In this tutorial we will be creating a Futuristic Heads Up Display inspired by the film Iron Man. This 30 minute tutorial includes building self-animating components in 3D space and reactive lighting.

Watch Tutorial

Just a friendly reminder to check out our high quality DVD’s. We appreciate the support and we promise to keep making exciting new tutorials! Also a reminder that all of our products work with After Effects 6.5-CS4 for those planning on upgrading.

January 28th, 2009 @ 9:51 am
I am SO excited!
January 28th, 2009 @ 9:56 am
January 28th, 2009 @ 9:57 am
Wow !! Thanks alot.
Jan Grohn
January 28th, 2009 @ 9:59 am
love it
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:01 am
juhu my first comment
nice work as usual andrew
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:03 am
NICE. another excellent tutorial by the MAN! You rock AK
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:09 am
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:09 am
Hawt, you rock so much.
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:10 am
Nice Man, looks sweeet!!!!
Wow! 6th post! that's a first for me.
thanks once again.
To bad it is Sam's face though. ; )
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:15 am
ooleeey! hoopaa! hahahah!
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:20 am
Thanks for this. Now i will watch.. :-D
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:21 am
Great one...
This effect could be used to create the MINORITY report virtual screen effect too.. i wanted to do tht for a long time.
thanks andrew...
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:24 am
Awesome. <3 Andrew, but do you <3 me?
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:44 am
Thanx Andrew 4 this Nice Tutorial....
You have done it again 4 us.......
Onemore milestone crossed........
January 28th, 2009 @ 10:49 am
OHHHHHHH, YEAH! Absolutely incredible, Andrew, and once again just in time to teach me techniques I can use to put the smexy in our project! Thanks so much!
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:00 am
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:04 am
Very, very, cool!

January 28th, 2009 @ 11:05 am
Wow year very impressive. It inspire me to do a lot of HUD Test videos :)

Now the next thing I would like to see, is how to create the effect of Iron man, where Toni Stark is trying to building up the design of the suit. This holographic body where he is adding parts, and moving some parts to the recycle bin ^^

How did you shoot that scene? So probably a spotlight with a black background?
Greetings from Germany. And Iam so sry because of my terrible english.
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:06 am
Robocop oh yeahhh! I worked with a grip from that movie
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:15 am
Yay! Another great tutorial!
David W.
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:23 am
Wow, another great tutorial from the master! If this was the Star Wars universe you would be the the ultimate Jedi master(or Sith lord). Well, I hope you'd be a good guy! :) By the way,when are you going to start making tutorials with CS4?
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:20 pm
It's here! It's here!
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:25 pm
AWESOME!..I'd say the best tutorial yet!!!I loved it!!oh, BTW sweet Robocop reference!!
Sander S.
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:25 pm
Finally! Totally amazing!
Brian W.
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:25 pm
Man another great tutorial from the master. I love this one so much because you used some simple techniques to make something that looks just amazing. Great job AK.
Terence Ho
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:42 pm
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:42 pm
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:52 pm
YES! I was wondering how the tutorial would be called...
Thanks Andrew.
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm
Another awesome tutorial from the funny man, thanks Andrew!
January 28th, 2009 @ 12:58 pm
Awesome stuff! This is really great.
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:12 pm
Great tutorial AK, the way you present this makes it really look easy. I think you forgot more about AE then we all together ever knew :)
I got one question about your workflow, I never see you use shape layers in AE. Shortly I had a lot of problems using them in a 3D AE-comp, although I stagered them nicely in z-space (about 50) and precomped them they started to flicker and pop up randomly.

Is that the reason you dont like shape layers?
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:23 pm
Lol... Sam has two right eyes... =P
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:33 pm
Hey Andrew, now that I have watched the tutorial, I gotta say: Amazing, one of the best tutorials because it not only teaches you the effect but it also inspires you to add stuff in. I also like the way you covered things faster, without explaining too much some things you already explained in other tutorials (I am glad you didn´t waste time motion tracking and instead you showed the cool lighting tip). Anyways, another classic tutorial and soon we will be seeing lots of YouTube attemppts on the HUD Effect. Thanks Andrew.
Seth Johnson
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

This may not be the place to ask, but maybe you could consider doing an effect of heat waves like you see in the desert. It seems like it could be one of your cool small tutorials.
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:38 pm
haha sweet! I've not watched it yet and I already know it's gonna be cool lol. Thanks for doing this stuff guys.
Some Guy
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:57 pm
Great tutorial! Can you maybe write a couple of words about lighting the actor? How many lights did you used and how were they set up? Thanks.
Phill Jinks
January 28th, 2009 @ 1:59 pm
Nice to see that you mentioned the reflection in the eyes.... really sells it!

Nice job
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:12 pm
looks epic, one again great job!
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm
Very cool! I don't think I'll be using this tut to create the same scene, but maybe some day I'll need it to create something futuristic, like a robot eye ;)
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:21 pm
Wohooo thx andrew kramer!!!!!!!
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:26 pm
Thanks Andrew, as usual!!
Now I know how to make cool stuff from one of my favorite 2k8's films!
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:36 pm
Hi,its true andrew
We must have to focus on your great stuff.
please why you give us an advace for upcomming products.
I think that sometimes not everybody is intresting in all the stuff, this new tutorial i guess is not so usefull like many many others.

January 28th, 2009 @ 2:54 pm
I always comment how great this is and how great your tutorial is... however, although this tutorial is again the great, the result looks quite stupid - admit it :)

For Seth: Image Lounge plugins from Red Giant have a Mirage plugin doing exactly effect you want.
Pat Norman
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:56 pm
andrew kramer built this in a cave... from SCRAPS!!!!!!!
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:57 pm
Haha the video ends while you are talking lol.Do you do this on purpose?:D
Jorge Bolivar
January 28th, 2009 @ 2:59 pm
Nice work Andrew, excellent tutorial!.. talking about huds, definitely the robocop's one is the grandparent of the iron man's shown here... but the most bizarre of all is the one in the helmet of the predator... is such a shame hollywood wasted a nice character like that. Now these day we can do that hud simply putting a little bit of colorama in AE, but back in those days of the original movie... man.. that was mind blowing LOL... cheers pal...
January 28th, 2009 @ 3:00 pm
Wow kwl this has really inspired me got 2 work the instant i saw the tutorial Gr8 wrk as always Andrew
January 28th, 2009 @ 3:02 pm
Simply Amazing! You guys over at Video Copilot bring the fun back into editing and even better allow for some amazing creativity. Your tutorials are perfect, comprehensive, humorous, and the end products are nothing less than astounding. After following the concepts in your tutorials I often sit back and marvel at the work you have helped create. Truly you do the world of media creation a wonderful service and I would like to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation for your all your hard work!
January 28th, 2009 @ 3:19 pm
Eh...ive seen better. HAHA jk ;)
January 28th, 2009 @ 5:25 pm
yes yes yes !

from Thailand
January 28th, 2009 @ 5:50 pm
Here's the technology.. ok! all i want you to do is to make it smaller.... but i'm not mr kramer.. heheheheh.
thanks mr. kramer and to the VCP team.
January 28th, 2009 @ 6:43 pm
"andrew kramer built this in a cave… from SCRAPS!!!!!!!"

lol. Amen to that.
mohamed ez eldein
January 28th, 2009 @ 6:52 pm
veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy goode
January 28th, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

Sam Loya to President!
January 28th, 2009 @ 7:21 pm
very very nice....this will definatly come in handy
January 28th, 2009 @ 8:10 pm
I learned a few new tricks in this tutorial.

Thanks Andrew
January 28th, 2009 @ 8:12 pm
By the way, is there anyone here that has a Netflix account that didn't just add the Ironman Bonus DVD to the top of their queue? Or just me? haha

Thanks again!
John Paite
January 28th, 2009 @ 8:41 pm
I like the tutorial.. one thing that would make it better would be if the shot was closer... i,e: Sam's head could be closer to the cam.. that way it wont look like all these things are happening inside a room instead of inside of a helmet.
January 28th, 2009 @ 9:34 pm
And let's don't forget the HUD for an episode of Stargate Atlantis and an other HUD for an episode of Middleman, that used similar tricks to these HUD shots in the Iron Man movie (they appeared months before this tutorial appeared).

In the gallery, see "1.11 The Clotharian Contamination Protocol".

Stargate Atlantis:


Sorry for my english here. :D
Peter C
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:02 pm
Great tutorial Andrew! Didnt know it was so easy to generate random text. :)
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:28 pm
very cool tutorial, you awesome, nice work

well because you are a great man, keep it coming.
January 28th, 2009 @ 11:44 pm
Andrew You are mine private King of special effects. Thenk you for this tutorial. Greetings from Poland - Opole.
January 29th, 2009 @ 1:01 am
January 29th, 2009 @ 5:54 am
Fantastic tut. You are truly a wiz with the AE.
January 29th, 2009 @ 6:04 am
Simply Kramericious!!!
Thank you!
January 29th, 2009 @ 6:13 am
Hi Andrew... I know this is free tutorials and I have been a huge fan for along time.. But it does seem that you have tons on your plate right now and it is really showing in your tutorials.. :( I have seen great samples all over youtube with HUD vfx... and was so waiting to see how you would do yours.. but after seeing the video I was so shocked and bummed out.. I know your busy busy but I'm sure we can all wait for the good tutorials to come in.. Sorry for the bummed post.. I just wanted to be honest..
Moca MX
January 29th, 2009 @ 6:32 am
What is the font on this image??? Please i need it badly!
January 29th, 2009 @ 8:58 am
Can you please post the original footage WITH SOUND!
I really want to hear what he's talking about!
January 29th, 2009 @ 9:11 am
Very cool
January 29th, 2009 @ 11:09 am
Wow! There's so much good stuff in this one... Love it!
January 29th, 2009 @ 11:40 am
Man, i would know **** about After Effects without VC.
January 29th, 2009 @ 1:16 pm
Sam's gotta keep that stash!
Luc D.
January 29th, 2009 @ 5:49 pm
Thanks AK! Because of this tutorial, I decided to go beyond and figure out eye tracking with rotation (meaning that the targeting circles follow the path of the eye). Thanks again to VideoCopilot.
January 29th, 2009 @ 7:53 pm
Hey Andrew,
Cool tutorial.
I just wanted to stop by and say thank you. Not only for everything you do for the AE community....but you just gave me an idea with your latest tutorial that will actually effect a multi-thousand dollar stage-production that I am stage-manager for.

We've decided to create a psuedo 'HUD' for our characters, which play out on a projection screen during the live action scenes. It's hard to explain, but it is going to look amazing in the final show, and if it wasn't for me stopping by a seeing the 'HUD' tutorial, I never would have thought of that.
We'll probably design our HUD completely differently to your tutorial, but still, it's the inspiration that got this ball moving, and I thought I would thank you for that!
Cheers from Florida
- Simon (Small Island Productions)

side note: love this site....seriously. if there was ever a way i could marry and have a kid with video copilot....i would sooo, do it. anywho, im off. thanks.
January 30th, 2009 @ 8:40 am
Another thank you here to you Andy. Thanks for tackling stuff like this to inspire us!
Does anyone know how you would parent or use an expression to change the color of the "shield" display from green to yellow to red to indicate status like in a video game?? Thanks!
January 30th, 2009 @ 8:44 am
Lumin Design,

Saw your site... it's great. About the tutorial, (I know you know this) think free. :)

January 31st, 2009 @ 9:45 am
Hey Andrew...that was HOT! I am desperately looking forward to you doing a ipod type feel sam moving things around with his finger on the screen. Do you know what I mean? You know the famous Ipod roll?
January 31st, 2009 @ 10:34 pm
that is very good ..........!
January 31st, 2009 @ 10:38 pm
it it's not only gooooood it's crazy....!
February 2nd, 2009 @ 5:42 am
Tutorials not playing anymore :(
Flash Player 10,0,12,36
February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:53 am
Thanks AK...... you just rock
February 2nd, 2009 @ 2:58 pm
un trabajo exelentemente brillante felicitaciones andrew
February 4th, 2009 @ 1:48 pm
Thanks for the tutorial, love all you stuff...keep them coming...if you wanna see what i did with this tutorial here is a link:
José Silva
February 5th, 2009 @ 4:07 pm
Awesome tutorial! Will definitely give it a try
February 7th, 2009 @ 6:31 pm
Hey, great tutorial Andrew! I have Riot Gear and several other discs from VC. One problem I keep having - as soon as I make the 1st 2 circle masks, then draw the 3rd mask and make the layer 3D, when I rotate the masks, they change from circles to ellipses! Anyone else have this issue? I can't figure it out, I am step-by-stepping with the tutorial on 1 monitor and AE on the other. It's driving me buggy!
February 10th, 2009 @ 12:09 pm
Oh no! The awesome San Francisco studio that created the Iron Man effects, The Orphanage is closing:

February 10th, 2009 @ 2:27 pm
Brilliant work Andrew!!! as Always
February 14th, 2009 @ 3:28 am
Really nice :) i have Adove After Effects CS4... how can i make the file from after effects to be a file as you can look on like not in the after effects program? :S
example in VLC so the file is like AVI or something like that :S or put it up on youtube :P

Witch Program are you useing when you are recording you're tutorials? :)
February 19th, 2009 @ 2:02 am
Hi Andrew, Did you know that la Sexta, a leading television channels in Spain, has used this tutorial and others for their ads? I liked that videocopilot is increasingly known in my country.
carlito de loskarios
December 9th, 2011 @ 6:21 am
I have to use any plugins to create a futuristic scene?
Before Posting
We're trying to encourage more thoughtful commenting.  Please take a moment to write a meaningful response to this post.
* Name
* Email (will not be published)
* field is required