Tag Archive for: vfx

Make and Download Magic VFX Assets

Our Magic VFX assets are one of the most downloaded, most requested and most seen categories. We always get asked how we made them, and decided to finally show off some of our tricks! Since we were revisiting these effects, we decided to add 60 new Magic Impact and Block VFX assets. 

Take a few minutes and see what goes into making these VFX assets, and how you can make some yourself! Now you can become a wizard just like Harry Potter in no time.

Download Anime Punch and Kick Impact Video Effects

These anime fighting VFX are incredibly easy to use! Just drag and drop, and you’re ready to go. We have 10 total assets, all hand drawn and 4K resolution to fit any combat scene.



If you’re looking to stylize them a bit more, adding some chromatic aberration goes a long way! Dropping the opacity and adding a Fast Radial Blur at the point of impact will enhance these even more. These are extremely fun to use, once you get the hang of adding them to your videos, you’ll be able to stylize them in no time!


how to make an anime punch VFX shot


Looking for more Anime VFX? We have you covered! Check out our entire anime collection of hundreds of assets.








Become Kakashi with VFX!

Who isn’t inspired by their childhood? The aesthetics and styles we grew up with influence us daily. I took that inspiration to another level.

Kakashi, a character from the Naruto anime series, was always one of my favorites. His awesome powers were always so iconic, I knew I had to try and recreate them with VFX.

Electricity is always a fun effect to tackle. We’ve done it many times over, but we’ve never captured REAL electricity, at least until now. Using a tesla coil and a Black Magic Ursa, we shot practical electricity. We made a Chidori, or Electric Energy Ball, completely FREE for anyone to download and recreate this effect themselves. No good VFX asset is good enough without the right sound. Niko went ahead and made a specialty Chidori Sound Effect, also completely free, for you to download.

This tutorial uses the amazing Face Relighter Plugin. If you have both Windows and Element3D, you can try it out yourself!

Learn to use and composite these elements in this breakdown.


Download Crate’s Face Relighter for After Effects

Download Crate’s Face Relighter for Pro users here Windows Compatible Only

When compositing VFX into live-action footage, one thing is absolutely essential to get right – lighting.

This is the most powerful and crucial aspect of blending visual effects into video. When done correctly, replicating the real-world behaviour of light helps convince your viewers that what they’re seeing is real. Because light bounces, scatters and casts shadows in a specific predictable manner, it’s very easy for anyone to identify lighting that doesn’t follow the properties of reality. This is especially the case on human faces, which almost always becomes the focal point of any shot. That is why it’s so important to get it right.

Crate’s Face Relighter aims to revolutionize the face-relighting workflow. We’re offering a powerful AI-assisted Afer Effects tool that provides a creative new way to illuminate your actor’s faces. This can assist VFX artists to create better muzzle flashes, magic, fire, explosions, holograms, lightsabers and more.

How to relight faces in After Effects

Element3D, a powerful 3D rendering plugin for After Effects, is required for this to work. By leveraging Element3D’s extensive range of creative controls, such as materials, fully-adjustable lighting and pixel-perfect camera integration, we’re able to offer a user experience that you’re already familiar with. You can purchase and install Element3D from VideoCopilot here.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Crate’s Face Relighter in After Effects.

Lightsaber VFX

The much-loved iconic plasma blades have always presented the challenge of casting illumination on the hero or villain’s face. Without LED lights lining the length of the laser using an expensive prop, it is notoriously difficult to fake the bright light shining on an actor; a task typically requiring many hours of tedious keyframes and masking.

By using Crate’s Face Relighter, we’re able to represent the laser with a simple After Effects light. You can adjust the properties so that it matches the brightness and color of your desired effect perfectly. From there, our tool will handle the complex illumination of your actor’s face, automatically tracking both the position, orientation and facial structure with near-perfection.

Lightsaber Lighting in After Effects

Magic VFX

Magic VFX are some of the most visually spectacular effects that can be produced. Not only is it fun, but it’s as easy as adding our magic stock footage from FootageCrate over your background using a screen blending mode. Combining particles, flames, smoke and plasma can let you produce any imaginable sequence of magic powers: telekinesis, portals, superpowers, teleportation and spells. Once you’re happy with the special effects, you’ll usually need to perform some final compositing corrections, one of these being simulating realistic lighting in your environment.

A great example is if your wizard is summoning a ball of fire. We want this to be an emissive effect, and so it’s imperative that we help improve our compositing by creating fake lighting in the footage. This After Effects extension provides an effortless solution; delivering a responsive and realistic facial light that interacts with the shape of the actor’s face. You can combine lights and color them differently to produce multi-angled illumination for more complex scenes – we aim to avoid any restrictions on your creativity in any way.

Green Magic VFX in After Effects

Fire VFX

As the VFX industry has grown, using digitally composited fire has become the mainstream choice for most producers in their video projects. Not only is it safer to keep actors away from pyrotechnics, but it is also less expensive and provides the VFX artist with the ability to control the look and behaviour of their fire in post-production. These are highly important benefits to filmmakers, and so you’ll need to be prepared and know how best to create convincing fire. We recommend taking a look at our extensive collection of professional fire stock footage to help you achieve any scene, ranging from small embers to raging infernos.

Ensuring that your digital flames illuminate your footage environment helps elevate your VFX closer to reality. Being able to utilize Crate’s Face Relighter means that the complex shadows from the nose, eyes and lips are correctly produced on an actors face. You can even use After Effects expressions, such as “wiggle(5,30)”, to cause your After Effects lights to flicker, delivering a dynamic lighting setup that can’t be replicated with standard LED lights.

Fire Relighting in After Effects

Muzzle Flashes

Muzzle flashes are some of the first steps any VFX artist takes when compositing with live-action footage; and are deceptively difficult to do correctly. While quick muzzle flashes can often be achieved by simply layering some muzzle flash assets in the correct position, a realistic effect fit for a film would typically require the additional effort of illuminating the face of who is firing the gun. By using this tool, you’ll be able to do this quickly – simply animating the opacity of the illumination layer from 0% to 100% every time the muzzle flash is visible. This provides an effective way to speed up your workflow, especially when considering that some muzzle flashes may require hundreds of frames to be relit. You’ll be emphasising the impact and power of the muzzle flash with the light that it emits.

How to relight a face in After Effects for VFX?

To get started, you must have Element3D installed into After Effects, as well as a Pro ProductionCrate membership. Please be aware that this tool is highly experimental, and we cannot guarantee that it will work on your system. We are in no way affiliated with Element3D, and will not be able to provide support for Video Copilot’s product, our face-relighting tool simply uses it for the rendering process.

Once you’ve run our installer, simply open the tool by navigating to Window -> Extensions -> Crate’s Face Relight. We’ve done as much as we can to simplify the workflow using this After Effects extension, and so you’ll only need to perform a few steps!

How to relight a face in After Effects

Input Video – First, select your input video. You’ll require an MP4, MOV or ProRes4444 file.

Output Folder – The tool works by converting an input video file into a 3D OBJ sequence. This contains a 3D mesh of the actor’s face, including their position, orientation and posture, each stored in an individual file for each frame. As you can expect hundreds of files depending on the length of your project, we recommend you create an empty folder to deposit the sequence of files.

Launch App – Once you’re ready, hit “Launch app”. The tool will begin processing your footage frame-by-frame. A black console window may appear, but that’s expected due to how the tool works. You can even look at the files being generated in real-time by visiting your Output folder! If the conversion process gets stuck, it’s likely that no face was detected in a particular frame, in which case you simply click “Force Quit” on the interface.

Element3D – In most cases, this should remain checked. This will simply optimize the output mesh in a way that best works with Element3D.

Cinema4D – Checking this will enable a unique mesh generation mode that keeps each vertex-index consistent on the face. This means that in 3D packages such as Cinema4D, 3ds Max and Blender, it’s easier to attach objects to vertices in the face mesh. To retain the index consistency, the polygons are un-welded. To optimize in C4D simply merge your OBJ sequence, set proper frame-rate, select OBJ mesh and enter Polygon Mode, and with all your polygons selected right click and select Optimize. Download the C4D Template here to have your camera pre-calibrated.

Setup Scene – Once the files have been generated, clicking “Setup Scene” will produce a new composition with several layers included, kickstarting your relighting adjustments.

How to relight footage in After Effects

Before we relight the face, we must first open Element3D. Select layer 7 of your composition, and hit “Scene Setup”.

Once the Element3D interface has opened, hit File -> Import -> 3D Sequence.

How to relight a face in After Effects

A file dialogue will open, navigate to your chosen Output folder, and select the first frame of your sequence (for example, “0000.obj”).

An import preferences panel will appear. Here, you must change “Force Alignment” to “From Model”. This helps the face mesh align itself with the footage. You’re now safe to hit “Ok” and close the Element3D scene editor.

How to relight a face in After Effects

You should now be seeing results!

Relight Faces in After Effects

If your face mesh doesn’t line up quite perfectly, we recommend adjusting the “Zoom” parameter in the composition camera.

Camera Adjustment in After Effects

We know that artists don’t like being restricted, which is why we’ve ensured that the default preset is as open to interpretation as possible. By clicking the Shy switch above the timeline, you’ll be displayed additional layers which can be adjusted to fine-tune the blending of the light with the face. This includes the luma matte (which sharpens the details of the light), and the feathering system (which gradually blurs the edges of the face illumination layer). Feel free to adjust these however you feel works best for your project!

We’re looking forward to seeing you make use of this face relighting tool in your After Effects VFX project! If you’re interested in our other plugins, scripts and extensions, check them out here.

How to adjust the lighting of your actors with VFX

3D Cyber Punk City Tutorial

Mike shows us his workflow for creating a Cyber Punk inspired city in 3D!

Find the 3D Futuristic Greeble Materials he used here

How to Use Cloud VDB’s in Blender, Cinema4D, 3ds Max and more

Download high-resolution VDB clouds, wisps and atmosphere effects here.

Part of our growing library of 3D assets includes VDB files. But what are VDB files anyway?

Developed by DreamWorks, VDB’s are the CGI industries’ solution to storing three-dimensional grids of data. Each grid cell can contain a range of information, such as temperature, density, velocity and more. This makes it possible to efficiently store complex atmospheric phenomena such as clouds, explosions and even interstellar nebulae.

We’ve created several bundles of professional VDB assets that take your art to the next level. These allow you to join the many artists that are already utilising cinematic atmospheric effects in their projects. In addition to this, you can access our library of over 10,000 VFX, Sound Effects, Music and 3D Models.

Download Cloud and Tornado VDB Pack

This unique file type is not to be confused with polygon-based files, such as OBJ and FBX, which store solid 3D geometry – however, it is possible for these to accurately match the unique appearance of volumetric objects. In CG rendering, when light hits a solid object, the raytraced-path can easily be processed as a single interaction as it reflects from the surface. When entering a cloud, light can scatter erratically, requiring non-trivial approaches to simulate the appearance of the final image, such as ray-marching.

Due to the many ways that these can be rendered, different software and rendering engines have their own implementation of VDB’s. Once you know your software and rendering engine, click on the appropriate link below for their official documentation on how to use VDB files. If your software isn’t listed, there’s a good chance that they have information about VDB’s on their website.



3ds Max



We’re excited to see what you create with our cloud VDB assets. If you want to spice up your renders even further, check out our 4K Dust Overlay stock footage.

Ground Atmosphere Effects

We have 8 new 4K atmosphere effects available for our Pro Users!

These atmosphere effects are CG, enabling us to create atmosphere effects that would be difficult, or even impossible, in real life. The ability to have the atmosphere generate from the ground plane makes them perfect for compositing as mist, smoke or snow. See a few ways you can use these below.

Meet Danny Shepherd – Director and VFX Artist

I remember coming across a web series 6 years ago that got me excited for indie creators. Usually, webseries tend to bomb. Even when they’re well made, they tend not to get very many views, especially compared to the one-off videos a lot of creators release.

I get it. Watching a series is a commitment we tend to reserve for television, while Youtube is primarily where we watch our short form content. However, Youtube is still one of the best places for indie creators to find their audience, so if they do pull off the unlikely and make a successful series I give them extra props.

Danny Shepherd and the Ismahawk team did just that. In 2014 they released Nightwing: The Series, the first episode now has nearly 8 Million views. Danny and the team have since gone on to make action-packed viral videos, working with some of the top creators you know and love. He was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about their insane journey. Watch the highlights of the interview here.

How to Create Hollywood Explosion VFX – After Effects Tutorial

Download 4K Explosion Stock Footage VFX here.

Explosion stock footage is the highlight of every artist’s asset collection. That’s why we have released our latest collection of exclusive professional 4K explosion effects for you to add to your video.

Over the 10 years that ProductionCrate has been helping visual creators, we’ve been figuring out what qualities make an explosion effect valuable for our users. We’re confident enough to say that this latest bundle blows our past explosion assets out of the water.

For those who are new here, ProductionCrate is a library of over 10,000+ assets for you to use in your creative projects. Our mission is to give artists the tools needed to realize their full potential. Pro members of the ProductionCrate community can access all of the 4K explosion VFX assets, while free users can access a wide selection of our content for free.

Adrian and Chris are here to give you the finest explosion compositing tutorial in ProductionCrate history.

We provide all of our explosion VFX in several formats.

  • Quicktime PNG – Lossless, includes an alpha channel
  • ProRes – Widely compatible, includes an alpha channel
  • MP4 – Includes a green screen that can be keyed in many editing software
  • PNG sequence – Each frame is stored as an individual image

This wide selection of options guarantees compatibility with most editing software, including After Effects, Premiere Pro, Hitfilm and many others. Simply drag and drop the explosion stock footage over the background video in your timeline.

These explosion assets have been designed to be as accessible as possible, so no matter if you are new to editing or a Hollywood professional, these are the right video effects for you. This has been achieved through careful consideration in how smoke and flames blend in with a background image. You’ll notice the power of this immediately when you test it in your projects.

Download 4K Explosion VFX

Still to this day, it isn’t surprising when an explosion effect takes several hours to add to your project. You may run into issues such as clipping in the flames, inconsistent framerates, unrealistic appearances and lighting. We’ve eliminated all of these issues and more, so you can focus on making your explosion VFX as epic as possible, while also saving valuable time.

Ground illumination and shading is an essential part of creating an explosion effect. Interaction between the explosion and the ground is what makes VFX work. We’ve created a special ground blending add-on to compliment each new explosion effect.

To use them, simply overlay them over the effect. We recommend that two copies of the layer. One of them set to screen transfer mode, to act as the illumination from the fire. The second set to a multiply transfer mode to create the ambient shadow from the smoke. Adjusting the opacity of these gives you unlimited creative freedom in the look of your explosion.

Download 4K Explosion VFX

You’ll be able to download these add-on effects by opening the asset preview and clicking the title on the top of the preview box, and finally clicking the download link.

We’re excited to see the action-packed videos you create with these explosion VFX assets. If you’re interested in more of our content, check out our grenade VFX. 

the Best Free Software for VFX

We know how expensive adding visual effects to your films and videos can be. ProductionCrate started because utilizing VFX  was a difficult and costly process. In our journey to bring you professional and accessible assets for your projects we have come across software that shares a similar vision. Here is our list of the top free software options for video effects.


Hitfilm Express

If you’re not familiar with Hitfilm then you’re in for a treat. Hitfilm Express is an easy-to-use professional editing software, free for anyone to download. It’s packed with features, allowing any creator to build complex scenes with convenient tools. We gave Hitfilm Express the #1 Spot because of the overall flexibility and functionality it provides. If you’re looking for one software to add video effects to your projects, look no further.

Hitfilm Express is great for compositing, tracking, masking, transitions, and more. The Hitfilm community is fantastic, and you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of tutorials to get you started. You’ll also notice regular updates to the software, keeping it modern and up-to-date. It’s our favorite free VFX software. Check out this color grading tutorial for getting started.


Blender has always been the go-to software for free 3D work, but with recent improvements it has become so much more than just the “free-alternative”. Since Blender 2.8 has been released we can comfortably say that the software is as capable and functional as most 3D software out there. The user-community is absolutely massive, with a hardcore following and thousands of helpful artists. You can find tons of tutorials online if you’re just starting out and get on your feet fairly quickly.

We primarily use C4D and 3DSmax for most of our 3D projects, however the exciting updates in Blender were too good to pass up. Adrian decided to see how much Blender he could learn in just one month, see how he did in the video below.


Whether for story-boarding, matte painting, graphic editing or concept art you’ll need a good 2D image editor. When it comes to a free option, there is none better than GIMP. GIMP has be around for decades. It is open-source, so you will see a lot of plugins and assets built and provided by the community. They have basic tutorials to get you started, but we always suggest searching on Youtube for the best educational content.

The learning curve is considered somewhat difficult, but once you’re used to the functions and interface you’ll be cruising. We use Photoshop at ProductionCrate, but GIMP is considered the best free alternative, and it’s always awesome to use open-source software. Here’s a great video to get you going.


Unreal Engine

We were a little hesitant to add UE to our list, since the software is primarily used for game development, but with the recent advancements we’re seeing from the Epic Games team we had no choice! UE offers the amazing abilities to create hyper-realistic scenes, live in-engine compositing, set extensions, particle systems, dynamics, and entire worlds. The learning curve is far more difficult than any of the previously mentioned software, but there are more tutorials showing up to get you started. Since launching RenderCrate we’ve been diving deeper and deeper into the 3D world, so grasping Unreal Engine and utilizing it for our projects is something we’re hoping to tackle.

Check out this insanely cool video for UE4’s virtual production abilities below (also this mind-blowing demo for UE5)