CG Tornado

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CG Tornado

Postby All-Fired-Up on 05/10/2009, 9:37 am

I posted this tutorial a little over a year ago over at CGTalk and I posted it on my blog and over at 3D Attack (featured in their online magazine), and I thought I should post it here. :D

You can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BROSxch-_Mw&feature=channel_page&fmt=18

(Be sure to watch in HD) ;)

**
Now there's probably a hundred ways to do this, this is just one way, So here goes the tutorial, enjoy!

I wanted to share a tutorial I did for making a realistic tornado in After Effects (I am using AE CS3). The only thing you'll need is good storm footage and the effect called CC Mr. Mercury.

I actually got the idea to do it after I finished Andrew Kramer's "Water Drop" tutorial.

I started playing around with the filter effect called CC Mr. Mercury. And I found that I could indeed create a very realistic, pretty passable, spinning debris field. I'm sure there are a ton of ways to create good tornadoes, but I thought I would share mine.

The key is good storm cloud footage. Without it, you'll be hard pressed to get it looking real. Or end up trying to do it in 3D which is even more difficult. Not impossible, but not easy either, I know I've tried (I use Cinema 4D 10).

So here goes. I bought Video Copilot's "Real Clouds" for $75 you get a lot of great cloud footage. Real Clouds here: http://www.videocopilot.net/products/realclouds/

I used 03.mov, the one that definitely looks like a tornado would spawn out of.

To get a general idea of the animation you can see it over at youtube. I just uploaded the HD version of this tornado.

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1) Drop in the storm cloud footage, 1st layer.

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2) Duplicate that 1st stormy layer to make a second storm layer and flip it vertically.

3) Now find a good place in that footage for a funnel. It takes some creativity here. I just picked a spot of clouds that would be suitable for a funnel.

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4) Put a mask around your desired spot of the vertical clouds for the funnel. Now remember this is all the way I did it with the storm clouds I used. Your stormy clouds may be different, so be creative and look at real tornado footage and photos for ideas. Shape your funnel to your desire. Your sort of limited in certain footage so be sure to shape the mask so that the funnel looks like it's "twisting". It's all about illusion.

Oh and don't forget to feather!!! or else you'll have sharp edges on your funnel, a big No-No.

5) Rename this layer "funnel" for clarity. I put a second mask on this same layer (Mask Subtract) so I could feather out the top of the funnel so it would blend well into the bottom of the dark clouds.

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6) I animated the mask (mask 1, leave mask 2 alone) so that my funnel would start to come down out of the clouds to the bottom of the scene.

7) That's it for the funnel other than I keyframed the position for it to move left to right in the scene following it's debris field which I'll explain next.

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8) The debris field was fun, and adds some more realism to the tornado. Now some of you may decide of other ways to do this, I just did it using CC Mr. Mercury after I toyed around with the effect.

9) Just like in Andrew Kramer's "Water Drop" Tutorial (link at top) duplicate your original storm cloud footage or photo and then go to Effects>Simulation>CC Mr. Mercury to apply this cool effect to that layer. Rename this layer "Debris".

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10) Here are my settings for "Debris" Now I also resized this debris field to be small and in proportion to the twister so you'll need to do that too. I also added a mask with lots of feather.

11) Add a direction blur to the debris because it's flying fast in circles and you want it to have a motion blur effect.

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12) in addition to the debris field (not shown in the above photo), you should add a dirt or dust field which is just the same cloud footage duplicated again, and masked with a heavy feather. The debris and dust field need to have the same horizontal movement across the ground (same position keyframes) as the funnel.

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Here (above) are my animation settings for the Funnel, Debris, and Dust.

That's actually how easy it is. Again, the key is good footage. I've learned over a course of a couple years that it's nearly impossible to get a realistic tornado going in 3D or 2D without some kind of actual storm footage. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is someone out there that has done it. But this is the way I found out how to do it with a deadline.

Additional Effects: Lightning (lightning effect in AE), rain/hail and water drops (see Water Drop tutorial by Video Copilot).

Thanks for viewing! I hope everyone can find this tutorial useful. I can't supply the project file because of purchased footage, but I'm sure there's some free storm footage out there somwhere (National Weather agency?)

For $75 "Real Clouds" is a great buy!

Happy Compositing!

~Dale Jackson
http://stratoart.blogspot.com/
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby grizley on 06/11/2009, 9:06 am

dupo..wl.az
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby TheGav on 06/13/2009, 2:58 am

awesome tut dude
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Hollywood in just 5 minutes
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby DJStratoArt on 02/5/2010, 1:40 pm

Recently I found that someone on youtube ripped off my original video, the one with the raindrops on it. :[p

I had to find my files and then I did an enhanced HD version of it. ;)

You can see my "burden of proof" of the CG tornado here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS1ubu-it9A

and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roLDEkQvIj4

Both were just recently uploaded and hopefully will be done in a few minutes, if not, just wait and the uploads will be completed.

This tutorial was also featured in Cinema 4D's CG Attack Magazine, issue April 2009.

~Dale
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby Minicou on 07/11/2010, 8:56 am

Thanks a lot to share your knowledge and to made this very good and clear Tuto.

I really Appreciate it !!!!

PS : I just read this tuto because you posted an comment on my name "Loubano" in youtube.

Again thanks a lot
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby All-Fired-Up on 11/1/2010, 3:23 pm

You are very welcome
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby MikeM1991 on 11/12/2010, 5:44 am

I'm new to after effects and am finding it a bit hard to follow this tutorial from step 4.
Would someone be able to put up a video tutorial please?

Many thanks
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby MrGodlyy on 12/20/2010, 11:44 am

Thanks, I was wondering an easy way to do it :)
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby SonofBrimstone on 12/28/2010, 10:12 pm

This is awesome. I was expecting something either simple but corny-looking, or awesome looking but complicated. This looks good and is pretty simple, thanks for the tut.
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby DJStratoArt on 04/15/2011, 11:29 am

You are very welcome! I enjoyed making it. Key is getting good stormy footage that has good rotation in it.
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby kmfilmz on 04/20/2011, 2:12 pm

not bad, not bad at all...
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Re: CG Tornado

Postby davidxge102 on 04/30/2011, 10:33 pm

nice link...
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