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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!

 

Helicopter VFX Tutorial

Download HD Helicopter VFX assets here

Our brand new helicopter assets have landed in the FootageCrate library, giving you the power to create your own stunning action movie VFX!

Over 30 exciting elements are available for you, with some of them being free to download. We’ve made sure the selection covers all of the intense helicopter sequences you’ll need to build the perfect narrative for your project.

The collection includes take-offs, flybys, static graphics and even a spectacular helicopter crash.

Helicopter Crash VFX for your Videos

It’s time to get started with the tutorial, so you can learn how to add these helicopter VFX into your own videos! We’ll be going over the general workflow which covers the steps you need to take to composite all of our helicopter assets. I’ll also be using After Effects today, but you can replicate the steps in almost any compositing software such as Hitfilm and Nuke.

We’ll first need a background, which today will be this beautiful aerial mountain scenery from Pexels, but feel free to use your own!

Helicopter VFX Tutorial Background

Once you’ve created a composition featuring your background, find a helicopter asset that best suits your shot. There’s many to choose from, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that you want. I recommend that you also consider the lighting when deciding which effect you want for your VFX. Here I’ll be using a looping shot from the side:

Download Helicopter VFX Assets

Drop the effect into a new layer of your composition, and position it where you need it. Since the background and the helicopter don’t have matching sources of light, I flipped the landscape horizontally in order to have the light coming from the same direction. This goes a long way when it comes to making sure your effect fits naturally into your scene!

Helicopter VFX Tutorial

The shot is already looking pretty good, but we’ll perform some colour correction to make it perfect. I used a curves effect to lightly decrease the red as well as increase the blue, which matched the chilling tone of the environment.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

No action scene is complete without some background motion blur, which also gives the illusion that the helicopter is moving at great speeds. It also helps highlight the main feature of our shot, so that it stands out from the rest.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

This is the third tutorial in a row which has made use of our ProductionCrate Lightwrap generator, so if you haven’t checked it out already download it here! This tool is an absolute game-changer when it comes to compositing inside After Effects. It takes the colour of the environment and blends it into the edges of the asset, making it seem as though light from the scene is bouncing off our helicopter and into the camera. The default settings will do for most scenes, so hitting “Generate” should do the trick, but feel free to adjust the settings if needed.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

You’ve made it to the end! We now have a photorealistic helicopter VFX effect in almost no time at all thanks to ProductionCrate’s helicopter library. It’s time to add our final colour corrections to give it the cinema-quality tone we want to see (here I had increased the contrast and saturation).

Download Helicopter VFX for your Movie

If you want to learn even more compositing tricks, take a look at our Nuclear Bomb VFX tutorial:

Fluid Ink Transition Effects

Download 4K HD ink fluid effects here.

Video transitions are one of the critical aspects of editing, connecting two different shots together. Since the dawn of digital editing, we have seen creators begin to take transitions even more seriously than before, especially in the vlog format.

Whip-pans, spins, fades and light leaks have all become a popular choice for Premiere Pro editors, but one other is a particular favourite of ours. Fluid transitions!

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

Otherwise known as ink bleeds, these can be some of the most stylish and beautiful effects, and add a whole new dynamic to your video.

To make your own, you’ll need three things. Your clips, an editing platform, and one of our fluid ink transition effects (which you can download here).

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

It’s then as simple as setting your clips alpha to match the brightness) of our transition effect. This can be done by placing the effect above your second clip and adding a “Track Matte Key” to the clip you’re fading into. You then select the ink-effect in the “Matte” option.

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

The “composite using” is what this effect uses to calculate the alpha value of the second clip, and since our ink effect is black and white, we’ll be using the luma value as our source.

Have fun with these awesome 4K ink fluid effects. If you want to hear about more ways you can use our range of effects, take a look at our blog!

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

 

 

Missile VFX Tutorial!

While most special effects created practically do look incredible, not every studio has the budget to launch an inter-continental ballistic missile. But fear not! Your perfect shot of the nuclear apocalypse kicking into action can be created harmlessly using our missile VFX assets that you can download for free!

This tutorial will work in pretty much any compositing software, whether that’s Nuke, Premiere Pro, Hitfilm or After Effects (which I will be using).

First we will somewhere to launch our missiles from. I’ve found this stock image which you can download for free here at Pexels. After you have found your perfect spot, go ahead and download some of our missile launch VFX assets, some of which are free! 

Dread it, run from it, rotoscoping still arrives. This unavoidable step won’t be too troublesome since we’re using a static image though. Yay!

Now we have the chance to throw in as many of our missile launches as we want. I’ve gone for the “all hell has broken loose” style, similar to what we saw in X-Men: Apocalypse. I’ve also masked out a few of the smoke-trails where the missile passes through the cloud, increasing the feathering to make it appear more as though the missile is inside the scene.

For some extra-special stylised touches, I also split some of the smoke plumes into two segments. One where the light hits the smoke, and the other where the landscape casts a shadow over it, giving the highlighted areas an orange tint and a screen blending mode. This isn’t necessary in all shots, but works here since we’re in the sunlight.

And it’s as simple as that! Apply your final touches, grade it a little and you have just created an awesome realistic missile launch shot using our ProductionCrate VFX assets!

Missile VFX to Download

There’s plenty more to learn and discover on our website, so why not learn about our less dramatic puddle maps? 

 

 

 

Disintegration Tutorial

Find the disintegration effects here

Adrian and Chris teach you how to recreate this amazing effect in Adobe After Effects!