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Create a 3D light ray from projector

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Tim Fast
Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 3, 2010 at 6:33:41 pm

Hello,

I need to create a ray of light coming from a projector (as in a cinema). There is a wonderful tutorial by Eran Stern that describes how to do it. However, I want my camera to move around in 3D space and thus I can't see how I can use the tutorial because it's made for a 2D project.

I've searched around and saw some tips about using Trapcode's Lux. I've taken a look at the plugin but the main problem is that the projection of the light is circular. Cinema projections use to be rectangular. :-) Of course, it is desirable that the rays reflect what's happening on the screen (as in Eran's tutorial) but it is not absolutely necessary. I can add some flicker later to simulate the effect.

The only way I can come up with is to create 4 semitransparent solids building a rectangular pyramid representing the light ray from the projector but I'm afraid there will be problems when the planes of the pyramid will overlap each other and reveal how the "light" is built.

Any suggestions how I can do it better?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 4, 2010 at 4:34:50 pm

If you're after that amount of realism, you might consider shooting the volumetric light as a practical effect.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 4, 2010 at 5:38:04 pm

...oh, and you'll need motion control, too. I forgot that tidbit. Sorry.

Here's a thought: I don't know if this is possible -- it probably isn't -- but you might try putting the footage going through the projector into its own comp. Then highlight the light being used in Lux and use the Replace Footage command.

You'll find out in one big hurry whether it works or not, and it's not that tough to try it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tim Fast
Re: Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 4, 2010 at 7:58:24 pm

Thank you for your reply Dave!

I don't need so much realism. I forgot to say that the whole scene is animated. So, nobody will expect a "real" projector light beam there.

As to your tip, yes I have the screen material in a separate comp but I don't see how I can replace the footage of the light layer. It's just a light, no footage. Or did I misunderstand your tip?

I've investigated the problem all over the internet. I found out that many people ask for the solution of exactly the same problem. However, nobody got a proper answer. Thus, I think that it's quite impossible to make such effect in AE. I would need a real 3D software to achieve the goal. :-(


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 4, 2010 at 8:03:24 pm

Tim Fast : "...I think that it's quite impossible to make such effect in AE. I would need a real 3D software to achieve the goal. :-("

I'm glad you came to that conclusion on your own. I have been thinking a 3D app was the only way to do it since your original post.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tim Fast
Re: Create a 3D light ray from projector
on Jul 5, 2010 at 7:56:58 am

I've finally found a solution after all! And it was not so far away. :-)


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