Graymotion's Production Zone



  • @GrayMotion Wow!  That looks awesome.  Looks like the Constellation met its match with the Planet Killer.

    Anyways,  I stepped through your test and I can see the fire being occluded properly.   Plus it goes by pretty quickly and would be hard to tell if its not perfect. 

    To boost the flame you might need to parent a flare to the flame positions to goose the brightness.

    Another trick might be to duplicate an individual fire layer and fiddle with the blend mode to Add more brightness.  Or combination of the two?

    Great work!

  • Well - in the spirt of the Hitfilm University Youtube channel's up coming space contest I thought I'd also stir the pot further and spark the mind as @HitfilmSensei has done with his "Going Down" short film.

  •  @GrayMotion Very nice! I like the subtle movement of the camera.  Definitely creates an enticing mood. Eager to see more!

  •  Looks good!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    A nice counter to @HitfilmSensei ;

    He did the sweeping epic establishing shot, you went for full POV. Nicely done! 

  • I'm just going to leave this here.

    2 things: - Damn you Youtube...crushing the blacks! and ; damn the poly sparkles on free models :-(

  • Looks great. FWIW I did not see any sparkles. If you are referring to something at 0:20 , to me it looked like an intentional internal light. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Nice!I didn't see poly flickering either, but I viewed on a phone. I'll look on a larger monitor later. 

  • edited June 2017

    I see what you're talking about, but it still looks good. :)



    Move your light farther away from your model, that should get rid of the flickering. :)

  • edited June 2017

    Thanks for the eyes on folks. Much appreciated. 

    @spydurhank - Yea. Not so much. It appears that in Hitfilm 4 Pro the further the light is away from a model effects the edges of the shadows. Blocky shadows just drive me crazy. I took the model into Blender to check for doubles. The poly shine also shows up in there especially across the radiators and all the truss segments along the main body. Tried removing doubles but no luck there. If you keep the camera tight and keep those areas out of the shot things seem to be ok...but restricts me a whole bunch. Like it has been said a thousand time..."I'm my own worst critic".

    If you can't tell I'd like to enter Hitfilm U's space contest but I might not be able to submit an entry??? Maybe @Triem23 can answer me this. It appears that NASA material may be used for commercial use without permission as long as there is no mention of NASA endorsing the end production. The models I used in my shot are from NASA's 3D section. Upon reading the terms of use there appears to be no apparent copyright claim to any material produced by NASA and that material can be used both in a non-commercial and commercial (for monetary gain) applications. Right??

     A note - to my complaining about the blacks being crushed by Youtube. It appears that the color temperature of my IMac is much darker than the color of my Acer XG series monitor on my PC station thus the images are vastly different in terms of brightness and contrast. Things I produce on the Mac are to light when viewed on a different monitor and vice-versa ,things I produce on PC with say an Acer are dark on Mac screen. 

    - This has been catalog and stored into my mellon now for permeant recall:-)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Grey, just budget in a second or two for credits. I think you're ok. 

  • @GrayMotion That sucks man, I like what you started.

    So moving your light either worsens the flickering or gives you aliased shadows. I won't trouble you with needless guessing again but, I took another look at your video and there are a few geometry  issues that appear as if they could be fixed by changing a few settings in your HF project and model... although the problem could be anything so it's really a crap shoot to try and figure it out. 


  • edited June 2017

    @spydurhank No No...indulge me with your knowledge.  I'm no expert here at all so any advice is received with open arms. There actually isn't enough talk about the 3D rendering side of Hitfilm IMHO so...

    I assume you believe it has something to do with the textures (diffuse, specular and normals)?

    I dropped both spec and normals and run just diffuse with almost black (dark dark dark grey) diffuse color and specular color and the damn darn flicker persists. away...what you think?

    BTW.....I took the model back into blender, textured it in cycles with nodes and made a camera pass past the truce's. flicker. ?  ?

  • @GrayMotion to cut down on guessing, a screenshot of your project settings will narrow down the problem. :)

    I agree, there is very little talk about the 3D side of HF. I can see so much potential in it that doesn't come from one point of view.     

  • @spydurhank @GrayMotion ;  Agreed we aren't seeing a whole lot of discussion on the 3D rendering side of things.   <Rant to follow . . .>

    I've recently experienced flashing shadows on a spaceship model I've been working on and had to turn off shadow casting to make it go away. 

    I couldn't swear by it but there seems to be some relationship between turning on Ambient Occlusion along with shadow casting that exacerbates the problem.  Plus, I can't be perfectly sure that the model I'm using has zero errors (since I didn't build it) but HF is very unforgiving in that regard.  If there is even a hint of a problem you are rewarded and blessed with render errors.  But I can take that same model into Lightwave and don't have these problems.  (Yeah, I know . . . hardware render vs. software render.)

    Other issues I am working on is trying to get a handle on getting UV textures completed (as in not having to go back and make any changes otherwise you start over with HF), importing into HF and then trying to add lights, etc. within a prebuilt comp.  Then importing the 3D comps of separate objects into another comp and trying to light the whole thing.  

    Working out animating 3D models from embedded comps can be tricky, too. 

    And another thing that chaps my Arse, is this whole "Joined Material" crap when you import the model.  I guess the deal is, if two material names have exactly the same RGB value then HF in its infinite brilliance will join those materials into one.   That pretty much sucks if you want to manipulate those materials in HF and change the shading.


  • @Stargazer - I found away around the "flashing shadows" at least while moving linear - parent the light to the model point. That way the light and model are consistent to one another.  Only thing I noticed is the light can't be to far away from the model- something like 300-800. As far as ambient and shadow casting  -  agreed that there is some problem there. I found that you can control it a little bit by the lights shadow diffusion - something like 6% seems to work. For me - least wise in space scene -  I find that putting the ambient color on the model to black or almost black and setting the ambient light to a white 15% -20% really helps out what shadows are to look like in space with a low / high angle from the "star".

    And YES - joined materials - that is a show stopper. If it's a well textured/ poly model then it's not to bad...but if the models is not well built and the textures are 8 bit .bmp files - well that sucks. Parts of the joined material are ""ok" while others just make me wanna puke on my screen.

    @spydurdhank - Project settings - I can go up to 32MSAA but that really takes the spark out of fine details but I digress.  So for this particular project I used 16 bit-float, 16xMSAA , reflection map - 512, shadow map - 512, 3D map - 4096

    A big birdie recently lent me a few tips about the advanced tab of the models properties - namely Methods/faceted and smoothing. Also to my clueless mind (at the time) camera clipping settings. These two really appeared to help with the flicker (if the model is decently built).

    I can't talk fluent tech speak (yet) when it comes to 3D models but I'm inching every closer to knowing WTH is going on :-)

  • edited June 2017

    I thought I'd drop this here with a question attached -

    I purchased this non-commercial use model a few months ago and was slightly surprised on how the renders differ when it comes to the textures.

    The heat blanket surronding the main body looks real good in the Blender render and looks decent in Hitfilm - baring one exception. Bump.

    The question - is the massive difference between the two renders because one is using baked textures (Hitfilm) and the other is using modifiers (Blender)???

  • I only have Express, so I can't speak to HitFilm's specific 3D texture features, but I think the difference is clear if you look at the bigger picture.  Blender is designed specifically for 3D, and designed to give you tools to make those 3D objects look really good.  The 3D features in HitFilm are (from my perspective) secondary to those for compositing and FX.  It doesn't have advanced 3D animation features, nor does it have as powerful a render engine as Blender.  In short, when it comes to 3D features, there's really no comparison.  Blender wins hands down.

    If you're serious about getting great looking 3D renders, do all your animation and rendering in Blender (or any other 3D software), export PNG sequences with alpha channels, and bring that into HitFilm for post-production.

  • edited June 2017

    @jsbarrett - Yep. I understand that and when the time is right I'll do a bit of that BUT Blender is slow, slow, slow. My starry night scene took 8 hours to render a 10 second clip. I have an Aurora Borealis that if I let rendered to 250 frames would take 80hrs. Not very productive ;-)

    My question is more geared towards making the best use of Hitfilms unified 3D space and the textures diffuse, specular and normals that can be used. There is little conversation about the subject but believe me it's very powerful. Triem23 , Tony Cee, Simon, Aladdin4D, Stargazer and Syrdurhank to name a few have done some fantastic work with the 3D module so I know it can be 1 10/th the render time.

    I imagine that I can't get the look of C4D, Lightwave, Blender , Poser, Daz or the like renders but I should be able to make it look pretty convincing barring bad models.

    Thanks for the input sir.

  • Echoing what @jsbarrett said and what you suspected @GrayMotion, I believe there will always be a difference between a software render and the GPU "gaming" render from HF.  Yes, Blender (or a bona-fide 3D package) will give you more control over surfaces and a better render.   Plus any "modifiers" or procedurals available in Blender et. al. are not available in HF.   @Triem23 has always said that rendering to a 32bit png sequence from your 3D package is your best bet for quality.

    That said, it is so tempting to want to do everything in HF.  It is real time rendering!  You see the results of your tweaks immediately rather than waiting on a rendered sequence to finish.   A huge improvement on workflow.

    Unfortunately we have to work within the limits of the software and its dependence on GPU rendering (rather than in software).  But I've seen work coming out of HF that looks "pro".  So it can be done.   Surely one of us will unlock the secrets of 3D rendering with this thing.

    As far as joined materials - the workaround is to vary the RGB values slightly and I have found that fixes the issue (so far).   Good call on parenting the light to the object (or parent).

    BTW, I viewed your "work reel" and you have some shots in there that look like real footage!  Notably the Gunship firing shot and the Gemini rendezvous.  Far and above quality suitable for broadcast FX.   Hats off to you, sir!


  •  @GrayMotion  I know this is probably silly to ask, but have you switched your render settings in Blender to GPU compute?  I had thought mine stayed on GPU but just recently found out that it was defaulting back to CPU on each new project and it has makes a big difference for me. But you probably are more Blender proficient than I am and have this already covered.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Grey, raise your Reflection and Shadow Map values. A lot. 

    Hitfilm doesn't raytrace, but calculates a rasterized shadow map based (I think) on an imaginary camera at the light's position.

    Right now your shadow map is 512x512. Take that up to 2048 at least. 4096 if your computer will handle it. Your shadows will get a lot smoother. Same with reflection maps. 

    You can change map sizes in Project settings, so you can keep shadow maps at 512 as a "draft" resolution while editing for speed. Toggle the map to a higher resolution while setting up lights for reference, then back to a low res while animating for speed, then back to high res for render. 

    Ok, now I have to go back and read rest of the thread. That jumped out at me immediately. 

  • Oh hell no @Triem23! Bumping those up REALLY changed the shadows. What a difference. Fact is...all my lights need to be repositioned to reflect that change. Awesome sauce my man!

    @tddavis - Yep GPU computed, experimental. Really makes a rocking difference when it comes to render time. That PC I bought in December can really run circles around my Mac. Rocks out some solid work with that 1070. Me a happy camper :-)


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    So, yeah, Blender vs Hitfilm. 

    Obviously Blender is more advanced. Any dedicated 3D program is. 

    So, we've touched on shadow/reflection mapping vs raytracing. A few more observations:

    First, I'd not done enough testing to figure out the "joined material" glitch, so, thanks, guys. That's good to know. 

    Second, Gray, as long as you don't change the UV coordinate mapping, you can update a texture map and have it automatically update in Hitfilm. 

    Third. Hitfilm is very exact in what it loads in for models, and it loads the exact base specs of a 3D model format. Sticking with OBJ, that's a 1980's format that predates some current techniques. Some software will do things to certain model formats that "hack the format" but Hitfilm loses the "illegal" data (this also applies to mp3--original mp3 spec only allows a single ID3 tag and, sure enough, Hitfilm won't load an "illegal" mp3 with multiple tags). 

    Now, again, shadows and reflections are based on rasterized maps, not raytracing. Faster, but you have to manage the shadow map size manually. 

    Blender has a variety of render methods. Each renderer uses different math for different results, and and has different strengths. We won't discuss those here. 

    Hitfilm has two render models: Blinn-Phong and Cook-Torrance. 

    Blinn-Phong is an older model--Blinn-Phong calculates light values at each vertex and the normals, puts a gradient between these points then runs a smoothing filter based on smoothing settings. Blinn-Phong is great for glossy and plasticy materials. 

    Cook-Torrance is a physical shader model. I think I've done a rough breakdown of the controls elsewhere and I go to work in a few minutes, so for now I'll just say Cook-Torrance can simulate a microfaceted surface (roughness) as well minor subsurface reflection (not scattering), and changes in reflected color based on Angle of Incidence of light rays (Fresnel). Cook-Torrance is fantastic for metal, decent for stone and wood, and middling at anything organic. 

    Diffuse Reflectivity is giving a result very close to image based lighting and is a value likely needing to be tweaked per project, depending on the background. For a space scene this is usually a low value, but if using a Spherical panorama (photo)  or inserting a model into a video you'll want a high value. 

    I've noticed in Hitfilm it's usually smart to reduce texture and specular colors to mid range values--if the diffuse color of a model is 255,255,255 it looks a lot better if you change the value to 128,128,128 or so. 

    I've also noticed its often better to drop Hitfilm's lights. My key light Intensity is usually closer to 80 than 100.

    Oh, for space scenes I'll usually leave a model's ambient color at mid grey, but put my ambient light at 9%. Those who know broadcast will recognize that's raising shadows to a broadcast black and letting space fall off to superblack. 

    @NxVisualStudio should have insight since he's building model kits specifically optimized for Hitfilm renders. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Btw, Gray the Blender render times given--2 minutes per frame isn't bad for 3D. The legendary Mojo recently shared a 4K render he did of Enterprise-D in Lightwave. It's the broadcast model from Voyager (so built for 1990's TV--so low resolution by current standards), and he put three lights on it. He said it "only" took two hours to render... 

    In the movie "Frozen" it's been noted that there's one particular frame that took 170 hours to render on Disney hardware! 

    So two minutes a frame is fast! Still slower than one wants when one has only a single PC they don't want locked up for three days, but... 

  • Mike - I'm not sure if I've given you the credit you deserve lately. You truly have a very, very good handle on the Hitfilm and one hell of a good insight on the industry itself. 

    I'm thinking  one thing right now. I wished I'd have posted these questions a month ago or for that matter a year ago.. I've been building a "scene" for about what, 3 weeks now?. Struggled with shadows for over a week it seemed and as a result I did a no no and added more light to compensate for the TERRIBLE shadow casting. The map size was defiantly something I overlooked. As a result of your speedy typing those shadows are now perfect in geometry and fade...oh..and them extra light...gone!

    If we were closer in time zone's I'd buy you the beverage of your choice sir. Thanks much for opening your head here. Kudos bro!


  • "Notably the Gunship firing shot and the Gemini rendezvous.  Far and above quality suitable for broadcast FX."

    @Stargazer54 - Thanks. I worked pretty diligently on both those although I can't take credit for the concept as they are both AE tutorials that I followed. Was a blast! I'm thinking of doing a few more like the Gemini shot just because I like the whole concept of space vehicles and travel. NASA has some pretty good images online these days of those mission that would work well with parallax effect.

    I really like the Gemini rendezvous myself. I was 6 years old when that mission happened. I remember watching the WASP recovery. In fact I watched every broadcast of our space missions that was on the tube back then. Man those were the days! 


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @GrayMotion no worries. I just need to power through the remaining bits of Essential Hitfilm to move onto Mastering Hitfilm, which is the Pro-only series. I think we've discussed shadow maps and Cook-Torrance before back when HF4 launched. Long ago. But I look forward to getting the video tutorials in the bag for 3D models, Particles and Projection. 

    I'm too young for Gemini, but I remember the last Saturn V launch, all of Shuttle... And I'll certainly never forget Challenger. 

    Since my bartender comps my drinks when I KJ we'll pretend you bought this Guinness. *toast*

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