The Skittles Touch Effect

Someone posted a request on another forum that I belong to on how you would make the "The Skittles Touch" effect.  I think particle effect in Hitfilm would be perfect for it.  My first stab at it was okay, but not spectacular.  Here is the video I am referencing...
Ideas?  Thanks in advance everyone!


  • The whole "falling and interacting and bouncing" part of the particles is easy to do. The hard part is making them start in the shape of the object that transforms.
  • I think you could strategically place multiple particle emitters around the area you want them to encompass making the shape of a stapler, a tissue box, a desk, etc.  What I am Having trouble with is making the actual particles look more like skittles.  Here is a 2 second sample video of what I put together in about 20 minutes while eating lunch yesterday.  Any tips on how to make the effect better?  Thanks! ~Jay
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited August 2014
    Or instead of photoshop/GIMP work, if your camera is static, make your particles an embedded composite shot, mask the first frame to the shape of the object, then open up the mask to full-screen over, say two frames. Basically two keyframes of roto. That should work with a moving camera shot as well if you bring the embedded particle sim back as "3D Unrolled" in the layer options.
    For making the Skittles look more like Skittles, I think you're going to need to do some prep work. The particle sim is bouncing around a lot of 2D particles in 3D space, so using a circle or ellipse shape is going to look a bit flat. What I would try is importing a simple 3D sphere model into Hitfilm and make it an embedded composite shot. With the sphere, I would scale it into an ellispse and light it to match the video, then, using the version you've already done for reference, I'd get a rough frame count of how long it takes the skittles to start settling of the table. I would go ahead an animate the 3D sphere for some rotations to get some "spin" on the skittles as they fall and bounce, then settle to rest at about the right frame. (You MIGHT even make two different sphere embeds and use two emitters so all the Skittles don't move the same.). I would use a grey sphere, BTW.
    Once I have my 1, or 2, or...3? grey sphere animations set up, embed them in the comp with your main particle simulator and use the embeds as animated texture sources. By using grey spheres I could go into the lifetime panel and, under color, create a gradient of the five skittles colors and set color mode to random. This should keep the shading of the grey texture source, but colorize it. Finally, I'd tweak my emitter setting to maybe emit particles for 2 or 3 frames instead of all spawning at once. This would offset some of the particles by a couple fo frame to ass a bit more variation in the texture source animations.
    Now, all of this embedding 3D objects and animating the texture source will slow down the render a lot, but I think that will get you where you want to be.
    I keep intending to do a tutorial on my techniques for using 3D models as texture sources, but realized there are a couple more tutorials I need to do FIRST to build up to the "3d Particle Clones."
    The animation I am linking here has nothing to do with Skittles, but, this entire fleet of flying saucers was generated by using a single copy of the saucer model, using a couple of tricks match up the camera angles and using the particle sim to duplicate the saucer--so think of this as a proof-of-concept test showing that you can generate animated texture layers with 3D objects for the particle sim and get it to match an environment.
  • edited September 2014
    Those are really good ideas! Thanks for the advice!

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