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How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.

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Sean Maloba
How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 4, 2017 at 1:21:20 am
Last Edited By Sean Maloba on Dec 4, 2017 at 8:17:15 am

I'm trying to create an effect where an actor motions as if to draw a weapon and as he takes aim it materializes. What'd be the best way to achieve this without making it look super cheesy? I should also clarify that this is just proof of concept at the moment.


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 4, 2017 at 10:58:09 am

An electric effect as the object materializes seems like a reasonably workable approach. The effect would follow the edges of the object (any important 3D edges, not just the 2D outer edges) as if "drawing it". Depending on execution, it could look anything from super cheesy to super cool. Look at Predator invisibility cloaking for inspiration.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Sean Maloba
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 5, 2017 at 4:23:23 am

Thanks for the suggestion, I had something similar in mind for the effect itself but am more wondering how to go about shooting it.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 5, 2017 at 7:27:25 pm

[Sean Maloba] "...am more wondering how to go about shooting it."

So am I. We have the concept for the shot, but not the nuts & bolts. Will the actor fire the weapon? Will there be kickback from a recoil? Will the actor wave it around? Different actions dictate different shooting strategies.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Sean Maloba
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 6, 2017 at 5:20:19 am

To clarify, there won't be any kickback as the weapon won't be fired. The final position the actor would be in looks something like this(I'd want to mimic the camera angle as well, though I'm not deadset on it): http://prntscr.com/hjp2w9 As for the motion I had in mind, it'd be similar to one an archer makes when retrieving an arrow from their quiver. Except instead of an arrow it's a rifle. The rifle in this case would stay completely invisible up until the actor assumes the position I linked earlier, at that point the weapon materializes.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 6, 2017 at 6:30:51 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Dec 6, 2017 at 7:26:12 pm

Okey-dokey. This ain't easy.

  • You will have to train your actor to make the motion as if the weapon is already in hand -- no squeezing!
  • You have to make the actor move to match the mass of the weapon -- a person puts different effort into moving something that weighs 25 pounds than something that weighs 5 pounds.
  • It will take MANY takes to get it right, even with rehearsal.
  • Also, you need diligence on the part of the part of the effects supervisor. No "yeah, that's OK" responses to takes -- it has to be perfect or you can't sell the effect.
  • You will have to create a 3D model of the weapon. More on this next.
  • Once you have an acceptable actor take, you can track the motion (in a 3D application). THEN you can animate the previously-made model to match the tracking, and make it materialize in the actor's hands.


Long story short -- this is more about a 3D application than AE.
This special effects stuff gets pretty complicated, no?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Sean Maloba
Re: How to make an object slowly appear in an actor's hand.
on Dec 8, 2017 at 6:48:09 am

Yeah it definitely does get quite complicated, thanks a lot for the responses Dave, really appreciate it.


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