Film Sensei's Stuff: Super Easy INK Drop Effect in HitFilm Express! (August 7, 2020)



  • I loaded the project file this morning and ran rendered the "Graphic to Dust" tab. This is the one you see at the beginning of the tutorial which I had previewed. It took 7:04 minutes to render on my machine.

    My specs are...

    • 16gig ram, DDR3
    • Intel Core i5-4460, 3.20Ghz 4 cores
    • Intel HD Graphics 4600

      On a side note, I am looking at upgrading my machine! I am reviewing old threads on that topic now.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

     @tddavis @graymotion @filmsensei regarding my previous post (back at the bottom of page 4 of this thread), I went ahead and did a few render tests.


    • The magic composite in the template for tuning is the "Leading Edge" comp. This is the comp that creates the Layer Emitter for the particle sim, thus is the comp that should be "optimized" to speed up the particle sim.
    • I muted Jay's dummy text layer and used the Batman logo for all tests.
    • First Render was "As-is." Other than swapping in the Batman Logo all settings are as Jay saved them.
    • Second Render was "Pre-rendered." Certainly render the "Leading Edge" comp (particle source), but I also pre-rendered the "Disintegrating Graphic" comp as well.
    • Third Render was "Optimized Emitter." This is where I downsized the "Leading Edge" comp to remove excess space.
    • Fourth Render was "Optimized Emitter w/Prerender" After pre-rendering the Disintegration and Leading Edge comps again.
    • Fifth Render was "Full Optimized." I'll talk more about that in the "Changes to Particle Sim" section, below.
    • Sixth Render was "Full Optimized w/Prerender," Again, both the the Disintegration and Leading Edge comps.


    • I created a Grade Layer at the top of the stack. On this Grade I stuck a Grid and set its blend mode to ADD. This Grid effect became by "dimensions guide." This Layer was named "Dimension Guide, Mute for Render"
    • I added a copy of the project's extant "Black Plane" at the bottom and added a Fill Color effect. For the Batman Logo I used a green. This layer was named "Dummy BG Mute for Render"
    • The dummy background was there for my aging eyes to better resolve the black edge of the Batman logo from the gray and black checkerboard of the transparent background.
    • I grabbed the on-screen widget for the grid and used that to adjust a box just outside the Batman logo.
    • From the Grid's points position I was quickly able to figure out what size to make the Comp Shot to chop off all the extra space. For the Batman Logo, 1570x1000 pixels was still more than enough.

    CHANGES TO PARTICLE SIM (Only applies to renders Five and Six as listed above). 

    • 1920x1080=2,073,600. This is the number of pixels in the original Leading Edge Comp.
    • 1570x1000=1,570,000. This is the number of pixels in my resized Leading Edge Comp.
    • 1,570,000/2,073,600=0.757. This is the ratio of the pixel counts (area) between the two versions of the comps. Looking at this another way, the resized Leading Edge Comp is just under 76% of the size of the original. As a Layer Emitter is still just a modified quad, this means the particle sim is calculating particles for an area of only 76% the size of the original... AND everything I chopped out was transparent pixels - remember, pixels are still being generated for those transparent pixels, they just ended up transparent. Cropping the Leading Edge graphic just eliminated a lot of work for the particle sim.
    • Since I've eliminated about 25% of Layer Emitter area (and eliminated a lot of wasted invisible particles), it stands to reason I can turn down the particle count, right? Well, since Jay had both emitters cranked up to 100,000 particles per second, the math is easy. My area ratio was 76%, so is the particle ration. I turned the particle count down to 76,000/sec on both emitters.

    FINAL RESULTS (i76700 HQ, Nvidia 980m, 64GB RAM, Samsung m.2 SSD)

    • "ALL AS IS" (no changes/prerenders) 5:28.
    • "ALL AS IS" (Prerenders of Disintegration/Leading Edge comps) 4:51
    • "Optimized Emitter" (Leading Edge comp dimensions 1570x1000) 4:59
    • "Optimized Emitter" (Prerenders of Disintegration/Leading Edge) 4:30
    • "Optimized Count" (Leading Edge dimension 1570x1000, particle/sec turned to 76,000 both emitters) 3:54
    • "Optimized Count" (Prerenders of Disintegration/Leading Edge) 2:58

    Now there are some visible differences between the three "sets" of renders. Changing the size of the layer emitter from an area of 1920x1080 to 1570x1000 will absolutely changes how particles spawn. The same number of particles per second spawning with the same seed to a different sized area? Dropping the particle per second count the last set again changes the look - obviously, from spawning fewer particles. That said, the "apparent density" between the first and last sets is roughly identical. taking the area of the emitter down to 76% and the nember of pixels down to 76% gives more-or-less the same density of visible pixels. The center set - 76% area but 100% pixel count - does, as one might predict, look a little more dense.

    Practical upshot is, reducing the area of the layer emitter DOES allow you to drop the particle count significantly without making anything look "thin."

    Mathematically, since Jay set up TWO emitters, reducing the particle counts of both from 100,000 to 76,000 gives us an overall ratio of (0.76*0.76)=0.578 about 58%. In other words, I've eliminated about 40% of the total particle count. The ratio between Render 1 and Render 5 (optimized emitter/particle count/no prerenders) is about 72%. Not as much of a speedup as I'd expect based on pure particle count, but, of course, there's also calculating the embedded comps and writing file to drive time, and probably some other things Hitfilm is doing I'm not paying attention to. I've still taken 30% off the render time by optimizing the setup. The ratio between Render 2 and 6 (Prerender versions of 1 and 5). Almost 40% off the render time. To compare my fastest and slowest renders, then Render 6 took about 54% as much time as Render 1.

    So, bottom line, by shrinking the Leading Edge comp shot to be just larger than the graphic, turning the particle count down by the same ratio as I shrank the pixel area of the Leading Edge comp, and by prerendering the Graphic Dissolve and Leading Edge Comps I cut render time almost by half.

    Hey, this is something I've talked about before, and I've always known the math behind the theory was sound, but this is the first time I've tested it to take a measurement. In this case, just prerendering the two comps takes over 10% off the render time. And the pre-renders took much less time to create than the amount of time they saved. Ok, that's unclear.... I took about 10-12 seconds to generate theo two prerenders that took 30+ seconds off the final render. Better?

  • @Triem23 ; Great info.  Copy and pasted both posts.  I can't wait to put them into practice.

  • edited April 2019

    @Triem23 haven't played with it, so I'll just ask: Can you mask off the Emitter shape rather than having to adjust the actual, physical size of the Comp shot itself? With a Grade Layer above it if it's an 'Order Of Operations' thing? If so, could you draw a shaped mask really close to the logo, rather than just using a rectangle, to further minimise wasted Particle effort on something like the Batman logo?

    If not, would that be something for the Wishlist?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Palacono I don't think it's. My commentary on the Layer Emitter is partially based on the devs neither confirming or denying, but, if you turned off "Use Alpha in the Emitter transparency becomes black particles.

    Now, an embedded Comp Shot gets used to Bake In effects, and here's where Order of Operations comes in.

    As best as I can tell a Plane, 2D Photo, Video, Grade or Embedded Comp can be treated as a textured, 3D poly. Texturing is setting the inital color for a plane, the pixel data of the video or photo, OR the render of the comp/grade. That's what anything referencing a Source Layer is grabbing  including a Layer Emitter.

    I mean you don't have to take the time to optimize the template. It took about as long to do as I saved in render time. 

  • @FilmSensei thanks again for this great tutorial!

    Render time for "Graphics to Dust" composite (YT 1080p HD) on Mac Mini 2018, 32GB RAM, 3,2 GHz 6‑Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4,6 GHz), Radeon 580 eGPU, Mojave 10.14.4: 2:52 minutes

    What I observed: on export GPU was not really utilized (about 20% if I look at the bars in the Activity Monitor) and renderer seems to use only 2 cores (200% CPU usage). @CedricBonnier maybe something to look after.

  • @Triem23 This is great information! Like @tddavis, I have also copied and pasted both of your posts for future reference. I agree with @Palacono that it would be really nice if you could use a matte or mask to specify the exact region where particles spring from instead of having the computer calculate a bunch of invisible particles that will never be seen.

    Thanks every one else for the feedback. It is always appreciated!

  • @Triem23

    That is some really great and very detailed info. I did not know that so thanks, it will really help with Hitfilm particles. :)

  • I am delighted to say that my 10 second video entry for Production Crate's March Contest was listed in the finalist group!

    Here is my 10 second video entry if you would like to take a peek...

  • @FilmSensei Wait, wait, wait... you do magic too!!!? :)

  • @FilmSensei ; Congrats!  I'm pulling for you.

  • @FilmSensei

    I watched the episode on PC this morning and saw your entry. Great job!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

     @FilmSensei 👍🤞

  • edited April 2019

    Check out my newest HitFilm tutorial: Exploding a Graphic with the Shatter Effect

  • Last week I released a video on the shatter effect. This week, I am adding more: A Shatter Map Generator along with a Shatter Project File tailored to use your custom made shatter maps!

  • edited April 2019


    Jay -- your download at Mediafire makes Avast pop up a malware warning. In addition to your zipfile, Mediafire is also downloading this file or accessing this link, which may have malware --


    Maybe you should ask Mediafire why they're sending this file, as it is being flagged by Avast.


  • @spydurhank Thank you.

    @Davlon I have downloaded my project file on multiple computers and not had any problems. The link you provide above most definitely has malware attached, so to everyone else, do not click on it!

  • Check out my newest HitFilm tutorial video... Reflected 3D Extruded Text in HitFilm Express

  • Check out my newest HitFilm tutorial video, "What is a Pre-Render?"

  • Check out my newest HitFilm tutorial video... Super Subtle Dolly Zoom in HitFilm Express

  • @FilmSensei ; Oh, good choice of an example shot.  I have always remembered that one shot from Jaws.

  • That was both well explained and perhaps not quite detailed enough. For someone who didn't know anything whatsoever about what a Dolly Zoom was, you didn't really explain why you were scaling and positioning and also the 'few moments later' removed you solving any problems you might have discovered and could have explained how to work around.  Is it easy, or hard, to do that part? You mentioned potential problems with resolution, but not what they might be. In a comp shot it would have been easier to demonstrate the scaling as you can see the outline of the original clip when it's selected (or maybe you see that in the Editor too? Dunno, I use Vegas). Or, perhaps I just wasn't quite clear at what level of user this was pitched at, so my mistake. But other than that: up to your usual great standard, and you've definitely got smoother and more polished in your delivery over time.

  • That awesome 

  • @tddavis @FerrFilms Thanks guys!

    @Palacono Good feedback. I appreciate it. The parts I cut out were just for time There were no problems getting the pictures to line up, it just took several seconds. I definitely could have added more explanation as to what a dolly zoom is. I could have also gone into a little more detail about how expanding the scale of a clip will degrade the resolution. Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely keep it in mind in the future.

  • Check out my newest HitFilm tutorial... A Simple Dolly Zoom on a Still Image in HitFilm Express
  • Nice Jay. Made me feel like the little girl looks. :-)

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited May 2019

    As always, an excellent tutorial!   @FilmSensei ;

  • Check out my ProductionCrate 10-Second Film Contest Entry: Tron Light Cycles!

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator


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