Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect
by Brandon Douglas on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:35:45 pm
I'm trying to create a vintage-ish warp-speed/hyperspace/stargate effect — similar to the one in this video (which should autoload at the right spot of 24 seconds).
I've been using Trapcode Particular and the results have been so-so — the general construction of, and movement through the stargate are fine, but the look of the beams of light are off. They're too "harsh" and defined — looking more like neon tubes than streaks of light. I've tried altering the particle type and nothing really seems to work.
I'm wondering if there's an alternative method I could use to get that softer look of streaking light from the late-70s/early-80s. I've done text effects with echo, glow, and 3D zooming to achieve something like the credit sequence from Superman: The Movie, and thought those techniques might be useful. But, not sure how that would work in this scenario, given the need for random lifespans/coloring of the star streaks. Any suggestions?
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Blaise Douros on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:55:49 pm
You could use CC Particle World, create a 3D camera, and play with your physics until they do what you want (or use Particular, for that matter). Then pre-compose it, and overlay a copy or two with varying levels of Fast Box Blur to create a softer glow. There's no reason, if you want it to look that soft, that you couldn't just box blur the comp, right?
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Steve Bentley on Apr 10, 2018 at 11:21:46 am
You can also jack the motion blur up to streak farther than the actual motion would normally allow. Just because a film camera can only go to (theoretically) 360 degrees doesn't mean us converted digital guys have to. We've done projects with 6000 degrees of shutter angle.
As one who actually did the titles on some of those mentioned, this brings back terrible memories of the Slit Screen effect. Soooo many camera runs on the rostrum to get that effect.
Now where did I put that Kodalith I had a minute ago? I love the smell of Fix in the morning!
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Brandon Douglas on Apr 10, 2018 at 2:09:08 pm
@Blaise and @Steve — Thanks! These are both good ideas (particularly because it may mean being able to use the stargate I've already created with Particular). I'll give them a whirl.
@Steve — I had previously checked out Slit Screen and saw how painstaking the process was. I always romanticize those pre-CG days, but I've never had to do the work by hand.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Jacob Roth on Apr 10, 2018 at 4:45:17 pm
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Steve Bentley on Apr 10, 2018 at 7:45:48 pm
Stupid spell check! That should be "Slit Scan" if you want to research how we used to do it.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Brandon Douglas on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:28:11 pm
Ha! That's what I meant to say, as well. I've fully familiarized myself with the process over the past week or so — particularly because of the 2001 anniversary and all the articles popping up about the effects.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Brandon Douglas on Apr 10, 2018 at 7:57:28 pm
@Jacob — Thanks for the link! It's very useful.
Using an Optics Compensation effect (reversing the lens distortion and stretching the field of view) coupled with a small amount of Fast Box Blur is getting me very close to what I'm looking for in terms of the softness.
I may have to mess with Particular a bit to get the shape of the streaks more in line with what I want. The light rays in that original video have a nice taper to them on both ends, whereas mine are straight rays. That tapering adds to the sense of the beams streaking by.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Steve Bentley on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:25:44 pm
If you have particular perhaps you have 3D stroke? You can add a taper to either end of the the strokes generated and as they recede they will "perspectively" taper to the vanishing point because they are 2.5D.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Brandon Douglas on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:57:38 pm
@Steve — I do have 3D Stroke. Thanks for the heads-up. I'm going to look into it.
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Steve Bentley on Apr 10, 2018 at 9:00:53 pm
And 3D stroke has a repeater so you can make clones of a single stroke and offset them
Re: Creating 70s/80s-style stargate/warp-speed effect by Brandon Douglas on Apr 11, 2018 at 3:12:42 pm
After some tweaking, I've found the general look that I was going for. Here's a preliminary version:
Outside of Particular, I used a combination of Shine, Optical Flares, and Glow to get the desired lighting schema, along with the aforementioned Optics Compensation and Fast Box Blur for softness, and a few color correction adjustments. I played around with blending modes and opacity, as well.
Thanks for all the suggestions — they were very helpful!