TDDavis' Li'l Projects thread - Dragon Action Cam 3 test footage In Pool - 8/9/2020


Okay, all. I've been working on my Jupiter 2 project some more after seeing Stargazer54's crash in:

I'm still trying to figure out the debris that gets pushed up in the crash.

I have 3 shots in the pipeline at once but they all have little “glitches” that I need to correct before they are halfway presentable. This one is just halfway, but the earth render was too good to not go ahead and show. It was from a Cinema 4D tutorial I found on Youtube here:

I downloaded it and tweaked his model just a bit to suit my needs and had it rendered on a friend's old copy of C4D in 4K. I had some problems with the atmosphere getting lost in the alpha (it shows in the PNGs but doesn't when imported as a sequence, so I rendered with a black bkg and used demult finally.) It was a 5 hour render!

The motion of the J2 has a couple of spots I'm not happy with yet.

Here it is:





  • That's fun! Merry Happy Jolly ti you and yours. 

  • Thanks.  I'll be Merry Happy Jolly curled up on the couch until time to cook Sunday.  Just hit Wal-Mart for the last time this season for a humidifier for the the new grandbaby (#10) as I call her, and I will not leave the house until Monday barring nuclear war or other major disaster.  Never seen so many cars in the parking lot! Hope your holiday is peaceful too.

  • edited January 2017

    Oops, I thought I was just editing the title and deleted the original thread post and video as well and put this new one at the top.   It was my Merry Christmas video. Here's the link again.

  • edited January 2017

    Happy Holidays, Davis family!!! And nicely done!

    BTW- I hope you weren't stuck in that snow globe long! How did you even get in?

    The Jupiter 2 vid looks good too. Once you get the kinks ironed out (the parts you mention with the J2 motion) I hope you post the finished version. And now I've got the Lost in Space theme rattling around in my ear........wait.....yup- there's the second theme too. lol

  • edited January 2017

    This is my attempt at the BlenderGuru tutorial (with help from others here) composited in Hitfilm. Hope to add the Jupiter 2 soon.  I think there is too much motion of the secondary rocks though, so this will get tweaked, I'm sure. But first, I'm dying to try out inScapeDigital's tutorial for stormy skies.



    Here's the tweaked version of the Jupiter leaving Earth.

  • @tddavis IMO the fact that all the small asteroids are rotating the same way looks a bit weird... maybe add some that rotate the other way?

    also, your wee asteroids seem to move through your big asteroids as though there's nothing there, but you've probably noticed that already...

  • @JMcAllister  Yes, I did and I don't really understand the particle system because I turned on (or so I thought) collision behavior.  Something I have to explore further also how to apply a more random rotation to them.  I, too, did not like those two spiraling in sync in the center bottom.   Thanks for the look at it though.

  • edited January 2017

    This is a critique from a HFP newbie, so take it with a grain of salt. Agree with JMcAllister on the asteroid problems. As to your saucer leaving earth, it's a good start.  Your atmosphere around Earth needs blending, some glow, and some graded thickening, but the stark light on the saucer is realistic to the light in space...except that I think your saucer must be made of chrome to be so shiny.  Also, the angle of light coming from the sun doesn't seem to quite match that which is shining on earth on two vectors. (I suck at lighting in HF, so far, so I can totally commiserate.)

    Are there that many stars perceivable at that distance from Earth? You might check that. When it comes our home planet and solar system, things have to be pretty accurate to what's real, now. I'd check NASA photos and star maps.

    The camera needs to be smoothed in its pan to follow the saucer, I think. And, at the time location in the snip where you change to a camera pan, you might...maybe...want to try disorienting the camera to Earth-centric and become space-centric, instead, so that orientation seems to be watching the saucer intently and following its movement. (I know what I mean, but don't know how to say it. Sorry.)

    It's a great start! Better than what I could do, right now. Hubs (short for husband) called one of my ship's flight MIB comedy!


  • @DLKeur  Always trust the eye of a graphic artist.  I went and looked and (I think this is what you meant) I had but a light above and below the saucer the light it separately since the Earth render lighting was done in a 3D program and imported as images.  I turned down the upper light and moved it to a slight blue color and positioned so it "might" look reflection from earth on the top side and also cut back on the specular on the saucer a bit.  If I remember from the show correctly (harder and harder to do as the years go by) the hull was some sort of Titanium alloy that didn't really exist but your right, on the planet it wasn't that shiny.  Thanks for the tips.  I will look into the camera move too.

  • edited January 2017

    I think the angles around about 30° off.  And the light you have on the underside as the saucer does its Split S needs to be closer to the edge of the saucer that is closest to the sun.  Get out a spoon, go turn on a small, bright light, and 'fly' your spoon in the same position in space it would be in your video. Watch what the light does and where it tracks on the spoon's convex surface. Sorry if I'm sounding ridiculous, here.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @DLKeur ridiculous? Using the spoon as a real-world reference is just smart! Isn't "reference, reference, reference" a mantra?

    tddavis others already gave good notes, but they're all minor. A few little tweaks and you'll have the Robinsons on a fantastic looking adventure.

    You're in Pro, right? If so, why not build the asteroids in the particle sim? Other than taking the opportunity to improve your Blender skills, of course. 

  • Thanks, @Triem23 .  I shudder, sometimes, at things I say, though. I really do sound out there, sometimes. :D

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @DLKeur every cel animator in the world has a small mirror on the  desk and a full mirror nearby to use him/her self as posing reference. All the comic artists use reference. Alex Ross, as an example, takes pictures of reflective objects before painting. I wouldn't say you sound "out there" for suggesting smart techniques. 

  • edited January 2017

    Well, @Triem23 , were you to see the looks on the faces of folks in my family when someone asks me something and I say stuff like that, you'd understand my reticence. Let's just say that they're ready to dial up the men in white coats.

  • @DLKeur Your comment reminded me of something I read more years ago than I care to remember about the Brothers Hildebrandt and how they would approach things. 

    For something like this they would spend time in different patches of trees or forests. Sometimes for hours sometimes for just a few minutes at a certain time of day all to study nothing but the light and how it played through the trees. Once they had a plan for the lighting they wanted and had it sketched out for reference then they started on the rest. 

    So no I don't think you're out there at all. 


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @DLKeur the non-artists just don't get it. ;-)

    I'm fairly certain I have the same look at people talking sports. Wow, lot of effort put into watching others play a game. 

  • @Triem23  Yes, I was wanting learning more Blender and saw this cool tutorial, but to be honest, I did not even realize that I could do it in Hitfilm   I have not had much luck using the particles in Hitfilm with the sandstorm project and liked how quick and easy it was to make the biggest 'roids except for that issue I had texturing but it was pointed out to me I was in the wrong render mode and that opened things up a lot.  @DLKeur I did not think the spoon thing was ridiculous at all (not being an artist myself) I have watched enough behind the scenes stuff of Disney animators to appreciate the concept.  Working at those kinks now...I hope.

  • edited January 2017

    Okay, let's make one thing very clear, here, @tddavis ! You most certainly are an artist. Oh, yeah. I'm telling you so. And I know so because, as an artist learning to use Hitfilm, I can tell you that making videos from scratch, even by just combining other videos, but especially when rendering their elements, then dressing them, then animating them, is very graphic intensive the gazillienth power. It means working with focused intensity on one image, translating that through time, to blend, then fuse, with the next image in perfect symmetry, that next image also having required intense, focused concentration to execute. Then multiply that effort to however many frames are contained within the video.  Oh, yes, it's art, all right.  Art Cubed.

  • Love the jupiter 2, when I was a kid I always wished I had one to play in because the sets were so cool... hence imagination had to take over... hahaha.  Have thought about your shot... and maybe you would like to try. Stacking composit shots together on your time line.

    Your bottom layer could be your starfield and planet, the camera would be static (unmoved)

    Your second layer (the next composit shot stacked on top) could be your jupiter 2 (Try this) have it move in a straight line tword your camera or at a slight angle to the side of it. (Change the Juiter 2's axis or tilt as it approaches the camera by setting a starting keyframe at the beginning, and then one at the end of the clip with the ending tilt angle) that will take care of of the models movement.

    And then lastly, use the camera in the same composit  shot as the jupiter 2 set a keyframe at the beginning of the shot for your cameras position and move the camera up and then at the end of the shot make another keyframe on the cameras position and move the camera down and to the opposite side of where the jupiter 2 is going, and if you want it fancier keyframe the angle of the camera (at the beggining when the camera is at the top, tilt the camera down at the jupiter 2, and then another keyframe at the end of the cameras movement at the bottom tilt the camera up at the jupiter 2

    This will make the ship appear to fly at the camera and arc upward silky smooth.  Old school notes: back in 1977 when star wars came out (before CG) the handmade models were on poles and didn't move... it was the motion controlled camera that moved giving the illusion of the spacecraft moving.... I guess special effects is synonymous with thinking outside of the box.  When I get home later, I'll do a quick demo of what I was trying to describe to you above... nothing fancy.

    Great job!


  • edited January 2017

    @ArtMitchell Thanks for the suggestions.  I look forward to seeing what you described.  The next to last paragraph of description has me a little confused but it sounds intriguing. I'm sort of halfway there with the layers:  The starfield in an atomic particle layer with the environment map layer added, the earth is an imported render from 3D modeling on its own and the ship is an imported model and on its own layer, but they are not separate composite shots (so to speak) if that changes things from your guidelines.  I copied and pasted them for easy further reference

  • When I did this, I opened hitfilm and selected start editing, then I imported my media, 3dmodel of the planet, 3d model of the saucer, and then my starfield. (I made one along time ago that is simply massive and I use it for all my space scenes.  I created a composite shot and called it backgroud (i put my starfield in at the bottom, the 3d model of the moon on top of that, and added a light positioning it on the 3d plane to give the moon  cool shading- sometimes giving the light a little different color is cool too like a very very light bluish purple-almost white on grey models works really nice... there that is composit shot 1.

    Opened another composite shot and imported my flying saucer model... to save time in animating it, i scaled the size down so i wouldn't have to push it back so far in the 3d space.  Now in the saucers controls I opened world transform and made and on the "position" line I made a keyframe and pushed the model back as far back as i wanted to make it look small.  Then I moved to the the last frame on the timeline and added another keyframe and then i moved the flying saucer forward past the camera. that all sets the flying sauce to fly from way in the back to forward until it passed the camera.  now back to the beginning of the timeline still under the world transform section of the models properties I added a keyframe to "z rotation with a value of (-26) that tilts the model left by 26 degrees, then I moved to the last frame on the timeline and added another keyframe to "Z rotation" with a value of (33) this tilts it to the right side 33 degrees on the other side.  Ok so now your model moves forward and banks to the right when played.

    Next click on your camers properties (transform properties), on the first frame I set a keyframe  on the position line then I moved my camera up and to the right (all to taste, but don't go too far).  then i went to the last frame on the timeline and set another keyframe then i moved the camera down and to the left past the place where it was when I started.  viola! the camera moves... but still i did two other things.  at the first frame of the clip I made a keyframe on the (x rotation) line, this controls your cameras up and down axis (like your head does when you nod.) so I adjusted the rotation to look down on the model.  Then at the last frame of the clip i added another keyframe and then pointed the camera looking up to where the model was before it flew past the camera (that one you will have to see where it will look the best on your own.  One more movement keyframe to go.  At the beginning of the timeline still in the cameras transform  controls set a keyframe on (Y rotation) this turns the camera right or left (like a head on a swivel) I tuned it to the left so that my model was more centered.  then at the last frame on the timeline I added another keyframe and  swiveled it to the right to the place the where the saucer was  just before passing the camera, again you will have to judge what looks best for you.

    OOoops almost forgot.  copy the light from composite shot  (1) and paste it into composite shot 2, that should match the light angle on the planet and light your Jupiter 2 similarly you might have to tweek it a bit.

    Now all you have to do now is stack them.  So leave your composite shots and go to the editor from your media pool where your elements are kept, (i.e. sauce, planet, stars) you'll see your composite shots listed.  drag composite one onto track one, then composite shot 2 onto the track above it.  make sure they are lined up right. and that's it... all you have to do is render your timeline. 

    So here is what i just described.

  • @ArtMitchell Thanks for the further instructions.  I copied them, too and will try to follow them in my best inadequate method.   Since my Earth is an imported image sequence I hope that I can still follow along.  What do you consider simply massive on your star field?  Mine is a 2048 sq plane with the environment map effect like Simon's tutorial. 

  • My starfield is 7680 x 4320 and its96 dpi... I know the dpi is low, I don't know why I didn't save it at a higher dpi, I guess when I made it I wasn't thinking... oh well.

  • @ArtMitchell  Okay!  That is massive.  I rendered my Earth at 4K but my Hitfilm Composite is only 1080p. I'm not even sure what the DPI on the star field is.  The Earth is 150; I remember setting that.  Here is a revised shot I was working on before I got your breakdown.  I adjusted the lighting, I hope to be more accurate but I didn't want to add it my Youtube because I plan to try out your example, so I put this on Google Drive.

    I'm trying to add a static shot of the interior I rendered in a 3D program to the cockpit but so far it escapes me.  Also, trying to get the dome to blink is proving a challenge for me.

  • @tddavis For glowing lights and such (like the dome) check out this tutorial

    I fact the whole page at has some pretty useful info on working with 3D models.

  • i like your Jupiter 2 model, i have a real crap one.  God bless you Irwin Allen... some cool stuff you came up with for us kids back in the day

  • edited January 2017

    @ArtMitchell  Years ago I purchsed one from Renderosity and it was great but there were things I needed to change about it to make it accurate enough for my tastes, but my modeling abilities stalled and this one was "loaned' to me by Al Dinelt (Look for his Youtube channel he has some beautiful renders there) to use for my projects.  I would be nowhere without his work.

    @Stargazer54  I watched that several years ago when I still only had a 32 bit system and couldn't follow along.  I'd forgotten all about it.  Thanks for reminding me.  I'll give it a go now.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Minor note @tddavis ArtMitchell. 

    Dpi is meaningless in video. Dots per inch only affects print scale. For video it's just absolute dimensions.

    Interesting saucer pass, Art. Basically organizing the shot like a 1980's compositor, separating your BG plate, doing a simple, single-axis model move, cheating the camera to fill in the arc! Certainly a valid way to approach the shot.

    Oddly enough, although that would actually create a slight lighting mismatch between moon and saucer it might look "more realistic" since we're used to seeing that look from movies of the period. 

  • I feel dated. Haha.  Hey do you remember that really thick book put out by ILM back in the 80's about spfx, it had like a billion full color pics and folded page pics.  I must have gone through that 50 times or more throughout the years.  But awesome stuff!

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