Bubble shield Effect help

Hi there, i am working on a spacebattle animation and i am trying to create shield effects for the ships. The style i was going for is something similar to the Star Trek Next Gen "bubble shield" effect http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/treknology/shields-firstcontact.jpg

also like the shield effects for the BC 304 in stargate  https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4f/e8/ed/4fe8ed2dec7d7484a921debaa9beaa68.jpg

Now i have attempted this on my own by using a mask to draw a bubble round the ship as the footage was rendered out in 3ds max, then i apply a 3d Shockwave and a bulge effect to give it a more 3d bubble effect, It kind of looks alright but also looks a bit lame as well, Is there another way to get the shield effect, that is pretty simple and quick to do but also looks good?


  • @dalekseth ;  I have thought about how to do this in the past, but have never tried it so this may or may not work:  I had thought of creating a plane in Hitfilm to get the color I wanted, then applying a noise effect to it to get the look and texture I wanted and finally an oval shaped mask to get the ship surround part and adjust the opacity so it is see-through enough to see the ship and use that as the high number and animate the opacity down to 0 if you don't want the shield being affected by collisions.  If you only want a portion of the shield visible like in the  bottom video above you would have to apply a second mask and select subtract.  I think this should work, but there may be a much easier way someone else knows.

  • Create a plane.

    Tweak a couple of layers of fractal noise

    Add the Sphere effect.

    Composite in Add or Screen mode.

    You'll probably add glow filters.

    Beyond that, it's really experimentation.

    You can adjust the aspect ratio in the sphere filter so it's more of an oval, and the sphere effect center point can be parented to your ships if you're animating in Hitfilm (you're not, but it's still a good hint). 

    But when I say experimentation, yeah you'll have to spend a little time adjusting things. Damn near every shield effect (or tutorial) you'll ever see on YouTube comes down to planes with Fractal Noise. Combinations of masks, Bulge, Bezier Warps and/or Sphere effects are used to shape the shield, but, for a "bubble," Sphere is absolutely the best choice. 

    So... You might be playing around with feathered masks on the plane to limit the part of the bubble that's seen. Again, the fractal noise just has to be played with until you're happy with it. Fractal noise can generate so many looks that one can't really give exact settings. 

    Oh--radio waves effect. Radio waves can generate moving concentric circles, which is a nice element to add at point of impact. You'll need to adjust position and size until you get it to line up where you want it on the sphere. 

    The nice thing is, once you build one that looks good, you can copy it to other ships for reuse. Each weapon impact will likely require custom masks to impact the correct area (radio waves will have to move as well), but it doesn't take too long. 

    This shot has a bubble shield around a TARDIS (although this is an earlier draft)


    This sequence is also using fractal noise on a sphere. Note that once it's set up correctly I can move the camera to different locations and the rig still just works (I just built the animation once and rendered with three different cameras).


    This one is just radio waves and a sphere filter. I think I had two radio waves going and was moving the center point. 



  • @Triem23 ;  Facepalm!!!  Did not even think about the sphere effect...  I knew there was a better way than I had been planning.

  • Thanks, I have already started that and got a close call to the star Trek Next Gen shield effect, still got some tinkering to do :)


  • @dalekseth... That is lovely! One small thing... Change the keyframes of your camera animation to smooth. That will create a much more realistic look to the camera movement.

    @triem23... As I recall on your "Star Trek: Close Pursuit" video, you set the shields up to be completely procedural. I am wondering how you did that?

  • HitfilmSensei  yeah i just quickly mocked that scene up, so there is no real refinement in it. The sequence  is just a test.

    @triem23 How do manage to rig your daleks? i have a Dalek model but i can never get the eye stalk to move with the dome, when the dome moves the eye doesn't unless i import it as one object which isnt good.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HitfilmSensei The Close Pursuit shot just has a masked fractal noise layer and a sphere filter. The center of the sphere is assigned to the Klingon K'tinga so they stay together. It's just got opacity keys as needed. Since it's a 2D layer I did move the layer from above the model to below the model when looking out from inside the bubble.

    Dalekseth go ahead and poke through this thread https://hitfilm.com/forum/discussion/44932/bb-8-and-dalek-rigs-and-realistic-materials#latest

    Besides discussing material settings, buried in the responses is a dropbox link to my rigged 2005 Dalek. You can take a look at how I set it up.

    Key thing is, when you twirl open a model's layers, anything you've imported as a defined animation group will have its own transform controls (treated as an offset modifier from the layers transforms), as well as its own parenting controls. Basically I have a full point rig defined wil parts of the Dalek parented to the proper points.

    About 12:30 in this video I do an abbreviated setup example using a Dalek model on setting up animation groups and point rig for 3D.


  • @Triem23 Thanks for the reply. I played around with using an actual 3D sphere, but I couldn't get it to work as well as I would have liked. I am thinking about making a tutorial on this subject, so I made a quick test using the fractal noise effect on a plane for the shield. What do you think? Any feedback or tips to improve it?


  • Not bad, to me the effect looks a little flat, are these 3d? they look 2d in the shot?

  • @Andy001z The model is of course 3D, but the shield is a masked 2D plane with fractal noise added. I did not add the sphere effect.

  • @HitfilmSensei hmm that explains the look. Just feedback, looks cool and I am sure it would pass for a 10 second sence. I think there is a relevant Blade Runner quote here "Making the real more real". Or maybe I'm just spouting rubbish.

  • @Andy001z I agree with you. I don't think it has a realistic enough feel to it. That's why I am looking for feedback. Maybe working with the sphere effect would help or actually making a 3D plane out of it? What do you think?

  • OK @HitfilmSensei (cracks knuckles) here goes.

    I would first take the shield effect you have built so far and convert it to its own composit shot and embed it in the master comp. Then change to this new comp shot with your shield effect and work on getting it right. Maybe make it a 3D plane then using the effects you have link them to a central point. I would duplicate your fractual noise effect and change its Z rotation so you get the depth of the effect. Your can build it up to that it no longer looks flat. You could play wit hthe sphere effect back in the master comp wrapping it around the shield effect, see what that looks like.

    there go play.

Sign in to comment