Monday, May 12, 2014

Smoke - After Effects

There are a couple of shots in my animation where my dragon takes off with a jetpack and soars through the sky. I knew I wanted to have a smoke effect in these shots, especially when it goes wrong as this will be more of a visual cue. I tried to use particle emitters in Maya however I couldn't get a good result and I knew that it would also increase the render time by a significant amount. Instead I decided to use After Effects and I made use of Trapcode Particular to create a smoke effect. First of all I created a black solid layer and used the preset smoke within tapcode to apply onto the solid. This already had a preset animation but I deleted this and animated it so that it would follow the jetpack. I also adjusted different settings such as the opacity and lifespan of the particles.

When it came to the jetpack failing, I wanted the smoke to turn black and for flames to emerge. To get this effect, I animated the colour of the smoke to turn a dark grey/black and then on top of this I added a flame preset. Again I adjusted certain attributes and animated it how I wanted. There were a few things that weren't to my liking, when the flame first emerged there was a black smog at the bottom. This didn't seem very appealing or natural to me so I erased this out within After Effects. I've never used this before and it came in quite handy, you can also use the clone stamp tool, the same as you would in Photoshop. I was able to create a more desired effect this way and in a quicker time too. I'm quite happy with how this has turned out, I would have liked to have spent more time on this and explore different techniques, but for now it does a decent job. I may come back to it at another time and see if I can improve on it anymore.

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