Modern Marvels production/feedback thread

O hai,

I'm Steve. (Hi Steve!)  I was a pretty prolific machinima creator back in the day.  Then, I kinda hit a wall, Real Life took over, and I put it aside.  Recently I've decided to take it up again, and in researching my options for better tools, discovered HitFilm.  I'm a total n00b at video effects; HitFilm is my first exposure to any kind of software like this and boy, am I looking forward to seeing what it can do.

This thread is mostly for me to show off test footage and ask questions, as well as provide links to finished movies.  For now, let's start with a link to my YouTube channel, showing all of my old stuff, as well as recent dabblings with MovieStorm;

Modern Marvels Entertainment

And let's finish it with some "Hello World!" footage; my first HitFilm composite.  And I do mean "Hello World": it's a procedural space scene that I created while learning the particle system, masks, keyframing, and the sphere/clouds effects.

and, I had a bit of an issue using a linear motion keyframe in the above video.  I tried to set two keyframes with the exact same Y-value (for the animated cursor) and differing X-values, expecting the cursor to move in a straight line between them... but instead, it kinda did a bit of a parabola-arc.  I eventually had to keyframe each letter-jump individually, frame by frame.  Is that normal, or did I do something wrong?



  • All you need to do to embed a video is paste the youtube or vimeo link. 

    I'm not sure about your second question though but I am sure someone will be able to help you very soon!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Hi, Steve! (Hi, Mike!) (Enh, "Triem" is fine!)

    As Film Tech said, you should just be able to paste a Youtube or Vimeo link directly in your message, and have it show up.

    The cursor thing....That's odd. If you set a two keyframes with a different X-value and the same Y-value, yes, I'd expect it to move in a straight line, horizontally. In fact, I did just that an hour ago and it behaved as expected. Without seeing your project file I can't tell if you set something up wrong, or, if for some unknown reason Hitfilm just decided to glitch.

    Note that with keyframes, "Iinear" isn't a spacial descriptive (it doesn't mean "move in straight line,") but a temporal descriptive (Move in even increments from point A to point B). So, with something like "Smooth," you'll have a little bit of ease in/ease out at the beginning and end of movement. "Constant" "locks" the keyframe in position until the next key is reaches. "Smooth In" and "Smooth Out" you can figure out on your own, I'm sure.

    Welcome to the forum. Please feel free to paste any links you wish and ask away with your questions. You'll find this is one of the most helpful forums around. There's a lot of great people here who will gladly share hints and tips. That's how we all get better!

  • SteveKarstensen welcome to Hitfilm. Checked out your test, not bad for a start. Pretty sure Axel did a tutorial recently on making space look cool, check out the Hitfilm channel.



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Speaking of tutorials, this thread, which is a sticky at the top of the forum, is your friend:

  • Thanks, guys :)

    Far as the keyframe thing goes, I did double-check Simon's tutorial on animation rigs to see if I was doing it right, so at this point I think that the Flicker effect on the cursor had something to do with it.  Next chance I get I'll try doing the keyframe before adding the effect to see if it makes any difference.

  • boink

    Welp, I've started editing my first new machinima piece in... wow, must be like seven or eight years.  Damn, I'm old.  Anyway, now that I'm digging into the Editor side of HitFilm...

    Is it possible to duplicate an existing Transition, so I don't have to keep adding new ones and manually typing in the same numbers every time?

  • ...and here it is, my first HitFilm piece!  Fans of The Untouchables and Dick Tracy should dig it.  The previous eppies can be found on my YouTube channel.

  • We've come a long way indeed.  Cudos @SteveKarstensen.  Good job at pushing those boundaries and nice work!

    I remember (way back in the day), Kleiser-Walczak created one  the first digital human characters, Nestor Sextone, and presented him at the 1988 Siggraph Conference.  Nestor was campaigning for president of the Synthetic Actors Guild (S.A.G.).   He strode behind the podium (unclothed, of course - we hadn't gotten that far yet) and proclaimed, "When I'm elected, synthetic parts will go to synthetic actors!"


  • I know, right?  I've been kicking about long enough to have seen every major advancement in CGI since day one.  I remember when we couldn't do hair, water, or cloth.  We've come a long way since TRON.

    I tell ya, if you had told me twenty years ago I'd be able to make lightsabers on my desktop I'd have thought it was science fiction.  It truly is a great time we live in.

  • edited November 2015

    Nice job on the vid(s). When can I hitch a ride to Arboria IV?

    Just out of long does it take to animate the characters and what program do you use to do so? You've got a lot of great work on your YT page.


  • edited November 2015

    Arboria IV is going to appear in "DOWNFALL: the Series", which I'm in pre-production on.  Might be a week or so before I start working on it further (currently writing the world bible) as I want to finish an album I'm recording first.

    The character footage is from a game called "The Movies" by Lionhead Studios.  It was a "sim"-style game from 2006ish where you ran a movie studio, but it also had a surprisingly rich set of tools that allowed you to make the movies themselves.  It was very limited in some ways (you're basically selecting canned animations and using sets/characters they provided), but I still don't think people have hit the limits of what it can do.  Unfortunately, most people that still bother to use it are making crappy Batman ripoffs.

    For the "If I Had a Nickel" shorts, I'm using MovieStorm (, which is much more flexible in many ways, but unfortunately lacks the variety of costumes, sets, and props that The Movies provides.

    I used to do an entire film in one sitting (and looking back on them, it shows!), which was roughly ten hours to a day.  Working at about one to three hours per sitting, "Gangs of Chicago" took a little less than a week.

  • edited November 2015

    Both the game and moviestorm are pretty interesting concepts. If they had a bit more freedom of movement I'd consider them for a rock opera idea but I need a little more control for dance sequences. But, for what they can do, they're pretty impressive.

    So how much synthetic money do you pay your synthetic actors? :^)

  • edited November 2015

    Depending on what you want to do, MovieStorm might actually work for your video.  It's very easy to mod, so if you know anyone (or you yourself)  handy with 3DStudioMax, Milkshape, or Blender you could easily import your own animations.

    Funny you should ask about pay, though; I actually did ask an actor friend of mine about reasonable wages for projects like mine, and he said most actors are willing to work for free just to get the experience.  I expressed disbelief, and he basically shrugged his shoulders and said "yeah, actors are nuts."

  • Ah, I thought it might me possible to save a transition preset the same way you can save an effects preset--by right-clicking the transition and selecting "save as preset." It doesn't work that way. Doesn't seem that you can copy and paste transitions either. I'm a bit surprised by this! (I do most of my edits in Vegas Pro, so the Editor side of Hitfilm is a bit of a mystery to me.

    Fun vids!

    One thing about actors--they may be willing to "Work for free," but a free gig can be low priority. Any time I've used "free" actors in a project I've had scheduling issues. Typically, for VO I'll offer $50 which is 1/3 of the AFTRA minimum for a 5-page voiceover. That's a pretty cheap rate, but actually giving the actors some money helps them focus a bit, since it's no longer a favor but a job. ;-)

    Nestor Sextone was scary in '88, and he's scary now. He's kind of like a CGI Terminator from "Genysis."


  • So, I'm wondering what's up with the Movie Wall.  I submitted Gangs of Chicago on the 14th and it hasn't shown up, but other more recent films have.  So, I resubmitted it and it tells me that my movie's been updated (and shows an upload date of Nov 14), and I can actually follow the link to watch the movie on the HitFilm site, but that's it.

  • Did a test render of a concept I'm exploring for my new sci-fi series, "Downfall".

    I like it, but I think it could be better.  Maybe some light shining through the letters, I dunno.  Also have begun writing the script for Episode Two of Gangs of Chicago, although it's not ready for production yet.

  • Gangs of Chicago: Episode 2 is now finished, and uses a lot more Hitfilm goodies.  There's some color difference keying going on to create shots that aren't possible in The Movies, as well as some particle action during the gunfight.

  • The machinima community I belong to has expressed a great deal of interest in Hitfilm, so I've been encouraged to do some tutorial videos on how it works with the other tools we use.  This may not be of great relevance to anyone here (unless you also happen to use The Movies), since I'll be going over a lot of elementary stuff you all already know, but I'm nearly done with the first episode.  Watch this space for more info.

  • ...and here it is, the first in my series of Hitfilm 3 Express tutorials for users of The Movies.

  • Here's a quickie I did just now while playing around with atomic starfields (as per Simon's latest tutorial) and 3D model importing.  I wondered if reproducing the "coming out of hyperspace" effect from Star Wars was as simple as just setting two keyframes really close together, and I was right!  Add a bit of motion blur and you've got yourself the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

  • An interesting trick for hyperspace stuff is that you can adjust the X, Y and Z scale values for a 3D model. This means you can stretch and squash the shape along any axis. For hyperspace stuff, especially Star Trek-style, this lets you stretch the ship along it's length as it jumps in/out. It's a super easy trick but looks pretty neat.

    It creates interesting results if you flatten the models vertically, too. That's how we did the city growing on this page:

  • Building off @SimonKJones 's comment, you can move the "Anchor Point" of a model--the point of origin for scale and rotation--around. For a Trek-style jump, put the anchor point between the back tips of the Warp Nacelles. Then, scale the ship up on the facing axis (usually Z) to get the forward stretch. Then, animate the model moving forward as you scale it back down. One you get the timing right, you get a perfect "Next-Gen stretch" without tedious slit-scan. 

  • @SimonKJones, there is some flickering/fighting going on with the top of one of the buildings in the animation at that link. Is that a side effect of the scaling causing planes to be compressed/confused, or just the models used? And has it been fixed in the latest update?

  • @Palacono These videos were rendered in HitFilm 4 before the first release. The Z-fighting issues should have been improved in HF4 update 1 and update 3. If you can still see artefacts in update 3 and above, please send us a support ticket with your model.

  • edited February 2016

    @CedricBonnier OK, that's cool, just might be worth updating that animation?

    [Edit]: which you now have. ;)


  • Just a quick update;

    As you may have guessed from my last post, I'm currently in pre-production on DOWNFALL, a sci-fi series based on the original short.  Although I haven't finished the script yet (it's about half done), I have decided to begin filming this weekend anyway given how much effects work will be needed.  If you haven't already binge-watched my entire channel (...ahem), you can see the "pilot" (which, unfortunately, was not done with Hitfilm) here;

  • ...and here's my second Movies-focused tutorial on cleaning up clipping glitches using the Clone Stamp effect.

  • @SteveKarstensen ; Nicely done tutorial.  Very clear and easy to follow!

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    @SteveKarstensen I do like your tutorials except the first one made me feel a bit like a cannibal the next time I had a cheeseburger.

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