EffectsLab Tutorials: Muzzle flashes
Basic muzzle flashes
This tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a basic muzzle flash in EffectsLab. For the purposes of this tutorial you can use your own movie clip, or download this short example file from Fxhome.com:
http://fxhome.com/effectslab/tutorial_movies/muzzleclipmpeg4.mov (Quicktime mpeg4)
Resultant lighting is a big part of muzzle flashes – when a gun fires, it creates a muzzle flash, which can be simulated easily in EffectsLab, but it also illuminates its surroundings. If you can use a strobe light to create the on-set practical lighting, you can then sync the muzzle flashes to each strobe flash, which can make the effect even more convincing. This isn't vital in brightly lit scenes, but on dark sets the muzzle flashes will seem unrealistic if they do not light up the set.
Load EffectsLab and select New Video Project from the welcome screen.
Select the bare muzzle flash clip as your background plate, and check the settings:
Drag a muzzle flash effect from the effects browser onto the timeline to begin.
The default muzzle flash will appear in the middle of the canvas.
Use the crop tool to alter the length of the effect as required. If you are using the example file, stretch the effect to the full length of the clip.
The first thing we want to do is import some more interesting textures. Hit the blue 'Import texture' button in the toolbox, then locate and select the smoke_1 and smoke_2 textures in the EffectsLab/textures/smoke/ and the blobby_glow_1 texture from the EffectsLab/textures/ folder.
The new textures will appear in the texture browser:
The muzzle flash is now much more exciting. The appearance of the muzzle flash is determined hugely by the textures. Different combinations can create wildly different results.
On and off
We're going to focus on the dual pistols wielded by the marine in the centre. Every time there is a strobe light flash, we'll add a muzzle flash to one of his pistols. The first frame does not have a strobe flash, so we want to turn the muzzle flash off.
Turn the emitter off using the large green button at the top of the toolbox:
Use the right arrow key to move to the next frame. There is a strobe flash on this frame, so we want to turn the emitter back on.
Turn the emitter back on by clicking the button, which is now red:
Pointing in the right direction
By default the muzzle flash points directly to the right. We'll align it to the right-hand pistol.
Set Angle X to -18.50 to point it slightly to the left.
Set Angle Y to 48.79 to point it up slightly.
Drag the canvas handle onto the end of the barrel to position the flash correctly.
Get the size right
The length and height sliders determine the overall size of the flash. The default settings should be fine for this example.
The strobe light used in the example clip gave a blue light, whereas the default muzzle flash colour is orange. We want to change the flash so it matches the lighting. Click the orange bar near the bottom of the toolbar to display the colour palette.
Select a light blue colour and click ok:
Adjust the Intensity of the Core Ejection (the higher slider in the toolbox) to 0.39.
The muzzle flash should now be looking very authentic. There are many other sliders to customise the appearance if necessary, but the defaults should suffice in this case. Feel free to experiment with the Taper sliders and the various Render options.
The following frame does not have a strobe, so switch the emitter off again. Repeat the above steps for the rest of the clip, adjusting the position and angle of the flash as required.
On the final frame, change the Seed slider to a different position. The seed number is used to generate the shape of the flash, so this will ensure that each time the flash appears it looks slightly different – while retaining the same general attributes.
You should now be able to create single pistol muzzle flashes with ease!