I am thrashing out a few ideas for a a space scene opening for our show. I am probably giong about this a hard way, but I really want it to look impressive.
What I have so far, is the following:
1) around 20 layers of starfields
2) All Layers are 3D
3) One layer is far back in Z space, and does not move (X)
4) 2 layers are set at diagonals as fill in stars (X)
5) The rest of the layers, are spaced out in Z space, with a circle mask cut in the centre of each.
6) A camera is added to the scene and moved towards the back space layer (through the hole in each layer as it goes)
I feel this creates a nice 3D feel,
my question is this:
Would it be better (or even possible) to keep the camera where it is, and have the layers move towards it, and then as each layer reaches a specific point, it loops back to the begining, thereby creating an endless "zoom" into space?
I am sure there are easier and better ways to do this, and I have several space ideas and tutorials stored somewhere. I just thought this might be a nice way to do it...... Am I crazy? Have I lost the plot?
It's usually easier to move the camera. I haven't seen your completed project but I think 20 layers of stars is way more than you need. I've done this kind of thing many times and I use a 2D layer for the far background and then usually 1 other layer. Sometimes 2. There's usually not enough detail in a star field to warrant 20 separate layers unless you have a really long camera move.
Also, your layers are awfully close together. This will give you very subtle perspective shifts between layers. You probably won't see much of a difference between your 20 layer setup if you position 10 of the layers in one z space and the other 10 in another.
I know that you're undertaking production of a series. Here's one thing you must take into consideration. Work Vs Effect. There's nothing in the world that I know of that is as easy to get out of control as a production budget. The hardest thing for any film maker to learn is when to move on to the next shot. You have to constantly look for ways to do things faster and more efficiently. It's no wonder that the effects house that just won the Academy Award for visual effects for "Life if Pi" went bankrupt. Your 20 layer starfield may look great, and you may have time to do things like that now, but will a 3 layer star field give you an acceptable result? Only you can make that call.
You asked about creating an endless loop for the star field. The easiest way to do that is with duplicate layers and math. Say your camera starts at -2000 and layer 1 is at 0, layer 2 at 1000, layer 3 at 2000 and layer 4 at 3000. If layer 1 and layer 3 are identical and layer 2 and 4 are identical, then if you set a keyframe when the camera gets to -1 then render and loop that render you will have a seamless loop. I hope you followed that. It's all a matter of duplicate layers and arithmetic.
That is a really great suggestion (the one about looping the render).
It is true, I still need to figure out what would be best, time VS work. I have the first draft of the story board for the shows intro, but there is no actual timing on it yet. Thats the next step, I thought I could pro-actively start working on some of the effects shots (like a space flight), but without the proper timing, I think I might be wasting time.
Thanks Rick, this advice, and the one about the Red cameras is much appreciated!
Europe, Middle East and Africa