Graymotion's Production Zone



  • One pass. Cone angle is small.. 15. Must be my imagination.


  • I see it too.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited April 2018

    Sorry Greg, missed your last question. 

    I don't think you had a "Gimbal Lock."

    Attached is a Wikipedia article on gimbal lock with a specific subsection on Euler rotation, which applies in Hitfilm and Ae (and Blender?). Long story short if a gimbal lock happens, it's usually at a multiple of 90 degrees. If you've ever tried animating something in 3D and found that (example) changing the Y and Z values are generating identical motion, no matter which axis you manipulate, THAT'S a gimbal lock. 

    One way to get around that is to see if one axis of rotation can be split to either an orientation property or a parented point... 

    Which, incidentally is another advantage of multi point camera rigs. They don't gimbal lock nearly as often as a single point.

  • edited April 2018

    @Triem23 Sorry to do this again, but... attached where?

  • Thanks Mike - I guess I need to just permanently use your camera rigs you've described. It is so easy to have the camera just follow a point but I do get "funky" action from time to time with the camera.

    I'll change my workflow a bit and at first have the camera follow the point. I should then be able to take that data from the follow point and convert it to the camera rigs motion that way I still get a solid lock on the targets motion

  • I've definitely missed some sweet stuff since I last spent any time on here. Beautiful work! 

  • edited April 2018

    I recently ran back into an issue with motion blur on a particle system turning particle textures transparent. After pondering for a minute I went to the manual and I quickly found the answer to this issue.

    Alpha boost - when using motion blur particles can become semi-transparent. The alpha boost can be used to return these to full solidity.

    Thank you for the manual :-)

  • edited April 2018

    @GrayMotion Just saw this update where you mentioned Alpha Boost.  I was working on a test several months back and ran into this issue with motion blur causing my particle textures to become semi-transparent.  I reported it as a bug, and oddly enough nobody mentioned this feature listed in the manual.  I didn't think to check the manual myself, and my screen size combined with the property tree depth where Alpha Boost sits just shows me "Alpha...", so I had no idea that property was even there.  Gave it a try, and it appears to work, but in fixing the transparency issue it also affects the blur, causing the blurred edges of particles to actually become more solid the higher you crank it.  At the level I have to set it (about 20) to get rid of the unwanted transparency, the edges no longer look very blurred, and in motion it feels more stuttery, which is the whole reason for using motion blur on fast moving objects in the first place.  I still argue that it's a bug, and hope that it can be fixed/improved in future updates.

  • edited May 2018

    Always on the look out for good clear RAW space footage...if you have the ability to work with RED RAW files (say FCPX) you might be interested in this awesome set of files from NASA. These are making for some fantastic backdrops to my ISS model :-),+RED,+RED+Camera,+nasa+johnson&sort=titleSorter&page=3

    You can see a compilation of a few of these here:

    @jsbarret - I agree with your comment on the alpha boost. The more you apply the less motion blur you get. I've been trying to build awesome asteroid fields with the particle sim but 2 things that prevent awesome sauce is the lights don't interact with 3d model(s) placed in a comp for textures. The lighting is there or not...proper shadowing is not possible..and of course the motion blur making the particles transparent...real draw back to great stuff :-(

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @GrayMotion lights aren't reacting to particles? How so? This isn't something I've noticed before. 

  • If I build a comp of 1 sec intervals of 3d rocks and then use that layer as a texture there is no shadowing on the particles...they are lite on or shadowing. One thing here...if you throw a light inside the texture comp you do get the proper light shine on the correct side of the model but as the particles texture angel changes (per the particle engine settings) the shine stays fixed because it's fixed in the texture comp. Of course is my  expected reaction.

    Now if I leave the model in the main comp and nest the other models inside the main model layer, hide that layer and use it as the texture layer in the particle sim the lights then DO interact properly with the model but all the instances of the model are stacked and you cant get randomized texture angles. I'll look at exactly how I had the 3d model layer setup and get back to this in a few...

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Nope I already have your solution. 

    Put the model in the main comp. In your particle sim set up your emitter with the rock model. 

    Twirl open movement variation. Ignore "Texture Angle," since that applies to 2D textures. Look for the individual Rotation X, Rotation Y and Rotation Z controls. You'll have those four Rotation AND rotation per second. 

    The models should be spacing across the entire emitter. I assume you made a big cube. 

    Now for some advanced tricks...

    You can shorten your model layer. It only needs to be a half-second  long. Put the playhead in the middle of the model's duration.  In the model layer, go to the Transform settings, uncheck the chain for "Scale" and activate keyframing. On the first and last frames tweak the Scale. On frame 0, maybe X 150%, Y 75%, Z 90 %--frame >last< something different. You get the idea. Obviously what looks good on the individual model will determine the settings. 

    Back in the Particle Sim go into the Particle Appearance settings and find the Frame options for the Layer settings. Set this to random. Each particle rock will now grab a random frame of the original model. Since your model is being stretched, each frame will have slightly different proportions, adding variation. With scale, initial rotation and rotation per second variation in the particle sim settings AND several different variations of the actual rock model stretched on different axes, you'll get a really dynamic and varied field with only a single emitter.

    If you're grouping multiple rocks on a single model layer animate the scale on all of them AND keyframe their individual positions! Then, not only will each frame's rocks be different, so will their relative spacing. Hell, keyframe rotation, too, so each frame has different relative alignment! You could even get really creative and have a couple of frames where individual sub rocks scale to 0% on all axes (effectively disappearing) to create different clusters. Maybe one frame has three rocks, another frame has two (the third at 0% scale), another with one, then another frame with two, with a different rock being hidden. 

    And that, Greg, is how to create a staggering array of particle variation using one model layer and one particle emitter. :D

    The only caveat is the particle sim pulling different variations will slow things down noticeably, but it's worth it for the sheer awesome you can create.

    Here's a mop for those brains on the floor. ;-) 

  • @Triem23 Wow! That's really a good idea! I may two mops for that. How do you come up with these things?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei um. Experimentation? 

    First shot I did in Hitfilm Pro 3 was a big particle sim shot with 3D models. While playing around I'd discovered most of this stuff. It could be extrapolated from, say, opening the s-foils of an X-wing on a source model and having all the particle clones mimic the motion. It's just a consequence of a particle clone inheriting properties from its source. :)

    In this shot (my first in Hitfilm 3 Pro) the moon, it's rings, the ships, their exhaust, the target space station, weapons fire and explosions are all one giant particle sim... Most of the tricks used are covered in existing tutorials (particle ships are easy. How I got the weapons to explode on impact is covered in my Photon Torpedo tutorial. Only thing that doesn't have a tutorial is how I linked weapons and thrusters... Well, I duplicated the ship emitter and offset it to where the thrusters go and changed the ship models to mobile emitters creating the thrust! Same seed, soawn rate and spawn duration means it all lines up. Same for the weapons...

  • That totally makes sense for the thrusters, but the weapons are firing out toward the target. Did you just key frame them all to end (impact) at the space station with random trajectories, or was it more procedural?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Weapons (mobile emitters leaving smoke trails) fire down and forward. An ATTRACTION Force is centered on the target. Took some fiddling to get a good arc. There are duplicate mobile emitters that are invisible next to the weapons. Deflectors around the target kill mobile emitters. Those kill the weapons but trigger the invisible ones to spawn stock footage explosions. Those are the initial small booms (see Photon tutorial)

    . The big boom is a specifically-triggered (keyframed)  pair of emitters... I did mis-speak above, btw. There's a Quick 3D Shockwave as part of the large explosion. Still a particle effect, but not the sim. 

  • Ah... Attraction! Perfect!

  •  Ah! Of course....and there is the awesome sauce that I was missing. To boot...after @tddavis shared one of your old asteroid comps with me it became clear that I had completely overlooked multiple emitters as a solution to my problem. At first I tried grouping the models in one layer but I found,  along with your advanced tips, that putting the models on their own layer as separate textures for an emitter was the real awesome of the sauce.

    Mike, you are one outstanding individual my man. Your instant recall of Hitfilm's operations is un-matched. Spending time here over the past few years has been a joy for me. It's rare for most to help others to the degree that you do and I for one appreciate a thousand fold the knowledge the spills forth from your brain. If it wasn't for your guidance I'd still be doing "plastic" looking 1970's work.

    Thanks for the mop..I defiantly needed it!

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited May 2018

    @GrayMotion Late to the party as usual, but that link to the NASA footage is friggin' awesome.  

    What is most remarkable is how thin the atmosphere really is.  Shots of the Earth's limb show it as a very thin blur.   That and the Van Allen belt are the main defenses keeping us alive.  (And few have a clue.)

  • edited May 2018

    @Stargazer54 - I read science studies now that claim the Sun's own magnetic field is protecting all the planets as  the Sun's current trajectory is dragging our Solar System through some type of gas clouds with a recorded (how?) temperature of 6000 K. (10340.33 F.) Yes indeed ...that remarkable thin layer is going through one hell of a stress test.

    The RED clips, 126 4 gig files - 1 minute each , are extremely awesome. There are some clips of the Sun clipping the firmament that are breath taking. It's rare for me to stumble across something like this as I live in a cave apparently.  I never knew I hired astronauts to make film for me. Glad to see our tax dollars paying off in a good way.  :-)

  • edited May 2018

    You know how to tell when you have the right amount of spices in the sauce @Triem23 - when your render times for a 20sec comp go from 57 min to 16 hours.

  • I think this is kinda of cool.  I've been playing with a space engine... called Space Engine :

    t's pretty cool for doing time-lapse videos of space or , and this is big for me, you can export the planet/cloud/glow/spec texture maps to use in Hitfilm/AE/C4D/Blender or whatever. All the celestial bodies outside our own 13 are procedural generated terrain and the accompanying maps. If your lazy and don't want to make your own planet texture in Krita or the like the export function of this engine is awesome for 100 of 1000's of diverse planet/moon textures.

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator

     Hmm... looks interesting! 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Gorgeous renders, Greg! I'll have to check out space engine.

    Observation - the new 360 degree effects are useful for creating planet textures. If you've watched my tutorial on planets with the sphere filter, you'll remember a large part of that tutorial was patching seams in the texture? Yeah, the 360 Fractal Noise will give better textures that don't need to be patched... This is where I joke the FXHOME added something to the software that makes a tutorial semi-obsolete.

    Random tip. Whether a paint program or in Hitfilm I've found that creating lens flares as part of a height map can give really nice impact craters. In Hitfilm a Parallax height map defaults to white=low, so a black plane with some dark grey noise (fractal or otherwise) - say black and a nice low value like 5, 5, 5 gives a nice rough base texture with white lens flares becoming craters. Slap a grade on top and use hue/saturation/lightness to drop it to grayscale and you're good to go. Same principles work in krita, gimp, etc.

    Like you, I do a lot of space scenes.

    BTW, Now that your ISS is up and textured beautifully, I suggest you do a lot of beauty renders of her and sell through a stock footage library. If you do some sexy 4k renders you could make a few bucks on the side.

  • Unlike Mike, I do zero space scenes, but I do appreciate some spiffy space rendering, and this latest video fits the bill quite nicely.  Beautiful stuff!

  • To reflect or not to reflect. Thoughts?

  • I guess my vote would be for not. It seems to be reflecting like a mirror which is probably too much.

    Maybe reflecting at 30% of what is there and distorted/blurred as well.

  • For me it would depend what the action is.  If there are elements that will be moving and reflecting then yes.  If it's static then probably not.

  • @GrayMotion If it is indeed a shiny surface then a little reflection would sell.   The first shot has a little too much, and it seems more "dead" in the second shot.   I would say reflect but just bring it up to where you barely notice it.  The viewer may not look at it directly but it would make the scene even more realistic IMHO.

    And BTW, the friggin' Soyuz looks like a photo!  You're sure doing some good work here.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @GrayMotion I'm inclined to say with reflection but cut specular reflection by 50-75% so it's just a subtle hint. 

    The definitive answer is to watch NASA time lapses with parts of ISS in frame to see how she really reflects. Plus, that's a good excuse to watch NASA footage! :D

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