30fps timeline which effectively gave me a sweet slo-mo. I then used the Speed Duration at 50% onto "60"fps converted clip to slow it down even more. Needless to say I'm tickled ""pink" with the end result.

    (fixed the direction of the tunnel to) 

    Thank you!

  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,781 Ambassador

    LOVE IT SO MUCH. Wow dude, lookin' really good. :)

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,197 Ambassador

     Looks great!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,013 Ambassador

    Looks fantastic. Where I have to compliment you, Greg, is how you've really mastered your model material settings over the last year or so. You have the best model materials settings I've seen outside of @NxVisualStudio or @Spydurhank .

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,197 Ambassador
  • Andy001zAndy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,846 Ambassador

    A1200 forever ........... great times.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,338 Enthusiast
    edited April 2018

    2 questions here:

    @Triem23 - at 0.5 or there about...during the cameras outbound this the "gimbal" issue I've heard you mention?

    @spyrdurhank - at 0.8 just after jump exit I can see the blues light from a Spot light,  set on the engines and parented to the NULL so it stays at that distance, spilling past the engines onto the side body. I have the Falloff on the light set to linear with 500px. What can I do, if anything, to stop the lights shining "through" the model?


  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,781 Ambassador

    Is this all in one pass or comp? Spot light? Lower the cone angle? I don't see a gimbal problem.And oh yeah, Love it. :)

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