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How to make 3 dimensional muzzle flash

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Arsen Beglarian
How to make 3 dimensional muzzle flash
on Jan 11, 2012 at 12:57:00 pm

Hi everyone ! I want to make a freeze time effect like in "Phillips carousel"

where the camera moves around frozen policemen and there are 3 dimensional muzzle flashes coming out from their guns. I made a small test in half an hour with Pftrack and AE

but the flash is 2d and flat. I guess i should make 3d one with Trapcode Particlar so could someone give me links for particular tuts that will help to do this or may be suggest some other technique!
Thank you very much in advance !

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Andrew Somers
Re: How to make 3 dimensional muzzle flash
on Jan 16, 2012 at 12:02:40 am

Trapcode Particular is the method I'd suggest, along with a 3D motion tracker, such as PFtrack, which you indicated you have. Oddly enough I happen to be working some shots like this myself. We shot the scene "live" with the actors holding still (using C-stands or other props as needed to help them hold position, which then needed to be painted out)). 3D tracked the camera move, then added the dynamic elements of smoke, fire, water, etc.

If you are building "fake 2.5D" entirely from 2D elements, then skip to step 4:


1) 3D track the shot, and if possible in the software you are using place a tracking point at the tip of the gun barrel, then solve the 3D camera.

2) Export the track to after effects, selecting only the tracking point at the tip of the gun barrel for export so that point alone comes in as a null object.

3) Import the file into AE, and add your footage to the comp.

4) Create a comp sized solid, and add Particular to it.

5) Set the X,Y and Z of the Particular emitter to match that of the null object's position (the gun barrel tip).

6) Adjust the emitter to shoot the particles in the appropriate direction, and then freeze:
6a) Set the number of particle per second fairly high at the first frame and set a key frame, then on the next frame set the particles per second to zero
6b) Set particle velocity high enough to get the particles out the desired length.
6c) Set the LIFE to enough seconds to fit the length of the video.
6d) On the first frame, keyframe "Physics Time factor" to number like 5, then on frame two or three, key frame it to zero.

7) Add a still image of a flame/smoke/whatnot to the comp, turn that layer off and use it as a sprite particle. Adjust size rotation, etc to get the right look. Also adjust the particles per second at frame one, and the emitter velocity as needed.

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Arsen Beglarian
Re: How to make 3 dimensional muzzle flash
on Jan 22, 2012 at 7:16:56 am

Thank you very much for your help !!! I did not even hope that someone will help me with so many details ! Thanks !

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