Icicles Special Effect

I am looking to create an effect where icicles form on letters over a period of a few seconds  No, this is not a "Frozen" fanfilm! :)  Any ideas on how to do this with Hitfilm 2 Ultimate?


  • The easiest way to do this would be to have an icicle stock footage image or create one yourself and key frame a mask that moves/reveals in the direction you want the icicles to grow.
    Here's a really simple example though instead of the ice growing on letters the letters and ice "grew" together.  It's just at the end of the video around the 24s mark.
  • My guess is create a particle emitter.  Have it have varying sizes, and have it make a line going down.  Also increase the lifetime overtime.  Then at the lifetime panel have it get smaller as its life goes on.  After that set it as your distortion to your background layer, and turn the transparency super down.  
    Basically this tutorial
    Now if that made no sense im sorry.  Im not too good at things.  One of the better people shall get you a better answer.
  • edited July 2014
    Thanks!  I "created" icicles by using the lightning effect and simply adjusting the settings to look like icicles. Then I grew them by key framing the growth setting. They are not bad, but i think I can do better.  I am still playing with the settings. Thanks again!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    Lightning. Clever... Are you on Ultimate or Express? If Ultimate, you could use the lightning to generate a wwhite "mask" layer, then maybe use fractal noise with white and light blue on another layer to get some texture. Use set matte on the texture layer using the lightning layer as a luma matte in add mode.
  • Thanks Triem.  I am using Ultimate.  When I get a chance this weekend I will play those ideas.  My original idea was to build the letters and icicles in Photoshop, then in Hitfilm mask off the icicles and pull the mask down at the right time (or maybe scale them up).  The problem is I want more of an organic growth of the icicles and not simply a reveal or expansion.  The point is I think that Hitfilm Ultimate is fully capable of creating this effect.  I just have to figure out the best way to get it done.  Thanks again!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    I think you had a great idea with Lightning! You could also keyframe start and end width, along with growth, and you should be able to get the right look.
  • I agree!  Lightning should be an excellent tool for creating the shape and growth of the icicles.
    Turn off the glow and set branches to 0, then bring both the Wave Scale and Twitch Scale down to almost nothing, to create a slightly wavy line.  Keeping them both under 0.1 looks good to me, and still leaves some room for variation as to the look you want.  Then, set the Start Width to 5, leave End Width at 0, and scrub the Growth property of the End, and you get a pleasant growth to the icicle.
    Then its just a matter of getting the look right, which I suspect Caustics and Displacement might be good for.
  • Thanks Axel.  I will take your suggestions into consideration as well this weekend when I have time to work on it.
  • I forgot to mention it earlier, but of course you will want to also set the Speed to 0, in the Animation controls.
  • Here is my first stab at an Icicles on Letters Effect.  Feedback?
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    The lightning definitely worked for the shape. The pure-white color of the icicles isn't quite working for me with the pure blue text: especially with the fire sim on the other text. But the basic animation is totally working. I am thinking if you added another layer of a buildup of "snow" at the top of the word, white snow would offset the white icicles. Or a small "snow" particle simulator with flakes drifting down to offset the flames rising?
    Anyway, you proved the idea will totally work, so now you're just tweaking it to make it better. Good work!
  • Heh Hem... No one payed attention to my reply... 
    look at dem apples
    Now this is mainly a proof of concept and needs allot of work, because the icicle is pixelated, but just imagine! IT COULD BE MARVELOUS!!! 
    Basically re read the post above and you'll know how I did it.  Attached is the project file and all the assets needed to use it!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    Actually, Caleb, I honestly thought I had posted that using the particle sim to generate icicles was smart. I just think lightning waa easier to hook to text.
    But your test renders look fantastic and would be awesome on some 3D extruded, environment mapped text! For the more "clean graphic" approach Sensi has done, lightning is better, since he has no background to displace.
    But, yeah, Caleb, you modified Rody's "Bullet-time" into something new. You get to claim that. "Caleb's Icicles."
  • I did try 3d extrusion.  I couldn't get a number small enough to get controlled results.  I tried adding blur but hit film won't let you put decimals on those values and i needed like 1.5. 
    How come hit film does that so pixelatedly?
  • Caleb,
    That does look really nice.  The possibilities are tremendous!  Triem is right when he says that I do not have a background to displace, but I could maybe add a background and mask it out.  Then, I could pull the mask back behind the icicle as it was forming and maybe still get the same effect.
    Again, very nice work, Caleb!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    [quote name="Caleb K" post="43954" timestamp="1404000285"]I did try 3d extrusion.  I couldn't get a number small enough to get controlled results.  I tried adding blur but hit film won't let you put decimals on those values and i needed like 1.5. 
    How come hit film does that so pixelatedly?[/quote]

    Oh I was thinking extrude the text, not the icicles. There are several Hitfilm functions that actually do resolve more finely than shown. Blur is one. You can do a half-pixel blur, but thr slider rounds it up to the next integer. Odd.
  • Ok, i fixed the pixelation, i guess when using distortion you need to use really high quality footage.  I upped everything to a better version with 2k quality.  Now i think i have finally gotten the look down.  Now i just need to edit animation, shape and define the edge better.
  • The nice thing about Caleb's icicle effect is that it is truly 3D.  You could move around the effect in 3D space, making it much more versatile.
  • Here is the final effect I came up with.  Thanks to everyone for your help!

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