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Bamf! The Nightcrawler Tutorial!

Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:29am

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Aculag

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Rating: +10

Oh.... Mama! It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here! And ready for all of my friends here in these forums to pick apart piece by piece. I'll start at the beginning, and when I get done, I'll stop. By the way, the only reason you'll need an editing program for this is if you use it to capture footage. Everything is done in After Effects. Also, I'll provide a link to the footage that I shot so you can all use it for reference during the thing.

Bamf!

What You'll Need:

A Camera
A Tripod (Unless you're really good at motion tracking and such)
An Actor (Or, if you want to do a fight, multiple)
A black screen (Or a black night's backdrop)
Something that emits smoke (Cigars, fog machine, something along those lines. I used a pipe)
One or two lights
A good area to film in where nothing's going to change
Adobe After Effects
A couple hard-working hours

Alright... Number two pencils out? Let's begin!

GET THE FOOTAGE!

Ok, set up your tripod with your beautiful camera placed on it's head in a place that's gonna be good to shoot. Try and pick a place that doesn't change too often, like... Not a construction site, or a department store. Something like the President's office, or a wide open space would work just fine. Get everything ready. You need to shoot your actor doing his/her schtick up to the teleport, then keep rolling with your actor off screen, and then move the camera over to them teleporting IN. I hope that makes sense. Watch the video I provided above if you need reference on what it should generally look like. This is all up to you what you want to do with it, but you should know that you at least need the footage of your actor, and then a clean background plate without them in it so you can mask them out later. Ok, next step.

PUT IT TOGETHER!

Ok, just throw your footage into after effects so that everything matches up and looks the way it should look and so that the camera move looks seamless. This might take a bit of time to perfect, but it'll be worth it once you're done.

MORE FOOTAGE!

You now need your smoke. Get your camera set up on it's tripod and face it towards a black background of some kind. If you're using fabric, make sure your smoke is about halfway from the fabric to the camera, so the fabric in the background is blurry and it won't be picked up later.
You want to place one or two lights (i used one) facing towards the camera to backlight the smoke. I'll assume you all know how to do that. Anyway, figure out what you're going to use for your smoke, I used a pipe with some baccy burning in it, and blew through the pipe instead of puffing on it. This made a nice stream of smoke. Also, when you're making the smoke go up, you might want to have someone else waving paper near it to make it go WISP! because you'll want your smoke to be as wispy as possible. Once you've got it, we can start the fun stuff.

POOF!

Ok, make a new project in AE, and import your blackscreened smoke footage. Make a comp and put your footage on the timeline, and apply Brightness & Contrast to it, and also Color Balance. Now, make it look like you want it to, and make the color balance filter so the effect is kinda... blue. It should look something like this:



It's a little dark now, but don't fret. Duplicate it twice, and change the transfer mode on the duplicates to Screen. You might want to rotate one of these dupes a little bit, so that you get a bit more of an effect. Mess with the color balance some more on each of those until you get something similar to this:



Lookin a little better, but it's got a long way to go. Make a new comp and insert your previous comp into it. Make a new solid, make it white and make it the comp size and put it underneath your footage (comp1). Now, change the footage's transfer mode to Classic Difference. Now you have this:



Apply a Brightness & Contrast filter and mess with it until you kinda get something like this:



Now might be a good time to apply Time Remapping to your footage and make it so that your smoke pops in quickly, and then wisps kinda slowly. If you need help with time remapping, PM me. Make a new comp and insert Comp 2 into it. Apply Channel Mixer to the footage, and at the bottom of the effect controls, check the box that says Monochrome. Then duplicate the footage twice again, so you have three of those puppies, and it looks similar to this:



Ok, make a new comp again. This is the last one! Import the last comp into it. Apply Brightness & Contrast, and Color Balance once more to fix it up so it looks real nice. Then duplicate it ONCE and on the dupe, lower the opacity to 50%. Now you should have something that looks like this:



Looks pretty good, eh? But it's not a Bamf! yet. Just a neat looking puff of smoke. Make a movie from AE, then open your project from earlier with the footage of your actor.

BAMF!

Ok, now you have your beautiful Bamf! effect. So put it into the footage with your actor, and just as soon as they disappear, put it there. Set the transfer mode to Multiply. So that it looks kinda like this:



I added a Shatter effect on the actor, but I think it looks like crap, so only do that if you like it. And if you do, put a radial blur on it so it doesn't look like crap. Then do the same for when your actor re-appears. You might need to put a keyframe on the Position setting so you can move it with the camera, and also you might need to put a motion blur on it. Just mess around with it until you have something you like. And that's it! Pretty easy eh?

Added stuff: If you want to make some white smoke in there too, take the footage into your NLE and invert it, then export it back to AE and put it on there with your other ones, but lower the opacity a bit so it looks nice.

A few tips: I recommend listening to some music while you do this, so you don't go crazy. And if you start going crazy anyway, go take a break for a little while.

I want to see everyone's finished products, so when you're done, upload it so I can say "Hey! Good job!"

I'll probably add to this when I think of stuff, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. PM me, put it here, email, AIM, whatever. I'm here to help, and that's what I'll do. So good luck! I hope you get as much as out this as I hope you do.

If any of these images aren't showing up, they will be by the end of the week.

Last edited Mon, 2nd Feb 2004, 2:29am; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:34am

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Brettsta

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Nice tut! Too bad I dont have after effects. I say.. PLUGIN!! It would be great. Hope to see it in the plugin section!!!


-Brett
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:35am

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Aculag

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Yes, it is rather limiting to people who don't have after effects. I'll see what I can work out.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:44am

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Hajiku_Flip

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Nicely done, Aculag. I'm sure people could tweak this to make some interesting variations. We need more things like this on FXHome. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:48am

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Aculag

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I agree. I often see things that have titles like "Awesome Bullet Hits" or something and I open it and instead of finding a tutorial or something, I get "How do I make awesome bullet hits?". Heh.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:50am

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FiveIronFrenzy

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I say.. PLUGIN!! It would be great.
Yes, I would love to seee a plug-in!
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:53am

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Brettsta

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You got the shots on the back blackground and then composited it. Can't you just make it into an image sequence and use the add pin in plugger. It would be cool. Great tutorial
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 4:20am

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Gibs

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You know, tutorials like this are a good idea, especially now that Chromanator is out and Alam3 is a few months away (presumably). If enough people could create a bunch, maybe there could be a forum specifically for these types of tuts.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 4:39am

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averagejoe

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Most excellent indeed. It is great that you used a practical effect to create your bamf smoke. It probably would not take too much to turn your bamf smoke into an ALAMDV plugin. You already got the hard work done.

Great fx test. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 4:52am

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Aculag

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The problem I see with making a plugin is that the background on this is white. And doesn't a plugin's background have to be black? If it was black, you'd barely have an effect, since the effect itself is so dark. Any suggestions?
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 5:05am

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Magic_man12

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Make the background green?

(NO CLUE if that would work with plugger)

-MAGIC
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 5:38am

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averagejoe

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Hmm, you are correct. I do not think you can do White backgrounds with an Alpha channel with the plugger. I guess you could try exporting from AE or premeire as and image sequence and replace the white with black in photoshop or something.

I will say this though, there is a bamf/teleport plugin but it is not as "whispey" and "organic" as your footage.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 5:47am

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Aculag

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I'll try and have a talk with Tarn and the boys. Maybe we can work something out.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 5:46pm

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wpl

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send me the images on the white background and I will make it into a plug-in for you.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 6:42pm

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JohnCarter

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Aculag,

If you set the transfer mode to multiply, the white surroundings will disappear? A bit like what happens to black when you put the trasnfer mode to screen?

Could you clarify for me please?
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 9:11pm

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Pooky

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Whoo you finally did it! That's awesome!


Any chance you could upload your bamf footage, with the puff of smoke on a white background?
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 9:59pm

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CX3

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ITS ABOUT DAMN TIME haha. Nice Tut man!
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 10:53pm

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Colincsl

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Is there a way to do something similar to this with Premiere(pro)?
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 11:03pm

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Axeman

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That was beautiful, Aculag! Excellent tutorial, and a very nice result. Nicely done.

BTW - you can use a white background in a plug-in, IF you paint a black line around the very edge. if the edge is white things get screwy, but as long as you leave a thin black line around the edge, it will still work.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 1:14am

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Aculag

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You mean around the edge of the actual effect? Or the entire plugin?

JohnCarter, Yes, multiply removes the white just how Screen removes the Black. And it was the only transfer mode I could find that would do that.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 1:48am

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Pooky

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So your poof Bamf footage will only be a plug-in, is that correct, or could you upload it? (I know, I asked this twice but he hasn't answered, and I want it badly smile )
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 2:10am

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Aculag

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What do you mean?
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 2:12am

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Pooky

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Could you upload your footage of the Bamf effect on a white background. As in the images, except the animated version.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 2:18am

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Aculag

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Patience. I'm working something out with Tarn. Something will happen with it sooner or later.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 2:23am

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Pooky

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biggrin I mean in non-plugin format.... or do you mean that too?
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 2:36am

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Aculag

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Yes. I don't know if it's possible to make a plugin out of it.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 9:30am

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Axeman

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Aculag - for a plug-in with a white background, you need a thin black line around the edge of the entire image. Sorry I didn't make myself clear earlier. For an example of this, grab one of the mask plug-ins and open any of the image files. They all use white backgrounds. Then you simply adjust your alpha channel so that the black edge does not appear.

Hope that answers all your questions.

EDIT: I just thought I'd do a test, so I grabbed the images you posted, along with a frame from your movie, and stuck them together to see what a plug-in version would look like. If you use the multiply option, the white vanishes nicely, leaving you with a very nice looking smoke element. However, Plugger does not currently have a multiply option.

Perhaps when the new plugger is released with AlamDV3, it will have this option. Until then, your best bet would be to make an alpha channeled version if you wanted a plug-in version. Probably easier to just composite the footage in another app, though.

[/img]
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 7:20pm

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Slick

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the images dont appear I think there maybe a problem.

By the way wirypocketlint you have me in your sig eek
Posted: Sun, 1st Feb 2004, 11:25am

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fertesz

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Sorry, but all of images and video seems to be offline neutral
Posted: Sun, 1st Feb 2004, 1:46pm

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Aculag

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Yes, that's my fault. All will be restored shorty, have no fear.
Posted: Sun, 1st Feb 2004, 2:32pm

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anonymous

biggrin biggrin biggrin
Posted: Sun, 1st Feb 2004, 2:34pm

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fertesz

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Damn it, it was me, didn't realize I wasn't logged in razz
Posted: Mon, 2nd Feb 2004, 2:05am

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anonymous

any chance u could post the details of the alterations? ie bright/contrast settting etc, im trying it and i cant seem to keep the wispyness, actually ends up looking pretty bad... maybe its the smoke i made not sure...
Posted: Mon, 2nd Feb 2004, 2:11am

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justakid

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could u tell me what transfer modes u set during one the the first steps...

"It's a little dark now, but don't fret. Duplicate it twice. You might want to rotate one of these dupes a little bit, so that you get a bit more of an effect. Mess with the color balance some more on each of those until you get something similar to this"

When i duplicate and leave the transfer mode at normal, there is no change in the looks, do u use screen mode or something like that?
Posted: Mon, 2nd Feb 2004, 2:29am

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Aculag

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Ah, yes... Sorry. Yes Screen the first duplicates you make. I'll add that.
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2004, 7:57am

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Axeman

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Had to dig up this superb tutorial and bring it back to light. I've been working on a plug-in of this effect, and I'm happy to reveal that I've almost finished it. Or them, rather. There will be a few, for variety. I didn't exactly follow Aculag's tutorial, because to get a good clean alpha channel I had to go about things a bit differently, but mostly just in the layering of the files and transfer modes. It is made practically, though, with real smoke, and colored as closely as I could to match the DVD footage. They should be up within the week, as I've got the hard part done. Now I just have to compile them. smile
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2004, 9:17am

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Aculag

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Nice. Can't wait to see 'em.
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 1:57am

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elementcinema

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what do you think it would look like using a morph plug-in/tool. because that is how its done in X2 (i think). if you morphed the actor into the smoke. that would give it a cool effect. better than the shatter effect you used. in my opinion ofcourse. biggrin

another thing..could you possible upload the footage of just the smoke? it would just create less of a hassle for the rest of us wink
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 2:17am

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Aculag

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Yeah, I hate the shatter, but I am too lazy lately to try it out with morphing or anything.

Axeman's making plugins! What could you possibly need the smoke for now?
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 2:22am

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Pooky

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Well, there are two kind of people in the world: people that have AlamDV, and people that should get it. Now I am of the 2nd sort, so I cannot download the plug-in. Therefore, I should get AlamDV if I want the plug-in, which brings me back to the start.

Elementcinema, however, is trying to cheat the system by makign the same effect himself. The only thing he needs is your smoke footage. However, he already has AlamDV so why de doesn't simply download the plug-in is a mystery...
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 2:34am

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Brettsta

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Becasue the plugin is not up yet
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 2:50am

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Axeman

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Heh. Uploading the footage would take just as long as uploading the plug-in. Plus I don't have anywhere to put it.
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 3:20am

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Aculag

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And I think people should just make their own smoke. It's not hard.
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 3:28am

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elementcinema

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yes i wanted the footage to take the easy way out. i figured the footage can be posted before the plug-in seeing how axeman isnt done making it. but also aculag doesnt have anywhere to host the footage either. so i guess i just have to wait for the plug-in.

the reason i wanted the footage aswell was so i can alter it a bit and do what i want with it. alamdv2 is still pretty limited compared to AE ofcourse..but a great program nonetheless right boys?
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2004, 3:31am

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Brettsta

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And we hope to break these limitations iwith ADV 3 biggrin
Posted: Tue, 23rd Mar 2004, 8:34pm

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Axeman

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Three plug-ins submitted. Keep your eyeballs peeled for them to be posted in the near future. And once you get 'em, let me know what you think, or if you want me to change anything about them, 'cause now that I know how to do it properly I can always make more.
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 4:48am

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Aculag

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Ok, check it out.

To make this effect much nicer, follow these steps.

Instead of adding a shatter effect to your actor, export the footage from After Effects as a film strip. You'll probably want to have them fade out before you do this. The way you do this is as follows:

Add your comp to the render queue.
Click on where it says Lossless next to Output Module.
The first drop down menu says "Format"
Click that down and select 'Filmstrip' as your format.

Now export.

Alright. Now you have a filmstrip. Open it in photoshop, zoom in on it, go to about when your person is about to Bamf away, grab the Smudge tool.

Here's where your rotoscoping talents come in to play. Remember in Fellowship Of The Ring, when Frodo has the ring on, everything looks all windy and such? You can re-create that effect almost perfectly by doing this exact same method. If you ever want to.

Take the smudge tool, make sure the Strength slider is set somewhere around 50-60, and start smudging away your person. Watch the Nightcrawler segments on the X2 dvd to get a better idea of what you're doing, but basically, make him wisp away.

When you're done, Save As... a copy of your filmstrip. MAKE SURE YOU SAVE IN FILMSTRIP FORMAT! IF YOU SAVE AS A PSD, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO IMPORT AGAIN, AND ALL CHANGES ARE LOST.

Now, import the filmstrip back into AE, and you've got your actor wisping away. It should look much better than just using the shatter effect.

Play around until you get something nice.
[/list]
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 6:31am

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Axeman

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Another technique that works sometimes, Aculag, is to add a Radial Zoom Blur to your actor in the frames where he is fading out, so he blurs outward in all directions from the center. Depending on the pose your actor is in at the time, sometimes this works better than others. The smudge idea sounds pretty good though. And as the wisping away is just a few frames long, keeping the smudges consistent from one frame to the next should not be an issue.

Side note: Remember that if you ever add layers when working a Filmstrip in Photoshop, you will have to flatten the image before you can save it as a Filmstrip again.
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 5:21pm

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Axeman

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Well the plugins are up, guys. Let me know what you think.
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 5:39pm

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elementcinema

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They arent up yet..some of the plug-ins you made are up..but not the Bamf ones. sad
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 5:43pm

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Axeman

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Ummm.... I looked at all three of them right before I posted that message. I'm pretty sure they are up.
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 6:00pm

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Brettsta

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Those are awesome!!!
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 6:52pm

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elementcinema

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I cant see them! they arent there for me for some reason..all i see is the shockwave, shockwave colors, love signs, and machine gun muzzle flashes..where are the bamf ones?
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 6:58pm

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Brettsta

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You are looking here:

http://fxhome.com/alamdv2/plugins/list.php?cat=30
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:05pm

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elementcinema

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i think there is something wrong here on my side..it says the latest plug-in (on the page you gave me a link to) is The red danger sign, and it was posted on March 9th. confused

Ive looked in two places..the link you sent me brettsta, and just the front page for plug-ins with Newest plug-ins containing the new Shockwave plug-uns and machine gun muzzle flashes post on march 23rd..im so lost

Last edited Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:07pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:06pm

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Brettsta

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make sure it says: sort: this and all subcatogories
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:08pm

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elementcinema

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i found it, thanks brettsta..i was getting so frustrated.. confused
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:12pm

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Brettsta

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BAMF 2 is the best. 1 and 3 have slight quad spill..
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 7:15pm

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elementcinema

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okay cool..any suggestions what I should do with the actor first? like I can make him jump in the original footage, but should i add an effect for better results? like to make it blend more with the smoke?
Posted: Wed, 24th Mar 2004, 8:17pm

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Aculag

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Dude, read the post of mine about using the smudge tool in photoshop. Also, Axeman suggested a radial zoom blur. Either of these would work well.

Great plugins, Axeman. I can't wait to see what people do with these.
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 2:47am

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Brettsta

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Hey! I just finished doing my nightcrawler test with the plugin, photoshop smuding, and chromanator. I will post it, but I dont know where to find the sound for the Bamf. Can anyone help me with this.

Edit: Nevermind, here it is!! Tell me what ya think

http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/b/Brettsta/files/nightcrawlertestcomp.mp4
mp4 format, only 240 kb or something like that smile
RIGHT CLICK, SAVE AS.

Its different that aculags, but still the same basic concept of poofing away.
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 3:48am

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Aculag

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Looks good. Nice job.
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 3:55am

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Brettsta

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Thanks..

At the end, after the poof sound, you hear a knock/clunk kinda sound. My hand really hit the floor and it hurt!! heh, listen for it.
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 4:07am

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Aculag

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I thought that's what that was. You should try adding a shadow of the poof. That'd be awesome.
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 4:35pm

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fertesz

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Brettsta wrote:


http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/b/Brettsta/files/nightcrawlertestcomp.mp4
Hey, Brettsta, I can't read this file confused Unknown format, what shall I use? It's about CODEC?
Posted: Thu, 25th Mar 2004, 6:27pm

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elementcinema

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update your quicktime to 6.0
Posted: Fri, 26th Mar 2004, 10:24am

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fertesz

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Thx, everything's fine now biggrin
Posted: Fri, 26th Mar 2004, 12:58pm

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Pooky

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I have another idea for the dissapearign of the actor: in AE, you could draw a garbage matte around your person for 5 frames, and during those frames, add a blur that gets bigger and bigger until you don't see the guy anymore.
Posted: Fri, 26th Mar 2004, 1:39pm

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elementcinema

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well that would work but i think it would look better if you took him in AE and used the smudge tool during those 5 frames and smudge him out more and more every frame..it will sorta blend with the smoke..
Posted: Sat, 3rd Apr 2004, 1:44am

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N8man

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i was fooling around with the plugins, and i came up with this for a shadow... looks alot more realistic.

http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/n/N8man/files/shadbamf1.mov

ps: sry theyres no people i just took some footage i already had.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2004, 9:13pm

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kademus

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I thought the nightcrawler bit was exquisite. In fact, I'm working on a little something like that. I was wondering what song you used for that clip? It's a great song to use for action scenes like that and I need more music like that. Keep up the good work.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jun 2006, 9:46pm

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notoriusc

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how can you all afford AE
Posted: Sun, 4th Jun 2006, 3:32pm

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vilhelm nielsen

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Dude, this was like 2 years ago...