Moving 3D arrow


I'm trying to create a moving 3D arrow effect that can be used with a map. Something that looks like this:


So, I was just wondering if this can be done in HitFilm Express or HitFilm PRO, and if so, how it can be achieved.

I'd really appreciate it if somebody provided me with a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.

Thanks :)

P. S. I'm also interested in re-creating this effect:

Any idea how this can be done in HitFilm Express/HitFilm PRO?



  • for 2d arrow (last youtube clip) use a colorplane with a arrowmask and animate the mask (path) with keyframes..

    for3d arrows: animate an do it on blender, then import this blender stuff as 3d object.

    maybee you can use a particle-trail (or the predefined meteor-trail)  with a triangle (colorplane-mask) and parenting this all on the same animate point. (i will try it this afternoon...)

  • @chriguf

    Can't login to my account using my older credentials, so I'm Gizmo_2017 now.

    Thank you for your answer.  I'm afraid I'm a total novice at everything to do with compositing, so I'm gonna need a bit more detailed explanation (like go there, click this, etc.). Could you please do that?


  • Thanks for the videos :)

    OK, I got the idea (talking about a 2D arrow). But what I'm gonna get is not exactly the animation effect I'm looking forward to achieving. You're suggesting partially covering the bottom mask (a world map in my case) with a wipeout that will gradually reveal the arrow, right? But what I actually want is for the arrow head to gradually expand from Point A to Point B like it does in the video I provided (like a telescopic antenna being pulled out to its full extent).

    As for your second tip, I have no idea how to use Blender and the tutorial doesn't look helpful enough. So, I'm afraid it will be of no use to me, unfortunately :(

  • edited September 2017

    Make your Arrow out of 2 parts using Planes and masks for the shapes. The body and the pointy bit. Or draw something for each in another program and import as images.

    Do these parts as simple left to right, or up down. Don't do angles, like 45 degrees, even if your final arrow will be at an angle.

    Put these in their own composites so you don't have to ask about masking order on a single plane.

    Put both these composites in another composite "Arrow appears and grows.comp" where you'll join them together. Nothing else in there. No map.

    For the body, just reveal it with another mask using keyframes.

    For the pointy bit, it can perhaps expand from nothing (scale keyframes) for the first few frames as the body starts to form, then keyframe its movement to move at the same speed as you are revealing the body with its mask. Or it can be there with no body, then drag the body out behind it.

    Put that "Arrow appears and grows" composite in with one with the map in it and rotate it move it about to match your endpoints to suit. Now you'll see why you didn't want angles when you made it: if you scale it the proportions stay uniform. If you'd had it rotated before, non-uniform scaling would cause deformation and the pointy bit would look weird.

    You can use it more than once: have it show other point-to-point routes on that, or other maps etc.

    If you make the arrow parts white, you can use Fill Color or Tint to set to the colours you want. Note the default settings for these is 75%, so if you want an actual, solid colour: turn up the sliders to 100%

    Technically you could use two masks on a single plane to form the arrow and pointy bit and use mask path keyframes, but then you'd have to ask about adding masks together so they both work properly and this is just easier.

  • @Palacono

    Thanks for the reply.

    I see your point. I mean, it makes sense when I read it but when it comes to actually doing it - that's when frustration kicks in. Could you please put together a quick tutorial? It would be a lot easier for me to simply follow the steps shown in the video rather than try and blunder around in the dark doing it by trial and error.  Like I said before, I'm a total noob at compositing and learning it by reading instructions is like learning how to swim without a swimming pool.


  • Blundering about in the dark and learning things by trial and error is when you learn the most. Works for me anyway. :)

    You could get started and let us know where you get stuck and I'm sure people will chime in with more help.

  • edited September 2017


    OK, I did as you said:

    How do I put the first two composites into the third one?

  • edited September 2017

    OK, good start. Just drag them in like any other media. And you might as well make the body of the arrow the full height of its composite, or it's just wasted space. Pointy bit is fine.

  • edited September 2017

    Like this?


  • edited September 2017

    Sure. Now, probably easiest to  break the Scale links in the Transform for the body and scale the vertical scale down to 0%. You'll need to move the Anchor point to one end so it then scales in one direction, rather than from the middle. Set body Y Anchor position to minus half of the body length.

    Set keyframe for scale. Go to time position in composite that you want arrow body to appear full size (4secs?) and scale it up body length to about 90% to allow room for the pointy bit (maybe it didn't need to be full height after all) and set second keyframe.

    Back to frame 0, move pointy bit to cover 0% body and set keyframe for position. Move to 4s and move arrow and set second keyframe for position.

    Body should scale up, arrow should stay at front. 

    That's the basics. Decide if you want to smooth out keyframes, by changing type to circles. Do it to all of them so body and arrow stay in sync.  You could also play with arrow scaling from 0% to 100% over first few frames of movement so everything grows from nothing, with keyframes on its scale.

  • I'm sorry, that sounds too complicated for me :(

    Scale links? Scale the vertical scale down? Move the Anchor point? Scales in one direction? Scales in one direction, rather than from the middle? Set body Y Anchor position to minus half of the body length? Not to mention the rest of your commentary. It might as well have been written in Chinese...

    Could you show it using screenshots? Here's my project:

    You can download it and import it in your copy of the program, so that everything looks exactly as it does in my case.

  • To understand animation keyframes and interpolation curves.

    To understand Transform controls including Scale and Anchor Point.

  •  @Triem23

    Thanks, but now that I watched those 2 videos I'm none the wiser :(

    I appreciate everybody's help but all I'm asking for is some clear-cut instructions on how to achieve the moving arrow effect, e.g.  go there, do this, click that, etc. I got the general idea but how do I go about applying all that knowledge in my particular case? I wouldn't bother anyone here asking for help if I had something I could use as a 'watch and repeat' tutorial. When we are small kids we learn how to do something by copying what others do, don't we?

  • What tends to happen here is 'Teach a man to fish' rather than 'Give a man a fish'.  

    Watching tutorials will only take you so far. You need to 'play along' with some of the simpler ones for the skills to sink in.

  • edited September 2017

    That's a misguided approach. How do the skills 'sink in' if I don't have any? How do you expect me to do something you wrote about in your commentary if I have no idea where all those UI elements are??? Every time I come across words like scale links, scale the vertical scale down, move the Anchor point, scales in one direction, scales in one direction, rather than from the middle, set body Y Anchor position to minus half of the body length, etc. I have to write another commentary here asking for explanation. It's nothing but a waste of time  - both yours and mine.

    All I want is to learn how the effect can be achieved, that's it. If you don't want to provide a tutorial, I can give you access to my PC and you can show it to me remotely. What do you say?

  • I say: watch another video and play along. :)

  • Anybody? I'd really appreciate it if it was not just a bunch of meaningless words and some videos showing the basics but a step by step simple and straightforward tutorial.

    Thank you!



  • Call me crazy, but inferring that the previously-offered assistance was in any way "meaningless" is not exactly going to win people to your cause.

    We're trying to help you learn not just the step-by-step approach to do this one thing, but truly learn the software at a more broad level so that you can create whatever you want.  Yes, some learning is done by mimicking what others do, but that's not the only way to learn, and IMO not the best way to make core principles really stick.  Some learning is done through experimentation and play,  and some is done through a mix of both approaches.  What you've been given above is a pretty good mix in my view: some specific steps to try, plus some resources to help build your general knowledge base.

    I've been in an instructor/mentor role in the animation industry for quite a while, and I can tell you from lots of experience that the people who take the time to learn and understand the basics are the ones who produce the best work with the least amount of stress.  Guaranteed.  Those who want to bypass that foundation and jump right into making cool stuff don't do as well.  Please don't dismiss the importance of building a solid foundation.  If an instruction doesn't make sense, take the time to learn what it means.  Read the docs.  Watch the videos that have been posted. Heck, watch totally unrelated tutorials, and do so with the intent to not necessarily replicate what they did, but to break down the process and understand more about why each step is there, what each tool does (at a base level, not just for the intended result being created), why things are ordered/layered a certain way, etc.  And if you choose to recreate the process, try changing some steps.  Use different tools.  Add some things that weren't in the original.  Play!

    I think that a lot of the answers you seek have already been given.  Steps have been suggested, and resources have been provided to help fill the gaps.  The ball's in your court, my friend.

  • jsbarrett

    Look, I'm not here to learn all the ins and outs of the program. The only reason why I signed up at this forum is because I needed some help with recreating the effect. Some quick help - that's it. Is that so hard to understand? Instead I get told about the importance of learning the program indepth because that's the only way I can achieve what I want. Believe me, if I knew how to do that and somebody asked me for help I'd simply throw together a quick tutorial and be happy to share it with the person. No lecturing and moralizing. Just like that....


  • @Gizmo2017 Sorry but you have to learn something about the program. Especially things like:

     "scale links, scale the vertical scale down, move the Anchor point, scales in one direction, scales in one direction, rather than from the middle, set body Y Anchor position to minus half of the body length, etc."

    Somebody could make a down and dirty tutorial of a moving arrow, but it won't do you any good. Why? Because the person making it won't have any idea of what you really want and the settings and steps will be radically different than what you really need.

    You've already dismissed the Shiny Films tutorial, the one animating the leaf, as meaningless because it isn't what you want. The thing is though, all you have to do is replace the leaf with an arrow and the background with a map and you're well on your way to a 2D version of something you do want and that sets the stage for duplicating the original After Effects tutorial you posted. I'll be honest, I didn't sit through the whole thing but as near as I can tell it can all be done in HitFilm no problem. The differences are going to be in the names of things and where the UI controls are. That's all covered in the two videos Triem23 posted. Somebody could take several hours of their life to make a one to one copy of that tutorial, but it isn't very likely to happen when all the information needed is already here.


  • As this thread was last active two months ago and apparently no progress has been made since then; it's possible somewhere like might be a good place to obtain such a specific requirement.

  • After running a quick test, I found that this can be done fairly quickly in Express.  I've added this to my to-do list as a Quick Tip, though I've got other commitments that have to be met first before I can work on it.

  • jsbarrett

    Much appreciated :) I'll be looking forward to it.




  • edited November 2017

    @jsbarrett That's very impressive. Looking forward to that. :)

    Can't work out how you bent the arrow in 3D space. Had some fun trying though...It's not 3D extrusion on a thin plane with Polar Warp (can't do the arrow head), although that gives interesting results when you also add Twirl. :D

  • @jsbarrett @Palacono ; Good stuff guys!

  • I'll share the basics behind my version, but still won't have time to crank out a more detailed tutorial for a while (frankly, an unknown while; could easily be weeks or months).

    The arrow starts in an otherwise-empty comp, simply moving right to left.  On the right, its "tail" is out of view.  By the end of the comp the arrowhead is on the left and the tail is fully in frame.

    That animated arrow comp was then dropped into another comp, where I applied the Sphere effect to it.  Even though my arrow comp has no black around the arrow, I was still left with some lingering black on the sphere for some reason (first time using Sphere, so I may be missing something), so I dropped Demult on it to kill the black.  Scaled, positioned, and rotated the sphere (with the help of a point layer) and adjusted its properties so that the arrow moves across its surface in conjunction with the underlying map.  All layers in this comp are obviously 3D.

  • edited November 2017

     @jsbarrett Sphere? Genius! :D

    Edit: OK, kinda getting the idea, but ran into a few alignment problems, so..pretty wonky. :) 

    I also needed Demult (or something) for a source with transparency (a buglet, maybe?), but went instead with Blend:Subtract (arrow is originally orange) but after I uploaded this version found that Hue&RGB Key worked better for getting rid of the Black only and then the arrow remained solid (and orange; with Blend:Normal) but not worth uploading it again.

    Edit: Edit: Had a play to tidy it up . Didn't fix alignment. It seems like voodoo. Although trying to bisect the sphere with the plane and rotating it 90 degrees with the arrow taking up exactly half the texture width should/might/possibly make the start and ends stay in place. Perhaps?

  • @Palacono Somehow I didn't see your further tests until just now, when you linked to this from that curved-screen thread.  Very nice work!  I really like the look of the most recent version.  One thing I neglected to mention was that it took some fiddling with the parameters of the Sphere effect to get it to line up, including (I think; don't have time to open the project to confirm) the scale/size/??? parameter, and my sphere does indeed intersect the plane.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Sphere is very clever. I'm adding that to my list o' travel map techniques. 

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