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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!

 

Zombie VFX Compositing 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!

Mystique Transformation Effect

Using After Effects and C4DLite Chris and Adrian teach you how to create this iconic effect from X-Men, the Mystique Transformation!

Find the Feather Transition Rendered FX Here

Pro Users can download the  3D Head C4Dlite and Alembic Files (PRO)

Find Eugene’s Tutorial Here

Enjoy the Saturday Morning Tutorials? Check out the The Complete Episode Guide

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!

 

Throw a Moon like Thanos in After Effects!

This was one of the most spectacular scenes in Avengers: Infinity War.

On paper, the idea of throwing a moon at someone sounds too over-the-top to attempt outside of an anime show, but somehow the film pulls it off beautifully. We decided we wanted to attempt the same effect! Check it out below.

Learn to throw a moon like Thanos did in Avengers: Infinity War in our latest AE Tutorial!

All download links to the Visual Effects used are below!

Giant Meteor Effect

Thanos Portal Effect

Aerial Explosion Effects

Ground Plough Debris Effects

Large Debris Effects

Infinity War Portal (Thanos)

Check out our latest addition to the #SaturdayMorningTutorials where we teach you to composite the Thanos Portal effect!

Find these assets Here: https://vfx.productioncrate.com/search.html#query=thanos

All sound FX from SoundsCrate.com