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Smoke trail

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Fabrice DucouretSmoke trail
by on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:05:21 pm

I am trying to do a smoke train between a moving point A and a moving point B in a movie file.
I have seen an interesting tutorial on videocopilot that i tried to reproduce, but it's hard for me to do this myself (i am just the director of the film).
Is there a simple way to do it in 2d?

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:14:15 pm

To be blunt- not really. Unless you use a particle system you can't really do a smoke trail easily. Hire someone to do it for you- post a job here on the Cow.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 3, 2011 at 7:47:32 pm

Are you saying that you want a line of smoke between two points that just sits there looking smokey?

You could use the beam effect (with the ends tied to the moving points with expressions), with the roughen edges effect on it and use that as a track matte for a fractal noise layer...

It's an idea. Again, I'm not sure what look you're going for.

Initially I thought you could do it with Particular and a rapidly moving emitter, but you asked for 2d.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Olin PadillaRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 3, 2011 at 9:54:27 pm

Simple is a relative term. I have gotten descent smoke effects using fractal noise, but usually only for a really subtle look.

There is a smoke preset that can be tweaked to look almost OK. If you play with the settings, blend modes, and mask it right, you might get an acceptable effect.

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Fabrice DucouretRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 4, 2011 at 2:26:22 pm

Hello Olin

Thank you very much for your kind response.
All the nice answers I have gotten here make me feel like I have a lot to learn about AE to even begin to explain what I want to do precisely...
In the first shot, there are missiles coming out of a moving point, and the camera is panning to the left to accompany the missiles.
In another shot, they are coming towards the camera while the camera zooms back.
I think this effect is not too difficult to accomplish for someone who knows their way in Particular and AE, and have already several past projects to edit/modify/reuse/start from, but I am just the director of the film and I try to teach myself how to do these effects, and I feel like I need to learn from step 1 and take a few more months to accomplish just the smoke trails, which is discouraging at times.

On the other hand, I have had "ok" results in the past by splitting the original movie files into still images and adding the effects on each image in Photoshop. But it's tedious as well and the results are just OK...

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Fabrice DucouretRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:57:04 pm

Thank you Michael for your expert advice.
Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough with AE or Particular to be ready to use your advice this soon.

I only directed the film for which I need those effects, and I was trying to do the effects myself because I thought that it would be easy for me to understand the basics of AE (i've done lots of animation in FCP), I was eager to do it myself rather than ask someone, but it's extremelt complicated to me.

I followed a tutorial on videocopilot about smoke trails, and the result I got is interesting, but still far from what I want, and hard to manipulate (entry points for the paths won't be moved around freely for example, the paths are all wrong).

Maybe I could show you the files and get your opinon? I don't think it would be too hard to fix for someone with a little more experience than me.

Thank you very much

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Fabrice DucouretRe: Smoke trail
by on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:46:05 pm

Thanks Ted! I'll follow your advice...

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