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Is it worth the money?

Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 9:33pm

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CTFPlaya360

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHJHp7Apaa4&feature=related

I am a person who loves making war films. I need good explosion and blood effects. From what I've seen and tried with Effectslab Pro, these blood, gore, and explosion effects look anything but realistic. Lasting only about 6 frames, the effect "Explosion" that comes with the program, looks like a short small bright light, no debris flying around, no smoke, no nothing. If I put that in a war movie, my viewers will mistake it for a cartoon. What about the other effect, "Particel Fire Explosion." More like Particel Fail Explosion.


The YouTube video linked above from "Saving Private Ryan," shows outstanding effects like bullets hitting sandbags spraying debris everywhere.

In Effectslab Pro, the closest thing to recreating that is "Bullethit Metal." How can I make my effects look not like cartoons, but the real thing? I've seen example videos on the FxHome site, such as the tank explosion, fire coming out of a tower, and the muzzle flashes, but for some reason, I haven't discovered the knack for this program to make effects in my movies as realistic as the tutorial videos, or Hollywood videos.

If I'm missing the boat with everything I'm saying, stop me now.

The replies to this topic should be interesting.
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:11pm

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Axeman

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You won't find more realistic digital muzzle flashes in any program, for any price.

With explosions, however, its a different story. The only proper way to do explosions is practically, on set, with a pyro technician. That not being an option, the only other proper way to do explosions is to use stock footage, such as the stuff from www.detonationfilms.com , or the stuff offered by FXhome here. There are certain instances where 3D is a better option, where you have to create an explosion that is a predetermined shape, for example. In those cases, you would want to use a comprehensive 3D particle generator with volumetric particles and physics controls. A 2D particle generator, such as is found in EffectsLab, is rarely likely to be the right choice. It doesn't have the power to create convincing explosions.

Even if you are going to be using digital effects for the explosions in your project, the debris should still be done on-set during filming. Throwing debris around doesn't require any explosives or dangerous equipment; in fact it doesn't even really require equipment. And it will lend a realism that is hard to match digitally. Alternately, you could film the debris elements separately, using greenscreen or blackscreen, and composite them into the shot in post.
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:31pm

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CTFPlaya360

Force: 400 | Joined: 9th Dec 2008 | Posts: 60

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Yeah I see.

I had no clue Effectslab Pro could greenscreen though.

Detonation films...how specifically could I get a downloadable effect from that site, into my fxhome project's canvas? Import Media, Preset Pack, Image Stream...?
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:31pm

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No Respite Productions

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From my experience, you need to be very deft at getting the animation, gravity, speed, particle duration and particle rate juuuuuuuuust right in order for the effects to look good. It takes some time and practice, but perserverence will pay off in the long run.

What Axeman said is bang on the money, the FXHome range does have it's limitations, but for the ameateur film maker with a small budget it opens for more doors than any other software that I can think of. Also worth mentioning that whilst you won't get an ultra-realistic explosion out of Effectslab or VisionLab, they can be used to brilliantly compliment your footage. Such as smokey atmospheres or horizons, a small blaze or plume of smoke in the distance of your battlefield, there's even a good preset for tracer fire which you could use for anti-aircraft gunfire at night!

With regards to your "Explosion" comment, the presets provide a good template to work from but you will need to tamper and tailor the presets to your footage and your needs. The explosion you mention only lasts six seconds, you can easily extend that and, using other presets, you could even overlay plumes of smoke or smoking debris flying out from the epicentre... building up layers as you go along.

I'd say there is a knack to the software that you may not have discovered yet... but please don't think you are going to get the same results as a Spielberg produced movie... the gulf between him and the FXHome target market is fairly wide.

Stick with it though!

EDIT: Oh and Effectslab doesn't do greenscreen, it can handle alpha layers, but you'll need to key out the green using either compositelab or your NLE.

Last edited Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:34pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:32pm

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Garrison

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CTFPlaya360 wrote:

If I'm missing the boat with everything I'm saying, stop me now.
To tack onto what Axeman said... you are missing Compositelab which is better suited when adding stock footage.
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:39pm

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Axeman

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Yeah, the greenscreen mention was my mistake; you can't greenscreen with EffectsLab. Blackscreening does work though.

Any stock footage, whether from detonationfilms, FXhome, NoControl cinema, or elsewhere, should be imported using the Import Media command. Be advised that you aren't likely to find and blood/gore footage that will composite easily in EffectsLab; it is nearly all shot whitescreen, and needs compositing tools that EffectsLab doesn't have. But all of the explosions/fire stuff will work well.

The exception as far as importing is the AlamDV plugins found here on the site, which are stored as image streams. Any time you are using stock footage that is in image format, you should use the Import Image Stream... command. This will compile all the images into a single video file for you, and import that file into EffectsLab for you to use.
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 10:58pm

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CTFPlaya360

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I see. Well I will continue to explore and explore into the world of film with this effect software. As I make more discoveries, more questions will probably come. I understand FxLab has it's limitations, but I have to admit it does serve as a wonderful product for beginners and experts.

Thanks

www.YouTube.com/ShineVistaFilms
Posted: Thu, 6th Aug 2009, 11:14pm

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Axeman

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One other point worth mentioning is that any time you see an effect such as an explosion done in post, it consists of many, many layers. A basic effect of a fiery explosion throwing debris about could likely consist of three or four layers of explosion/fire, several layers of debris effects, and a half dozen layers of smoke. Shots involving effects that are complex will of course often involve lots more layers. Keeping this in mind while working on your effects might be useful; as its important to be aware of the fact that the exact look you are after will not be found by applying a single layer of effect to the shot. Convincing effects work can get very complex very fast.
Posted: Fri, 7th Aug 2009, 2:00pm

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Simon K Jones

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You might find this of interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOJyKPQoM9s

Created using VisionLab Studio (could be done using a combination of EffectsLab and CompositLab too).

As Axeman says, the only 'proper' way to do explosions is to do proper pyro effects, which we couldn't do for this video, so we used a mixture of stock and particle effects, which I think came out OK. Certainly doesn't look like a cartoon, at least.

We sell a DVD that goes behind the scenes:

http://fxhome.com/learn/beach-landing-and-superheroes
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 2:48pm

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gamesmaster369

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Or you could just try the fxhome gunfire pack on the products tab. It has lots of realistic muzzle flashes and bullet hits. It costs £29.99, but if your willing to make a good film, you have to have some sort of budget.
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 8:53pm

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CTFPlaya360

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http://fxhome.com/effectslab/pro/video-gallery/3

Just saying, towards the end of this video:

What are those bullet impact/smoke effects that appear when bullets are fired into that wall?
Posted: Tue, 11th Aug 2009, 12:06am

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Axeman

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They are all stock footage; I'm fairly certain it is from the stuff available here on FXhome. One of the crew that worked on it will have to say for sure though.
Posted: Tue, 11th Aug 2009, 8:05am

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Simon K Jones

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It's a mixture of practical on-set dust effects and stock footage, I believe.