I am back to testing and proofing some effects that we might want to use, and today, I am investigating ways to make a nice scanner burst.
Lets say we have a scene with someone holding a scanner, and he presses a button and a "ring" displaces out from him in 3d space - growing larger and more transparent as it goes by, till it dissapears in the distance. Did that make sense? (it does in my head at least!)
I have tried a few things, and by using "Radio Waves" on a solid, blurring it a little and using it as a track matte with some coloured solids, then adding Fractal noise etc, I get a pretty nice looking scanner burst. My question is, "Am I missing something easier?". If I have learned one thing from After Effects over the past year, is that there are always 1000 ways of doing any effect, and most of the times, someone has come up with an easier way than me!
Here is a clip of what I made.
Please note!: This is the very first time I have ever attempted to make a clip available online. Yes, my first YouTube upload. SO, whatever glaring mistakes I have made - well, tell me and Ill probably try to make it better (but dont hold your breath - this is just an example!)
Once again, thanks for your time, and I look forward to finding out if there is an easier way to do this.
PS - If you need to see project files for this to make sense, um, tell me how to make them available and I will.
In the past I created a couple of those "disk shockwaves" they use in "Star Trek"/ "Star Wars" a lot. Usually just some large solid with a couple of Circle effects and the occasional dose of Roughen Edges and blurs here and there, all tied to some global expression controls. Since it happens all in one layer this has the advantage that it can be easily duplicated without ever having to pre-compose and you can even have it have "volume" by adding an adjustment layer on top of it with abnother Roughen Edges or some blur that stretches out teh edges perpendicular to the 3D layer. For a scanner effect I'd use pretty much the same approach, just with adjusted parameters and perhaps a Displacement effect so the ring/ beam deforms when it "hits" an object.
Watch this free episode of Broadcast Design on how to make a Shockwave Displacement:
This may help to enhance the final result. This is quite similar to using a displacement map.
This article collects several alternatives for such results:
Thank you for the links, I will check them all out this morning. There are a few there that look really prominsing.
Thanks for the suggestion. I was busy trying it out, but had to stop to assist some of the team with a few liquify issues they were experiencing. From what I saw - from the start, the procedure you mentioned also looks quite promising.
Thank you for your link. I watched the clip. The procedure is helpfull, but I am also interrested in adding detail into the shockwave, as well as giving it the 3D look of travveling away from the viewer in Z-space. Thanks all the same, the techniques discussed in the clip were also helpful.
I got the time today to go through your suggestion, and it works nicely and is pretty simple to set up. I just used keyframes to control the speed and size of the ring instead of expression controls - I still have not used expressions too much, and see them as a bit of a black hole at the moment. So far, the roughen edges effect adds some nice detail in the ring, and if I do some colour correction on it, it should end up quite nicely.
I also tried out using a still of one of the ships as a displacement map, and the ring deforms nicely when it "hits" the ship.
I was wondering if I could pick your brains some more - I am about to start looking into creating the reveal of the ship once the scanner hits it, and I am thinkin of some sort of opacity/displacment reveal over time as it comes into view. I also wanted to maybe add a few lighting crackles around it. Yeah, I know it has been done millins of times before, but I thought... "Why re-invent the wheel, when you can just make it look better!!"
Anyway, I will be looking into it today, but if anyone has some suggestions to make the search easier, they would be appreciated.
Thanks again for the advice on creating a nice easy to use, and good looking scanner wave.