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How to create realistic effects

Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 5:46am

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FXhomer46539

Force: 400 | Joined: 1st Jun 2009 | Posts: 4

EffectsLab Pro User

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In the demonstration videos for Effects Lab Pro, there are always very realistic comets, explosions and fires. But when I open up my particle engine of Effects Lab, and choose the presets, they don't look nearly as good as the ones in the home movies of other FXHomer's. I know that you can modify the number of, the lifetime, and other different particle settings. But even as I toy with these presets, the end result still doesn't come out as realistic as the ones in other's videos. Is there some sort of secret to it? Thanks.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 6:04pm

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Terminal Velocity

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To start, the effects were made by experts and the guys who wrote the program. Secondly, the fire and smoke are each presets, the fire being Inferno and the smoke being...I'm not sure what it is, but it's definitely particles. The comet, comet trail, and I think the clouds were all in fact stock footage or plugins, not effects, as was the explosion. I know...I tried to make that fireball for weeks before I learned that. It was something of a letdown, but it's okay I guess, especially now that they're selling stock footage. But I think the keys to realistic particles are randomizers. However, keep in mind that however cool FXhome may be, their products are not impeccable. Hopefully WPDLab will be. twisted
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 8:06pm

Post 3 of 12

FXhomer46539

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But is the only way to create realistic effects to buy the stock footage (hopefully with a transparent background)? If that's true, then what's the point of Effects Lab? Couldn't you use any old linear editing software and add the transparent effects, and grade the charred aftermath of the explosion?
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 9:06pm

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Terminal Velocity

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rolleyes Yeah, but what I'm saying is that the particle engine's capabilities are limited, partly for the sake of versatility and a higher level of control. The particle engine isn't just for fire or just for rain, it's meant to fulfill a litany of functions, and if the programmers say, "Hmm, I'm going to put all these features in so the fire looks right", then that'll probably be to the detriment of the other features. Particles aren't supposed to do one thing perfectly; they're meant to cover a range of features. One thing I'm hoping this alleged WPDLab will have is a more minute control of particles, maybe a fire engine, explosion engine etc. eek PLEASE!

But for now you get what you pay for, and if you pay $150 and expect an ILM-quality particle engine, you're going to be disappointed. Elab is well worth the money, but it can't do everything. Try Particle Illusion. I'm looking to see if it's free or not.

You could probably get very close to the "charred aftermath" blah blah blah, but don't expect perfection.
Posted: Sun, 14th Jun 2009, 3:20am

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Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

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The artistry is in understanding how to combine stock footage, particle effects, and grading together to come up with a single believable shot, and when to use which. Much of the stock footage is available free in the AlamDV plug-ins section of the downloads, and a pretty good assortment of other free footage can be had at www.detonationfilms.com . Getting convincing particle effects often requires spending time carefully examining the real thing, to understand how it behaves, so that you can replicate it with a particle generator.

But as a rule, use practical effects whenever you safely can, use stock footage if you can't, and only use CG effects if its the only way. If you want the greatest realism.
Posted: Sun, 14th Jun 2009, 5:12am

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FXhomer46539

Force: 400 | Joined: 1st Jun 2009 | Posts: 4

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Thanks guys, I'll try out what you said. You are a big help.

smile
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 8:38am

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Simon K Jones

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FXhome Team Member

The trick to any good effects shots is in the combining of multiple techniques.

It's also important ot remember that every shot has its own requirements. Even if you have the same general effect (meteor hitting the ground, for example), every shot in the sequence will have its own specific requirements and challenges.

Using stock footage shouldn't be seen as a 'cheat' or 'disappointment': it's a vital part of a visual effects artist's toolbox.

The Balrog in Lord of the Rings, for example, was a mixture of stock footage and particle flames, plus a fully CG creature body.
Posted: Sat, 27th Jun 2009, 4:52pm

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Goldenjabba

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Tarn + Axeman are right, the combination of Practical, CG, and Stock footage is vital to getting a decent, realistic clip.
Posted: Tue, 30th Jun 2009, 8:07pm

Post 9 of 12

sir alex

Force: 400 | Joined: 10th Jul 2008 | Posts: 173

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Richard III wrote:

However, keep in mind that however cool FXhome may be, their products are not impeccable. Hopefully WPDLab will be. twisted
Is there a new lab product?
Posted: Wed, 1st Jul 2009, 6:41pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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sir alex wrote:

Richard III wrote:

However, keep in mind that however cool FXhome may be, their products are not impeccable. Hopefully WPDLab will be. twisted
Is there a new lab product?
You were here for April fools, right? biggrin Remember this forum? wink
Posted: Sun, 9th Aug 2009, 8:03pm

Post 11 of 12

IndypendentStudios

Force: 0 | Joined: 29th Nov 2008 | Posts: 1

Member

Axeman wrote:

The artistry is in understanding how to combine stock footage, particle effects, and grading together to come up with a single believable shot, and when to use which. Much of the stock footage is available free in the AlamDV plug-ins section of the downloads, and a pretty good assortment of other free footage can be had at www.detonationfilms.com . Getting convincing particle effects often requires spending time carefully examining the real thing, to understand how it behaves, so that you can replicate it with a particle generator.

But as a rule, use practical effects whenever you safely can, use stock footage if you can't, and only use CG effects if its the only way. If you want the greatest realism.
Is the material on this website FXHome stuff?
Posted: Sun, 9th Aug 2009, 9:02pm

Post 12 of 12

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

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SuperUser

The stuff in the AlamDV plug-ins library is property of FXhome. The stuff available for purchase from this website was created by Sollthar of NoControl Cinema, and is offered on disk in partnership with FXhome.

the stuff on the detonationfilms website has nothing to do with FXhome whatsoever, but is mostly compatible with the Fxhome software. I say mostly because not all of it works with EffectsLab: anything with a white background you can't really composite in EffectsLab. Other than that it will all work fine.