3D lasers in 3D space

Hi im working on a space scene in a 3D composite shot on HF 14 exp my only is that I can't visualise laser firing simply because when i add for instance light sword (layer only) as a 2d plane it cant be seen in 3D which is ovbiously because its 2D not 3D so i switch it to 3D plane which can either be seen from the front or the back not the sides bottom or top so having a ship flying over them ( camera parented to to follow the ship) would  result in these lasers being unviewable 

so i try another method which is the phaser effect that only lasts about a second and for this effect to repeat it self say for instance rapid fire from a single cannon i have cut and paste 30 times for a 30sec composite which results in my desktop crashing and never opening the project again 

i tried is modeling a cylinder in blender to the shape and the colour and glow required but I have no knowledge of blender or 3d modeling at all every tutorial i have watched that could of possibly helped me achive this goal has been of the older versions of blender  i have the latest 2.18 also the 3d models i do have has  been free down loads  I did ask in some facebook groups if anyone could make a 3d laser bolt for me but nobody seems to want to give any adivce on the subject one person how ever asked if hitfilm supports PBR  which i dont know 

so what i tried then was a 3d obj that id created and exoorted from blender (no materials) changed it to 2D plane added neon glow effect and i had exactly what i wanted it was a laser bolt i could see at every angle and I got excited added the amount I needed (50) with  paths for from one ship to another but then I notice these amazing bolts i created could be seen through ship if i had a laser fire from the front of a ship I could see it if I was looking at the back of said ship so i changed it to 3d plane and again I could not see it from the back top bottom or sides  i switch it to 3d unrolled and the effects tab is not there so I genuinely don't know what to do next 

is there anyone kind enough kind enough to help me with this project that's taken nearly a month to do by modeling a 3d obj laser bolt in blender with textures and materials  and send it via wetransfer I am willing to pay the person who makes this for me $30 for their kindness ive spent weeks stressing myself out trying other methods for this project this is genuinely the last straw before I give up on a project that would look awesome when finished

thank in advance and appologise for such a long read


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Observation 1: Modelling a 3D bolt in Blender isn't the issue here, and isn't something you should pay $30 for. Whatever you've built already will do the job. That's not your issue here.

    Observation 2: The next time someone asks you if a program supports "PBR" raise your eyebrow and sneer at them that they need to be more specific. "PBR" means "Physically Based Rendering," and, as a term, it's about as helpful as saying "3D model" or "Digital Audio File." It's a generic term that gets misused for baloney marketing. Hitfilm DOES support "PBR," for the "Cook Torrence" shader type is a physically based renderer. Then again, Lambert is a physically based shader. There's a whole bunch of physically based shaders. Blender's Cycles is a PBR shader. So is Oren-Nayer. Also Hanrahan-Kruger... In fact, while people overlook this, the Blinn-Phong shader mode in Hitfilm is ALSO "Physically-based." So, yeah, again, when someone asks you if something is "PBR," you make that person be more damn specific. Or, tell them Hitfilm has TWO PBR shaders. Sorry to spend so much time on this note, but there are certain mis-uses of terminology that drives me crazy, and PBR is the hill I'll fight and die on. Another word that's lost all meaning here is "effect." As in "Hulk Effect, plz." or "Spider-Man web effect." Stop it. Those aren't "effects." None of the "Effects" in Hitfilm are effects. They're digital filters or generators. AAAAAHHH!


    So the issue you're running into here has to deal with both order of operations and Hitfilm's compositing modes.

    For 3D models and particle systems, the "2D" Composite mode calculates and renders the 3D object in 3D space and renders the object to a 2D layer. This is also how Element 3D/Particular/C4D layers render in Aw for comparison. After rendering the image is fed to the layer's Effects for further filtering. This applies as well as certain filters that render fake 3D (such as Sphere, 3D Extrusion and Animated Lasers). In this case the order of the layer stack determines with layer renders on top regardless of the Z-space coordinates of the objects. Also see the note on Grade Layers, below.

    Models/Particles composited in "3D" calculate and render the image to a 2D layer. The 2D layer is positioned as a card in 3D space. The model is then passed to the layer's Effects for further filtering. This applies as well to certain filters that render fake 3D (such as Sphere, 3D Extrusion and Animated Lasers). In this case, true 3D position determines the render order of the layers, however, as the layers are 2D cards, they cannot be viewed from all angles. Also see the not on Grade Layers, below.

    Models/Particles rendered as "3D Unrolled" are caluculated, but are NOT rendered until either a 2D image/video/grade layer is encountered about the 3D unrolled layer, or the top of the layer stack is hit. For embedded Composite Shots, 3D positioning of layers in the Embedded Comp will be maintained. In this case position in Z-space determines what appears in front of which, but, effects filters cannot be added to 3D unrolled layers.

    NOTE ON GRADE LAYERS: Grade Layers have the effect of adding a single filter to all layer below itself. It dowes this by forcing a render of all layers below itself, then passing that image to effects for filtering. This means that Hitfilm's 3D space is separated into different "batches" by grade layers. If you're not aware of this you can run into glitches that aren't errors. For example if layer 3 is a 3D model, lyer 2 is a grade layer and layer 1 is a 3D light, then the model on layer 3 isn't lit. Layer 2 (Grade Layer) forces a render of layer 3 (model) before layer 1 (Light) is calculated. This also means if you have a 3D model on layer 5 a grade layer on layer 3 and another 3D model on layer 1, the model on layer 1 ALWAYS renders in front of the model on layer 5, even if both models are 3D unrolled. The grade layer on layer 3 forces a render of the model on layer 5 before the model on layer 1 is calculated.

    Most of this is you've already figured out via observation. These are the exact behaviours you've described.


    For filters like the Lightsword or Animated Laser you could try opening up the layer's Properties and set an Alignment for the layers "Towards Camera." The will keep the 3D layers always pointed towards the camera and might give the effect you want. bear in mind the lightning/lightsword/animated laser drawn on this layer is still on a 2D plane in 3D space and the occlusion is determined by the position of the 3D layer not whatever position keys you're using to generate the lasers. Still, this might work.

    As far as the Animated Laser filter (I'm assuming this is what you're referring to when you say "phaser effect" as Hitfilm doesn't have anything called "phaser.") goes, there is absolutely zero need to have 30 layers of this. It could all be done on a single layer with proper keyframing of your elements.

    Crashing your system does beg the question of what your spec are. CPU, GPU, OS, RAM and Storage? Not directly needed for this question, just thinking you shouldn't be crashing Hitfilm with 30 offset layers of laser, unless you have a pretty low-end GPU.

    I'm gonna split this answer into two parts... This one basically re-identified the problem. Next one will get more into the solution.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

     Right... How many spaceships do you have in your shot and how do they cross around each other?

    There are multiple methods in Hitfilm to properly calculate occlusion.

    For one, you can put multiple models onto the same layer. Yes, spaceship A and spaceship B can actually be in the same model layer. This means both ships will properly occlude each other, no matter what. Individual models within the same layer can still be parented to individual points. So, in this case you'd dial down into the layer's properties and link/parent each model (in the models tabs of the layer) to its own point. both ships would move independently in the layer. Just don't parent the LAYER itself to a point. You'd have to parent the model INSIDE the layer. However, all models on the same layer share the same block of effects filters,

    You can put multiple models and layers into a single particle sim. 3D models used as particles in the particle sim generate particles that follow the motion of the original model layer. You can generate a single particle from an emitter of a certain model and that particle will follow the motions of the model layer. I've done massive animations simply linking models into particle sims. You could even have the particle sim generate your lasers from a different emitter. In the particle sim I'd probably use the Sparks Streaks texture, turn off Billboarding, turn on Align to Motion, then add a lot of Y-axis rotation and Alpha Boost.. Or, use the 3D cylinder model. Again, the limitation here is that the entire particle sim uses one Effects Block.

    Hitfilm has a "Depth Layer" function. A 3D model/particle layer can use any layer BELOW it as a "Depth Layer." If I have a model on layer 2 and a model on layer 5 and I set the Depth Layer for layer 2 to layer 5 then those two models correctly occlude each other. Both layers would stay in 2D comp mode, so both layers get passed to the Effects block. Which layer should depth layer to which layers? Not certain, it depends on how your Comp is set up.

    There are also Depth Map and Depth Matte effects, but I'm not getting into those right now.

  • edited February 14

    Hi thank you for your reply

    my desktop specs are

    windows 10 
    intel core i7-9700 octa-core processor 

    ram 16gb DDR 4

    graphics card Nividia GeForce RTX 2070 super - 8gb gddr6 

    storage 2tb - 256gb ssd 

     And all drivers are up to date as of monday

    also thank you for the detailed solution I like the idea of the particle sims and emitter and will look in to that 

    the phaser I refer to is located in presets>3D effects>quick 3D>phaser 

  • I have around 38 stationary ships such as droid control ships and venator Star destroyers but will be adding smaller craft (Jedi fighter, vulture, arc, and tri droids 

  • @MJlawson91 Man, that sounds really cool!

  • Thank you 

    I plan on making post clone war Star Wars fan movie unfortunately I cant find any post clone war 3D models old republic ships for example so I’m going to try and sell it as a “clones vehicles came from somewhere” lol which will then lead on to several duels with different Sith Lords (gotta put some use in to my kylo and black Jedi robes) but the open scene I want is as with any Star Wars movie is the space battle 

    I’m going to try going to the London comic con in hopes of meeting Ian and asking if he could a few lines in palpatines voice and composite that in to the movie as well 

  • Sorry pre clone war not post 

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