Help with a Whip

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Help with a Whip

Postby Todd_in_AZ on 08/7/2008, 10:18 am

Hey everyone,

Since this is my first post, let me get the obligatory “Thank You” to Andrew Kramer, that After Effects demi-god, out of the way; Thanks Andrew! You’re the Best.

Not sure if I should post this request for help here or in the 3D section, but I'll start here. If it ought to go somewhere else, I’m sorry guys.

Working on a pilot episode for a futuristic noir/thriller (In the technological decay of a 22nd century city, a former cop searches for his father’s killer). Our story contains a futuristic WHIP – yeah, like a bull whip…think Indiana Jones. It figures prominently in our story, but because of insurance and our actor’s odd desire to not lose an eye, we’ve decided this has to be done CG.

Does anyone have an idea how this might be accomplished? Specifically, I need the whip to fly through the air and hit people. I’m a fairly experienced AE guy; but inexperienced in the 3D modeling world, which is where I assume this would have to start. Maybe there’s a 3D model I could animate then export into AE? I’m not sure, but hopeful that someone here might steer me in the right direction.

OR if there are any 3D modelers out there who are looking for a project to work on…get a hold of me. Copy & Credit.

Here’s the teaser trailer, takes a minute to load: ... ter39.html
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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby Leigh on 08/7/2008, 10:23 am


my suggestion is to create the whip in 3D and add bones to it, so you can animate the articulation of the whip cracking.

AKA Noddy

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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby Todd_in_AZ on 08/7/2008, 10:33 am


Thanks. Is that something I could do in Blender? I've exported some buildings and camera movements from Blender with good results, but haven't used "bones" with any of the objects there. I'm sure there's gotta be a tutorial somewhere on the web that would walk me through it.
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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby Seth Johnson on 08/7/2008, 7:00 pm

Yessir, Bones in Blender work phenomenally. It basically involves making an armature chain the shape of your whip model (which I'd highly recommend modeling as a straight pole type shape) and then working with vertex groups. I don't know of a tutorial off hand, but I know it's possible, mostly because we've done almost the exact same thing in blender. ;)
Seth Johnson
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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby joshfilms on 08/7/2008, 8:36 pm

Very cool trailer and I concure with the others about the 3d whip.

Did you make that digital city in AE/PS/AI? What programs did you use for trailer looked nice had a Spirit feel to it.
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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby wjm1138 on 08/8/2008, 8:33 am

Hi! I enjoyed the stylizations in your trailer. Looks like a fun project. I'm going to suggest an off-beat idea for the whip that you could do right in After Effects. Trapcode 3D Stroke!

Now I know you can't texture it, but if you decide to do an energy whip thing, maybe it would work for you? You could track one end of the mask that the stroke follows to a grip the actor holds. As long as it didn't look like something a Ferengi might use. :roll:

Anyway, you could download the demo and try it out on your footage. Too weird? Maybe.
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Re: Help with a Whip

Postby Todd_in_AZ on 08/8/2008, 3:24 pm

Hey thanks for the kind words on the trailer. Yeah the the whole cityscape thing was one that I did in Blender and rendered out a PNG sequence, then composited it with the live action footage and a whole lotta Sapphire lens flares to help disguise the really poorly crafted spaceships I made. It was my first time using Blender (any 3D program for that matter) and I was really unhappy with the textures and overall look which is why I darkened everything a lot.

wjm, Seth...I'm gonna try both of those scenarios. Think I'll check out trapcode 3d stroke first. Since I just recently got Particular and love it. Man armature chains in Blender sounds kinda scary...but I'm gonna give it a try! Seth, any hints you might have would sure be appreciated.

I'll post clips of the results.
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