Hitfilm how do you make a spaceship landing

So i want to make a spaceship landing for my short film but I don't really know how I think you have to keyframe a 3d model in some way but how???


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited January 2

    First you need to understand how to import a model and set up animation groups. 


    Then you need to understand how points, rigging and animation groups work.




    Also, Materials


    Then how to light and composite. 






    Then we can answer more specific questions  :) 


  • Also, there was a Hitfilm official tutorial for a promo of theirs that showed a spaceship landing in an open field and it went into exhaust, debris and such, but I can never find the darn thing now several years and versions later. :(  Maybe someone can post a link for you...and me. :)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @tddavis @CleverTagline sheesh, bad enough I threw import, rigging, lighting and compositing tutorials up, now you're adding particle sims? It's like a spaceship landing is complicated! 


  • @Triem23 ;Just be glad you don't have both hands tied behind your back and have to operate the mouse with your chin. Even worse if you're in a body cast and have to borrow a friend's chin.

  • @CleverTagline ; Yes!  That's the one.  I can never find it especially when on my phone.  Thank you.  Got to download that this time to archive.

  • This is probably pretty simple but I'm pretty new to Hitfilm Pro (only got it a month ago). When I import a 3D model I do fine with lighting, keyframes, etc., but the one part that always gets me is the material properties when you first import it.

    I understand it when there's like model textures that come with the, let's say .obj model, but often the models won't come with diffuse and specular and all those image maps. What do I do when they don't have them?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HeySiri I merged your thread here because I pretty much already linked the tutorials you need above  

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited January 2

    @HeySiri You will need a dedicated 3D program such as Maya, 3DStudio, Blender or Lightwave to apply textures to a 3D model.   Plus there are different kinds of textures - planar, spherical, cylindrical and UV Mapping.   Most of the objects you can download that come with textures (such as the aircraft in the videos above) are UV Mapped.   It is not possible to generate texture vertices inside HF.   That has to be done in a 3D package.

    Most of the users on the Forum opt for Blender since it is free.   But that means another learning curve and on a whole new set of software.  If you are in a hurry, I would suggest you partner with someone who already has a 3D background to build and texture the model.

  • @Stargazer54 the problem I have is is that sometimes when I download a model it comes with textures and other times it doesn't. I don't want to spend $100 on a model for my movie (I'm making a short film and need about 5 3d models) and not have textures.

  • edited January 3

    @HeySiri - Welcome to the real world. Rairly in life will you find things handed to you on a silver platter. Great things take time and patience.

    If you don't have textures for your models then fake it. Use PBR shaders or tiled textures (available everywhere).  Of course close-up detailed shots will be next to impossible....but for a first timer faking it won't be a downfall for you. It will be a learning experience. Fast camera moves and lots of atmospheric blending will be your best choice. As time goes on you'll get it...trust me.

    The ISS I used in this short is all PBR shaders. Hard to tell unless you really look hard


  • @GrayMotion Luckily, all my 3D model scenes are in dark rooms and/or areas of space. But, I still want things to look somewhat realistic. I'm new to texturing, could you explain to me what PBR shading means? And tiled texturing I know what it is, so you're saying just apply that to a model to give it at least a basic look?

  • @HeySiri Google is your friend, or at least it should be. A quick search for "PBR shading" will give you all kinds of resources to peruse. Heck, I had no idea what it was until I searched for it myself. A little initiative will go a long way.

  • @CleverTagline I googled it, but I don't quite understand it. Is PBR texturing basically just taking a single colour but making the refractions, specular, etc., so that one colour really looks like the colour of that texture you're attempting to replicate?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HeySiri @CleverTagline @GrayMotion

    Siri, speaking for myself, "PBR" is a term I kind of want to go away because it doesn't mean anything, but it sounds like it does. It's kind of like saying "motor powered vehicle."

    "PBR" stands for "Physically Based Rendering," and, all that means, is that somewhere in the shader something vaguely resembling actual physics and/or optics are used to compute the image.

    There are literally DOZENS of different physically based shaders in existence and they all do different things. "Raytracing." is a "physically based shader" because it follows a ray of light and tracks where it bounces, but it ALSO tracks reflections and volume refractions. Classic Raytracing doesn't have any parameters for things like roughness or fresnel.

    Hitfilm ALSO has "physically based rendering." Cook-Torrance shading for 3D models is a physically based shader. It calculates for roughness, fresnel, surface refractions and subsurface scattering. However, Cook-Torrance doesn't do volume refractions like rayracing does. Cook-Torrance happens to be optimized for metallic and stoney surfaces, so rocks, metals, glass... It does well at things like wood if you know what you're doing, but it's not the best for things like skin.

    Another shader is called Lambert. Lambert happens to be optimized for rough matte surfaces like woods and skin, but isn't as good as Cook-Torrance for stone, glass and metal!

    Now in Graymotion's ISS short, I believe that's all Hitfilm, right Greg? In his case he'd used a model of ISS. ISS doesn't have a lot of detail painted on (it's no in a camo pattern or anything like that), but mostly white paint used to reflect sunlight. In that case all he needed was the Cook-Torrance shading because, well, ISS is all metal! Also, Greg had the benefit of working off some really detailed notes I'd provided on all the Cook Torrance options (Greg, you still have that?), and with some one on one sessions with @NxVisualStudio - Tony Cee - who might have the best handle on working with materials directly in Hitiflm of anyone on the planet.

    Oh, tiled texturing. Let's say I'm using a model of a wall scaled to be 50 feet long and 10 feet high, but the texture is only 5x5 feet. The same 5x5 texture is going to be reused - tiled - across the entire model.

  • Solid answers from everyone. :)


    You're definitely gonna need to learn how to use a dedicated 3D application like Blender 3Ds max, cinema 4D or Maya. Learning curves are nothing dude. You can learn damn near anything in one day if you're really, really, into it. :)  

    If you run into something you can't grasp very well, there are ton of awesome guys here on the forums that work in the visual effects industry in one form or another that can help with tips and advice. There are a couple hundred years combined worth of experiance that you can tap. These guys can help inspire, drive and nudge you to want to learn. 

    So being that you really are just starting out, for sure you will run into a few speed bumps. One out of many in HitFilm is textures and bit depth. For realism, change your HitFilm project settings to 16bit float linear color or 32 bit float linear color and unless there is a very good reason, never use 8 bit textures unless your 3D object is going to be far away in your background or you're going to hide that 8bit texture compression in darkness/shadows/space which is what everyone does so it is okay to do that.

    For close ups and midground shots, you should really consider painting your textures in 16 bit float which is insane movie quality. 16 bit textures are tough to paint and you need a beefy machine to do it but it can be done. But you still need a format to paint in... png? No sir, the png format is too heavy at 16 bit, that is why everyone and their grandmother that builds, paints and sells their own 3D objects online, uses very low quality 8bit pngs which quickly destroy any asperations of getting your 3D objects looking good, much less looking realistic. Honestly... that is the reason that you're actually having trouble with materials in HitFilm. Your project bit depth settings are too low and you're using 8bit textures if any.

    So before you purchase a 3D object, check to see if textures are provided and if so, what is their bit depth and format. If you get an object with no textures, it is a bit involved but you can actually really simply just texture paint the object yourself. I did this a few days ago with a Free 3D, Gen one Optimus Prime object from BlendSwap, you can see it on my thread [link below], I think on the last page.


    A much better and lighter format is exr.

    In comparison : A blank 8K 16bit png is around 512mb where as a blank 8K 16bit exr is more around 90mb to 126mb. Exr is also a tough format to paint in at 8K 16bits but it is worlds better than any pngs. Plus the exr format scales down better than a png.

    Again in comparison : Scale the blank png down to 4K and it will be 256mb but if you scale down the 8K exr to 4K it will be closer to the 46mb range while still maintaing a ton of the 8K information and you can still bring the 3D object pretty close to the camera.

    Now, you need a first hand experiance with what I'm talking about so, go over to my site and download this free        -UAV-01- 3D object and don't forget to apply this coupon code:   b-day      to get it for free as there are still a few free copies left. It has 8K 16bit exr textures. https://www.owmycgi.net/shop

    In Hitfilm change your project settings to at least 16bit float linear color and change the "maximum 3D model map size to to whatever your machine can handle like 4k if the 8k textures are too big for you. Then Import the free -uav-01- object. For each Material change the illumination model to Cook-Torrance and make sure the Specular Color is set to White, then raise the diffuse reflectivity and specular reflectivity to whatever you like and then start playing with the roughness value. To see what is happening better, switch the Specular Map out for one of the other utility maps provided. If you experiance any lag, just X out the Normal Map Slot for each material as Normal Maps are pretty heavy, no matter what. You'll see that the object looks really good without you having to do a ton of work. This is true only because you've switched your project settings to at least 16bit float linear color. The HitFilm lights do some insane and incredible things at 16bits, throw in a 16bit exr texture set in with those lights and incredible things happen almost as if by magic and you'll realize that you barely had to do anything. Easy Peasy.

    And just so you can see what I'm talking about, Take the Diffuse Map and open it in an image editor like Krita, Gimp or Photoshop. Scale the Diffuse Map down to 4096 x 4096 and save/export it into the -uav-01- texture folder, just make very sure that you give it a different name. Take note of the size in mbs and then in HitFilm switch out the 8K Diffuse Map in each material slot for your new 4k Diffuse Map and notice the quality and speed.

    Oh and don't forget to toss into your timeline with a light and an HDRI environment map for sure. Trust me, you've got to try it.  


  • @spydurhank This is great advice... GOLD in fact!

    @danilkp1234 I am just curious... What kind of space ship are you wanting for the landing shot? What is it landing on? The ground, a landing platform, a space port, inside another space ship? Where will the camera be to shoot the landing? On the ship, on the ground, in the air?

  • edited January 3

    "Now in Graymotion's ISS short, I believe that's all Hitfilm, right Greg? In his case he'd used a model of ISS. ISS doesn't have a lot of detail painted on (it's no in a camo pattern or anything like that), but mostly white paint used to reflect sunlight. In that case all he needed was the Cook-Torrance shading because, well, ISS is all metal! Also, Greg had the benefit of working off some really detailed notes I'd provided on all the Cook Torrance options (Greg, you still have that?),"

    Mike is dead on...the ISS is 100% Hitfilm - although the model is a blend (I couldn't have use of displacement for canvas's and such in HF) shading worked perefectly. While working with metal and the cook-torrence shading was a breeze (once he and Tony "slapped"me around a little bit) once I wrapped my fingers around it it wasn't to bad...not perfect but not bad.I'll dig around and see if I can find the detailed notes Mike provided over the course of my endeavors and post it here for @HeySiri to reveiw. Sorry for  confusing you with the term PBR....btw - in my day PBR was Pabst Blue Ribbon so my confusion was probably worse than yours.

    Also - @danilkp1234 - I'm going to do a short little video for you and try and show you how to animate a "ship" landing. Jay has good questions for you as to what type of landing you are looking for but I thought I simple example might help you somewhat...so stay tuned.

    @spydurhank - Have I every told you you rock? You rock man!!!


  • @GrayMotion I am also looking forward to seeing those notes and the accompanying video! By the way, if you ever need someone else to "slap you around" besides Tony, I would be happy to volunteer! :)

  • But what if my 3D model ends up needing multiple textures? I know there are like different material groups usually on a model but what if there aren't and it's all just one big material according to Hitfilm, how do I get around this? Open it up in Blender and do something?

    I do know the basics of Blender and spent a few days studying basic texturing and modelling, but I'm certainly no expert in it.

  • in Blender, you'd need to know how to apply materials to an object in Edit Mode. But it takes a bit more than that to get it to export over to HitFilm and still be usable. 

  • @spydurhank ; A big amen +1 to that sentence man.  Still trying here... after a couple years with Blender classes and YouTube tutorials.  :)  Progress? Sure, but nowhere near your level by any stretch.

  • So how do I add a new material group? Are there any tutorials about it on Youtube? All help much appreciated!

  • In Blender you can add materials in the Materials tab of the Properties window then tab into edit mode and select the faces you want to apply the material to. After selecting faces, go back into the Materials section and up by the preview you shloud see a button named "apply" or something like that. Click it and your material is applied.

    It is a million times easier if while in Edit Mode, the mesh is made of Quads. You will have a difficult task if the mesh is made of triangles.

    You're gonna want to export to HitFilm when you're done and that is a whole other story.


    So that I don't highjack this thread :: After some dinner I'm posting "over on my thread" a bit of info and maybe a video on my new custom Blender 2.80.0 build and my brand new Blender 2.80.0 to Hitfilm Pro Camera and Empty exporter addon. I'll do it in the morning if not by tonight. :) 

  • @spydurhank thanks for the basic info! That should give me enough info to find a more in-depth tutorial!

    What do you mean exporting to Hitfilm when it's done is a whole other story... is it easy to do?

  • Yes if you built the model yourself because you can prepare it in advance while you are modeling it. Not easy for something that you did not create yourself and could be very involved.

    I'm porting some addons to Blender 2.80.0 that help with Exporting 3D objects over to HitFilm in a few clicks. I used one of the addons to bring in a 3D object from BlendSwap. It was animated with a walk cycle and had no textures. With my addons I was able to tweak and add geometry with smoothing groups/hard edges, UV unwrap and texture, retarget the walk cycle and finally export to HitFilm along with an Alembic animation in just under two hours. Marking hard edges took the longest as this is a step that is way easier as you build your mesh.

    Before I built these addons a few months ago or however long it has been, something like the above described would have taken at least a week. Two hours vs a week is a no brainer.  

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @spydurhank Dammit, Frank, we're gonna break @HeySiri! Bad enough I threw hours of Hitfilm tutorials at him, now we gotta bring Blender into the mix?

    Observations: Blender, as a dedicated 3D program, can do things with models and materials easily that are a pain in the butt in Hitfilm and Blender can do things with effort impossible in Hitfilm. Blender also has video editing and compositing abilities, but that sort of work is kind of annoying in Blender and really easy in Hitfilm. The key takeaway here is to not fall into the trap so many do of trying to insist one program do all things all the time.

    If you choose to go down the Blender route, in the long run it's a smart idea. You are committing yourself to a totally different program and extra steps moving things between two programs. Fortunately Frank's tools are about to make this a lot easier. Blender is...kind of love it/hate it. Personally I find Blender a pain to use, but I don't have the thousands of bucks for 3DS MAX, so I occasionally fight with Blender, but it always leaves me grumpy. Take that as just personal experience, not as a slam on Blender, because it's an AMAZING tool.

    Whether you try to do everything in Hitfilm or move to a Blender/Hitfilm workflow, do watch the videos I linked above. You'll find a lot of the Hitfilm techniques apply in Blender and vice/versa. 3D space is 3D space is 3D space and both programs use the same type of 3D space with nearly identical widgets as an example - except Blender and Hitfilm have the Y/Z axes reversed relative to each other... Certainly look at the three Essential Hitfilm episodes on Animation. Keyframing is common across all animation software, and the types of interpolation curves Hitfilm uses are also common. The controls and icons might change across programs, but, if you learn to Keyframe in Hitfilm, you've just learned Blender, Vegas, After Effects, Avid, etc. Same with the Essential Hitfilm that goes through rigging a Dalek. This is a good walkthrough for Hitfilm, but in Blender you will also create points (nulls) and parent. Blender can get into "bone rigs" or "skeleton rigs." Well, bones and skeletons are (wait for it) exactly the same as point rigging! the "Bones" are really a visualization tool to keep the point order/hierarchy easy to understand. This is covered in the Essential Hitfilm videos by using lightning/lightsword to draw a "skeleton" of the point rig. The 3D model material settings in Hitfilm are identical to Blender as far as Hitfilm goes. Blender's Phong and Cook-Torrance shaders are doing the same things in the same way as Hitfilm, but Blender will add other shading options and other types of maps. I'd argue starting with Hitfilm (since you're already in Hitfilm) tutorials for 3D models is the way to go. Once you get familiar with Hitfilm, jump to Blender and you'll see you've already learned the basic principles in Hitfilm, setting you up for the more advanced stuff in Blender.

  • @Triem23 ;I've learned the basics of Blender. All I plan on using Blender for is facial tracking in one scene, potential 3D camera tracking (depends on if I end up using mocha) and the material settings if need be. But, I found some great 3D models last night that I haven't bought yet but they might be good enough to not need Blender. They say they come with textures and even show the textures files in the preview images.

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