Terminator (1) style title

Hi all, first time post, so quick intro. Basically a family guy from the UK who loves to tinker with VFX and home movies. What this means in practice is that I get very little time to do VFX (kids and stuff get in the way!). I am using Hitfilm 2 Express mainly because I can't justify the outlay ("I got three kids to feed man!"). That said am loving the Hitfilm software.

So my latest YouTube upload https://youtu.be/pdxMhQ-a8e4 went up at the weekend, a little VFX idea while working at my Allotment (hmmm VFX and Gardening, do they MIX?). Anyway, I've been working on a title for the project, in the similar style as the original Terminator Movie titles (Terminator Titles Video. I have something that I like but I want to get ideas on how it might be possible to get the sparkle effect when the flare/spot goes across the text and the rest of the text seems to have a machine kinda glow (see : here in titles). I thought maybe some soft of duplicate of my orginal text flyin which has only the edge (body black) and then animate this edge with some sort of glow or flare moving across the text?.

Ideas people?

I will post what I have to the wall soon, but first I have this baby's bottom to clean and a taxi service to run oh and a tone of professional work to get done (sadly nothing film industry related).





  • Nobody! , oh well, I did some more work on it over the weekend and came up with some ways to tart my titles to look similar (ok kind of) to what I wanted. First off I thought if I could make a mask out of the text I could put a sparkly layer of the text underneath and show that with animation (nope not in the HF2 Express version) so I thought again. In the end I came up with several versions (will post once I render) and I ended up using a mix of a non-visible light animation (should of used a point) and the sparkle effect which after some tweaking seemed to work ok. Then I noticed you could make the plane any size so reducing it down was an option to make the effect appear at the locations I choose by animating the position of the plane. However this wasn't what I wanted. In the T1 titles the sparkle has a spot moving over the titles so I added this (easy to add, not so easy to make it look great!).

    I will post the results soon and ask for feedback (all welcome).

  • Nicely done.

  • I'm impressed.

  • Admittedly, I did watch this over the weekend but got sidetracked by life. It looks great!

    For the 'sparkle' effect- it looks like they used either a light ray effect or a light flare effect or a combination of both. I can experiment a little with it tomorrow if you can't figure it out. I've just run out of free time and need to go to my second job.

  • +StormyKnight Tell me about it, weekend was mad. Still managed to have a play and tonight I have uploaded part of the results. https://youtu.be/-d5jbPpPtuA

    My only wobble with it is, I realised that while in editor it was looking sweet! when rendered and watched at full size it was a bit rough looking and pixelated, esp the ripples. Now back in editor I realised I was working at 50% zoom, whack it up to 100% and those effects look at bit rough. Hitfilm guys and girls how do I get that sweet spot? What's making the pond ripples look like that? Its been rendered at 720p so not sure. Ideas? Actually a thought is this a case of my Media playing at above the resolution, in Youtube at not full screen it looks ok.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    OK, just caught up on this thread, so, late to the party, but I have some obervations that may or may not help.

    "First off I thought if I could make a mask out of the text I could put a sparkly layer of the text underneath and show that with animation (nope not in the HF2 Express version)"

    Mostly correct--what you'd need to do that easily is the "Set matte" effect, which isn't in Hitfilm 2 Express. This would have let you create black text with a white outline, then use that with Set Matte to define a cutout. However, in HF 2 Express, there's a bit of a workaround: Create a composite shot and put a black plane in the BG--create a text object over this with a black fill and a white outline. Create another composite shot with your sparkles animation--go ahead and fill the entire frame. Now bring in your white text outline composite shot as a nested/embedded composite. Put this on top of your sparkles and set the text layer's blend to "Multiply." The black will knock out the sparkles and the white will let the sparkles show through. Now copy this sparkles layer to your main composite and set it to ADD or SCREEN mode. This should give you your overlay. If you want only part of the outline to show, then return to your embedded outline comp and animate some masks or planes or something to sweep the outline. Just remember black will knock out the sparkles, white will let it show through.

    Incidentally @Stormyknight--for the Terminator Titles in 1984 there would have been no digital effects used (especially no on a low-budget Carolco film.) For the sparkles they probably did that old school--a black painted cell of the outline and a couple of cardboard masks set on a light table with a camera pointed at it, then composited optically! Isn't it great that we now have programs (like a free Hitfilm Express) that can outperform a million-dollar effects house from the 80's?

    Ok, the pixilated look: Hitfilm 2 Express allows you to make a maximum composition size of 1920x1080. Since you're pushing in on your text a lot (ok, pulling out, really), you're having to get close enough to the text where we're going to see the pixilization. Even if you're creating 1080 text for a 720 output it's going to pixilate as you get that close. This is a limitation of Express. With the Pond Ripples, I'm a little confused. I've used that effect but not seen it pixilate like that. Maybe try creating your effects at 1080 then scale them down a little bit for the 720 frame to sharpen it up a bit? Try adding a blur after the pond ripples--radius 1, iterations 1. That might also smooth things out a bit.

    Otherwise, my general advice is to sleep on it or a night or two--give it a day off then come back to it. Who knows. Tomorrow you might see something that's a better option for going about things....

  • Morning, oh boy a view of the titles this morning was done with "Groan, look at that timing, and oh dear spot light stops in frame" but given it was a bit of an experiment and not production release I am happyish with it so far.

    Thanks for the reply and advice @Triem23. When I get time I might try that sparkle method just to see how it works (time however is like a precious  jewl, I don't have any!). 

    On the subject of the pixilated look, you might be onto something there. Is this a situation where in my inexperience I have the camera ending up too close to the text in the fly past. Maybe I should of made the text smaller in the first place then zoomed in with camera to scale it up and then when it pulls back the text will be less pixilated ?? I guess the ripples effect is suffering the same. If you watch it here in the forum at windowed size it looks fine, but stretch it out to full screen and DAM it's MR PIXILE. 

    @Triem23 one other comment, you mentioned the blur, I did try that trick and found that it even when applied to the plane with the ripples it still blurred out the text - odd, or is this because the ripples is see through and so the effect it being added to that plate and all the others below?

    On a finish note, have to say I am loving using Hitfilm, it seems to flow well and work nicely, and once you learn some basics it really starts to fall into place and even the HF2 express is pretty powerful.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    "Otherwise, my general advice is to sleep on it or a night or two--give it a day off then come back to it. Who knows. Tomorrow you might see something that's a better option for going about things...."

    I give good advice.  ;-) 

  • With the recent announcement of Hitfilm 3 Express I did a little feature experiment by loading my Hitfilm 2 Express file into version 3. As I suspected the base version of HF 3 Express does not support some of the effects I used in the old HF2 version. However this is fine as I can use both versions :)

    Also, a good GRRRR moment the new version includes the GRID effect, I could of done with that in my first video - DOH!! Maybe I will re-render.

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