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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:

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!

HD Blood VFX Collection

Download HD blood impact VFX assets here

Halloween is approaching, which is the perfect time to think about the spooky areas of VFX, like blood! It has always been very close to our hearts when working in special effects. Producers tend to want to keep their actors alive, and so studios must find ways to recreate these gore-filled sequences using safer methods.

You’ve probably heard of the classic squib! These are miniaturised air cannons which can be remotely set off, forcing blood-coloured fluid effects into the air. This creates the illusion of a bullet impact! However, these can be expensive, timely to set up and will ruin whatever you’re wearing. This is why the industry has been shifting more towards compositing these blood effects digitally using VFX.

Blood Squib FX

This shot featured in our “Put a gun through a hand” tutorial did exactly this. We used blood explosion assets which are all available to download on FootageCrate. We even have free blood impacts as well, so there’s nothing to stop you from turning your movie into a gruesomely realistic action adventure!

Our HD pre-keyed blood explosions are easy to composite, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping the effect into your video using any compositing software. Popular ones to try are Adobe After Effects, Hitfilm, and Premiere Pro which are all accessible to learn from our countless tutorials.

After hosting this content for more than 8 years, we’re proud of our blood splatter VFX, and we hope you have great fun using these in your video.

 

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!

 

 

Dust and Smoke VFX Collection

Download your HD Smoke and Dust VFX here

One thing that completes any VFX shot is dust and smoke. They bring a truly gritty atmosphere to any action sequence, and shall forever be a must-have for any serious film producer!

There are two ways you can become a pyrotechnic expert and blast your shot into the next level. The first is to do these effects practically, whether that is setting off fog machines on set, or even using a smoke-grenade. While this may sound like the fun option, it is not always the most practical due to cost, time to set-up, and making sure you operate this equipment safely.

The second option is cheap, quick, easy and only a click away! We have a gigantic collection of dust and smoke VFX assets for your video, all ready to be deployed into your film-production workflow to make your scene look stunning.

Our smoke plumes in action!

So what do we have?

Our bundle includes atmospheric smoke, fog, gigantic plumes, volcanic ash clouds, bursts and dozens of other variations! All of these effects are ready to download, after which you can composite them into your video through software such as After Effects, Hitfilm, Nuke and any other with multi-layer features. We have pre-keyed all of our footage to make it as simple as possible for you to drop them into your composition.

We recommend that you apply a subtle tint effect to your smoke effects so that they match the color of the lighting around them. Another useful tip is to once again tint the overall color to very lightly lean towards the colour of the sky, with a greater tint for further away smoke. 

Download HD Smoke and Dust VFX here

If you want to learn more about how you can improve your VFX quickly, read our article on adding rubble to your video.

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!

 

New Bullet Hole Assets!

Download HD bullet hole impact VFX assets here!

Too often do we overlook one of the must-have features of a gunfight in our VFX. Bullet holes!

I’ve seen a lot of fight scenes involving a shootout simply focus on the muzzle flashes, but seemingly jumping over the fact that for every bullet shot, there is some form of damage inflicted on the scene (unless they’re shooting into the air, perhaps at some unlucky ducks). We wanted to change this, by making it more accessible for VFX artists like you to create these effects quickly and easily.

Our collection of bullet hole graphics have been made specifically to fit any compositors needs, in a superbly large resolution. The pre-keyed alpha matte means it is already ready to be blended into whatever surface it is being applied to, whether that is metal, concrete, or even glass!

Our smashed glass collection is essential for any fight scene. These are the easiest to apply, just drop it over your glass, apply a screen blending mode to it, and voila!

We hope these HD bullet hole assets are a perfect addition to your VFX workflow. Download them all today!

Thinking of how you can make your scene even more explosive? Let us introduce you to our rubble collection.

New Debris and Water Blast FX

Using a mortar and compressed air we were able to shoot a variety of debris and water up into the sky!

We had a 12×20 green backdrop for the dust elements to key and keep the shadow. For the water burst elements we backlit the bursts and used a 20×20 black backdrop to pull the key.

These were all shot at 4K resolution, slowed from 120fps to 29.97fps

 

Find the Dust/Debris Blast VFX Here

Find the Water Blast Effects Here

 

 

Venom Effects

Find all the Venom VFX used Here

These effects were created in 3DS Max with Splines