No Helicopter Parking!

It’s hard enough to find parking but why do people have to use up two spots!

Here’s another experiment using Element 3D to simulate shadows for this mid-sized helicopter. Mini-Chopper are Compact and great for traveling! Also great for shadow examples in small spaces.

Element 3D doesn’t do native shadows (yet…) but using some simple techniques I was able to cast realistic looking shadows underneath the helicopter. Sometimes a simple black solid with a mask will work and for more accurate shadows you can even use a copy of the model from a top view.

I even placed colored lights in the scene to match the environment lighting from several angles.

Element DOES have Ambient Occlusion so if you need inner-object shading, don’t forget to use the Ambient Occlusion options to add depth to your scene. See the example below:

I’ll be making some short tutorial tips for this technique and others and remember these work well in other situations besides working with Element 3D, like using particles or stock footage that need shadows to integrate with a scene better.

See sample image

POSTED:
10 years ago
RECENT POSTS
Plug-ins now Apple M1 Ready!
Now that Adobe After Effects is running natively on Apple’s M1 Macs, we’re excited to announce that we’ve updated our plug-ins too! You can now run your favorite Video Copilot Plug-ins with Native M1 compatibility, making our tools even faster on the Mac. These updates are available right now! Learn More and Download!
Plug-in Updates! After Effects 2022 Ready!
The new version of After Effects features Multi-Frame Rendering, which allows AE to render multiple frames at the same time to speed up rendering! We’re excited to announce that we’ve updated our plug-ins (including our free ones!) to be compatible with Multi-Frame Rendering! These updates are available now! UPDATE NOW!
3D Helicopter

UPDATE 2: For no reason here is a snow version. The actual scene takes place on a busy freeway…

Watch Snow Version

UPDATE: I can’t publish anything from the actual project but here is a quick animated version. The turn is a little hard but the comp is at 30fps instead of 24.

Watch Video.

I’ve been pretty consumed lately with a fun project for a client and thought I would share a still frame. Basically it is an action sequence with this attack helicopter, millions of particles and debris.

I actually remember my first helicopter sequence that I made for a personal project at least 7 years ago… Basically there was a missile fired at a car and to avoid impact the driver (myself) rolled down the 2 back windows and the missile passed right through as destruction was averted. I should look for that video and see how it compares today, It’s Probably way better.

Goes to show you that experiments and testing can be a great way to grow your understanding and skills. So, when that big project comes along you will have SOME actual experience. You never know what things you may learn along the way.

POSTED:
14 years ago
PLUG-INS
Aerial Photography with JetStrike

One of the things I learned while creating the JetStrike teaser (in only 3 days!) is the importance of aerial photography. Part of making Jets look powerful and life-sized is shooting them in a realistic way. Of course we can add a touch of Hollywood’s hyper realism but starting with a foundation based on real aerial photographer is critical. With less than a week away from the JetStrike release, I figured I should share my findings.

Here are a few tips that helped me stay grounded while in the air.  I also learned the plural for Aircraft is Aircraft. Dang-it!

01. Camera Type:
Generally the camera is at a safe distance inside another aircraft with a long zoom lens. This is important to avoid the perspective distortion you get from wide angle lenses but it also helps to avoid the miniaturization of the models.  For this I used an After Effects camera with a long zoom like 5,000-10,000 which is equivalent to a 100mm or 200mm.

02. Camera Physics:
When the camera is mounted in another aircraft, there are limits to how fast and how safe this aircraft can follow a subject. Understanding this helps to avoid creating unrealistic movements that would not be possible and unrealistic.

It...

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POSTED:
9 years ago
The Origin of Element 3D

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POSTED:
10 years ago
Animating a Still

After looking at some amazing pictures of the recent Volcano I was inspired to bring one of them to life. I wanted to animate a still image to make it look it was video shot from a moving helicopter. I added some Optical Flares and subtle camera shake to give it a little more life. I also used the liquify filter to animate the smoke over time as it plumed out. There are also some small falling ash particles created with particular.

The flying parallax effect is a little tricky but I’ll see about making a quick tip or including it in the upcoming blog show.

Watch Sample Video

POSTED:
12 years ago