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How to add Snow to your videos – VFX Tutorial

Download HD snow effects for your videos here

With only a few days to go until Christmas takes over, it’s time to go over one of the most fundamental uses of VFX compositing – snow!

Whether you’re shooting a Christmas comedy or a reflective and chilling scene for your film, snow can always help add value to your project. But not everyone has access to weather manipulating machines or industrially sized snow cannons, and so in these cases, we must rely on VFX to composite the snow into our footage.

FootageCrate has a huge library of snowfall effects, ranging from realistic to cartoon styled. Similar to all of our content, these snow effects are pre-keyed, meaning that transparency is preserved when you drop the snow footage on top of your shot without any further hassle! You can take a look at our collection of snow effects here.

Let’s get started with the tutorial! You can use almost any software for this, including After Effects, Hitfilm, Nuke and Premiere Pro!

I’ve taken this stock image from Pexels.com, so if you want to follow along, be my guest and download the image.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

One step I’ve often seen people skipping is that they don’t add depth to their snow effect. What I mean by this is that it’s quite clearly visible that there’s just a snow effect simply being placed on the footage, giving it a “flat” feel. We’re going to give the snow volume by first creating a solid that matches the colour of the lighter clouds, and making it so that the further away the footage is, the higher the opacity. This can be done through masking or opacity painting.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Already we’ve given a nice volumetric feel to the scene. This will look like snow that is too distant to be seen by the camera individually, and so appears like a cloud.

We can now mask out or rotoscope the foreground so that it doesn’t sit behind this fog.

It’s now time to drop the snow effect into our video. I’ve taken two different effects from the FootageCrate website, which is the “snow background” and the “slow snow falling”. I’ll have the first placed behind the foreground, and the second in front of it. This makes it appear as if the subject is sandwiched between the two snow assets so that they feel part of the scene!

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Apply these snow effects with an add/lighten/screen transfer mode so that the dark halos around the snowflakes are invisible, and admire your now far more chilling scene! You can add further colour corrections to then cool the image with bluish tints.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Thanks for reading this tutorial! If you’d like to learn more VFX, take a look at our helicopter compositing tutorial!

 

Blink Portal Tutorial in After Effects

Learn to create the amazing Blink Portal Effect in Adobe After Effects! Check out our latest Saturday Morning Tutorial Now!

Download the portal OBJ sequence here

Blink Portal Assets (Pro and Free)

FREE Light Wrap Script

You may also be interested in Falling through a Wormhole

Zombie Tutorial!

Download HD pre-keyed zombie VFX assets here

Continuing from a recent post showcasing our zombie effects, it’s time to put them into action with a quick tutorial!

For the readers who have just joined us, welcome! FootageCrate has a bundle of truly extraordinary stock footage of green-screened and pre-keyed HD zombie effects. This means that you won’t need any fancy make-up artists and actors for your own zombie movies, instead, you can easily composite them into your videos with a few clicks for an unbelievably realistic effect and low budget!

I’ll be showing you an example of how you can add these zombie apocalypse visual effects to your footage to make them look like they are truly part of the scene in After Effects.

If you want to follow along, I’ve taken a stock image from Pexels.com which you can download here.

Download and composite zombie VFX to your video

As for our zombie VFX assets, you can find them all on our category page here. Many of these are free to download if you want to try it out with no cost at all, and Pro members can download the entire collection of pre-keyed 4K assets. Let’s get started!

The easy part is to drop your zombie VFX characters into your footage. I used a feathered mask to cut out the lower portions of their legs so that it appeared they were standing in the middle of the tall grass and fog.

Download and composite zombie VFX to your video

If we take a closer look, you will notice that these zombies look rather “flat”. Perhaps as if they’re paper cutouts stuck onto an image. Luckily for us, we have the solution!

Download and composite zombie VFX to your video

Recently we released the truly-incredible Light Wrap generator. You won’t believe how important this After Effects script is for creating stunningly realistic compositions. It creates a feathered halo glow around the inner edge of our foreground, giving it the appearance that the light is interacting with our zombie VFX foreground. And it’s free for all users! (Thank you, Nate!)

Pre-compose all of our zombies together, and run the Light Wrap generator script. Select the zombie composition as the foreground, and the photograph as the background. Suddenly, once you change a few of the settings in the controls, you’ll have a stunning result. I find that the radius and brightness controls play the most important part in finding the right look for your scene.

Download and composite zombie VFX to your video

And without any trouble, we have an insanely realistic looking zombie in our shot! Apply some final colour corrections, and you can proudly admire the work you’ve created.

Composite zombie VFX with a Light Wrap

If you want to have a go at some more compositing, take a look at our Nuclear Explosion tutorial!

Nuclear Bomb VFX Tutorial

A few days ago we covered creating a missile launch VFX shot. But now it’s time to take a look at the receiving end of the attack and build out one stunning looking explosion!

If you’re new around here, welcome! ProductionCrate is your friendly-neighbourhood source for creative assets, ranging from VFX, sound, music and motion graphics. We have thousands of professionally made effects ready for you to download today, and one of them is our much-loved nuclear bomb explosion which you can download here. We have plenty to choose from, many of them are free to download, so pick your favourite and we’ll jump into the tutorial.

From past experience where I’ve tried to composite nuclear bombs and other large explosions into my video, one of the most difficult steps is correctly creating the lighting. Usually, this is done by masking out dozens or even hundreds of different surfaces which will reflect your explosion. This can easily take up hours of your time just perfecting it, especially if you have movement involved.

So I offer my secret solution to the perfect lighting; shoot during sunset!

 

This will create the lighting you need in no time, casting a fiery glow across the sky. I’ll grab my scene from here, which looks perfect with the skyline being silhouetted by the brightness of the sun. You can use this too unless you have your own!

I’ll be using Adobe After Effects (should have used Nuke!), but the same processes can be applied to any compositing software, even Premiere Pro or Hitfilm.

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

If you downloaded the sample image, you might notice I’ve made a few changes (mostly because I didn’t want that gigantic building in the way of the explosion). Feel free to Photoshop it around a little to best fit your artistic needs. We’ll first need to quickly create a foreground mask, but thankfully we can use a luma-key or the Extract tool to only keep the dark areas of the shot, which are the buildings.

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

Download our nuclear explosion VFX asset (available for free users too), and drop it into your scene roughly where the sun is.

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

If you’re thinking that this doesn’t look natural at all, then you’re perfectly right. We need to match our smoke to the colours of the sky and what better way to do it than with our favourite tint effect. Use the colour pickers to select the horizons colours, preferably where the object you are selecting is black in reality, but obscured by the atmospheres glow. This should perfectly blend it to match the ground.

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

To bring back the flames, duplicate the layer and clear the effects. We then need to use a simple extract/luma key to remove the smoke. Set the layer’s blending mode to Screen, and our blast will already looking great!

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

And as always, bombard our flames with a bundle of wonderful glow effects!

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

The next step is optional, but I love the extra intensity it gives the brightness of the explosion. Duplicate the foreground layer of the buildings, and apply a Light Burst effect to it, centring the origin to the explosions centre. It will cast these immense volumetric shadows through the atmosphere and looks fantastic!

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

It’s up to you know to stylize the scene as much as you would like, but in the end, we should have a magnificently epic explosion!

Create a VFX Nuclear Explosion Tutorial

 

 

Adding Magic VFX to your Film

Magic and wizardry is some of the most enjoyable forms of VFX for an artist, and are often the first thing new users are eager to try out when learning. Conjuring these effects into your videos do not require any dark magic, just a ProductionCrate account and willpower!

We have an entire catalogue of spectacular content that you can apply to your videos with ease. Lightning powers, energy beams and even Doctor Strange’s personal favorite spark portal. The overwhelming number of choices give you more power than you will ever need.

VFX Magic Cinemagraph

Our downloadable magic VFX in action!

We have already covered a plethora of ways in how you can edit these effects into your video on our YouTube channel, all of which offer a great insight into the workflow a VFX artist can expect working in the magic realm. If you want to check some of these out, take a pick from:

If you want to read more on adding these magic VFX to your video, learn about how you can become like Scarlet Witch here!

 

 

Create an Epic Space Scene

Using After Effects and Element 3D Adrian and Chris teach you some tricks to creating a cool space-travel scene!

 

FREE USS Space Crate 3D Model   Use our Free 3d Spaceship model with textures in your own space-scene!

FootageCrate Space Travel Assets   Here you can find our lightspeed and star assets

Chromatic Aberrator Script   The Chromatic Aberrator Script is available to Pro Members and is perfect for any space shot

Video Copilot ORB  We love this Free plugin from VideoCopilot.net – make sure to check it out

 

Using our Puddle Maps!

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’ve stumbled upon our puddle map collection and wondered, “What on Earth are these for?”. You’re not alone!

If you’ve had some experience with 3D design, you may be familiar with “glossy maps” or “reflection maps”. These are textures which can tell rendering software how “shiny” an object is. Think of a white texture being for a mirror (very shiny), and a dark gray texture used for concrete (very dull and matted). We discovered we can use these in After Effects to create utterly-realistic reflections to help composite VFX into your scene, or just make it visually incredible. You may have seen Andrew Kramer’s Video Copilot tutorial which involved a similar process.

We have dropped one of our fire VFX assets (found here) into our street, but anyone can see it is looking pretty dull at the moment! Our mission is to make this look both realistic and more visually interesting!

Puddle Tutorial Part 1

We will then need one of our puddle maps. There are different varieties (such as asphalt, tiles, road surfaces and more), so choose which one best fits your shot. Drop it into your scene, make it 3D, and align it with your ground:

Puddle Tutorial Part 2

Here is where you might see where this is going! Duplicate any of the layers you want to reflect in the puddle. In this case, the fire and the backdrop. We’ll name them the same but with “Reflection” at the end. Pre-compose the puddle map as well.

Puddle Tutorial Part 3

For each of the “Reflection” layers, flip it vertically and position it in a place where it would approximately match what it would look like if the floor was a gigantic mirror. Here’s my attempt (with the walls roughly masked out):

Puddle Tutorial Part 4

(Same process with the fire)

Puddle Tutorial Part 5

You then want to pre-compose these newly reflecting layers, all into the same composition. We’ll now be looking at something like this in our layer panel:

Puddle Tutorial Part 6

Now for the magic moment! Apply the “Compound Blur” effect to our reflection layer. The compound blur effect is similar to a traditional blur, except it blurs an image with its blur strength dependant on another texture (so brighter areas are blurred more than darker ones). Set our blur layer to our Puddle Map, and turn up the Maximum Blur parameter. You’ll quickly see everything fitting into shape!

Puddle Tutorial Part 7

Puddle Tutorial Part 8

It may take a little bit of experimentation since no project is the same. For example, setting this layer to an Alpha Inverted Matte might fix some issues you may have to your scene. You can even try using different puddle maps from the range in our collection.

You can then mask out any areas you don’t want a blur to appear on, such as these posts which are trying to make our life difficult.

Puddle Tutorial Part 9

Lastly, as we have a fire in our scene, it’s mandatory to add a glow effect (we can go deeper into this in another tutorial!).

Puddle Tutorial Part 10

Hopefully, this clears up any questions regarding these puddle maps! These things are powerful tools for any compositor in VFX or design, and will always give your scene an extra breath of photorealism. We hope you enjoy using them!

Puddle Map and Fire Tutorial in After Effects

Did you enjoy this guide? You might also like to read about our bullet hole collection!

 

Fall through a Wormhole!

Learn the VFX techniques used to create this amazing wormhole scene! Inspired by the visual masterpiece Doctor Strange (2016) We decided to create this journey through space and time.

Download FREE and PRO Wormhole Backgrounds and Green-Screen Footage Here

Find the  Earth Texture Here

 

Venom Effects

Find all the Venom VFX used Here

These effects were created in 3DS Max with Splines

 

Harry Potter Apparition Effect in After Effects!

Easily create the wizard Apparition effect from Fantastic Beasts / Harry Potter

Find the VFX here – https://bit.ly/2OJIgrs

Find Sound FX here – https://bit.ly/2vB8mUy