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HyperVoxels Meteors

Using NewTek LightWave 3D to create meteors By Stephen Schleicher

Ever since writing the Fire in the Eyes tutorial on how to do a heat vision effect ala Smallville, I have been flooded with requests for more Smallville-esque tutorials.  In this LightWave 3D tutorial, we’ll create a meteor falling from the sky.

If you haven’t check out my review of Pixel Hoe from The Pixel Farm .   In the review, I describe how you can import a movie file and have the application create tracking data that can be exported to many applications including NewTek’s LightWave 3D.  Here is the original footage.

Pixel Hoe did a great job tracking the data that was then brought into LightWave.

You can see the tracking data has been converted to Null Objects.  While these markers can be used to attach objects, we are more concerned about the camera movement.  With a solid camera move, we can place anything in the scene, animate it, and it will appear to mesh with the background plate perfectly.

Even if you do not have Pixel Hoe or motion tracking software, this tutorial will show you how you can create a meteor using HyperVoxels.

Step 1:  Add a particle emitter to the scene.  Name the emitter Meteor, and make sure the emitter type is set to HV Emitter.

Step 2:  In the Object Properties panel increase the Birth Rate to 200 and increase the Particle Limit to 15000.  This will ensure there are plenty of particles that will be generated.  Since the meteor will be moving at incredible speed, a large number of particles will be needed for the streaking smoke behind the object.

Step 3:  Even though the particles will be moving quickly, as soon as a “piece” burns off it will meet a great deal of resistance from the atmosphere.  Under the Particle Tab increase the Resistance Amount to 3.0.  The particle shouldn’t die instantly, so increase the Life Time to 90 frames (three seconds), and add a bit of randomness to the lifespan to 15.

Step 4:  you are now ready to set the spread of the particles.  You don’t want a wide fountain of particles; instead you want a thin stream.  Change the Explosion to 5, the Vibration to 1, and Vibration(min) to 10%.  This will cause some movement of the particles as they come to rest and eventually disappear.

If you scrub through the Timeline you will see an explosion of particles that quickly slow down.  While this doesn’t look great stationary, it will create a dramatic streak of effects when the emitter is animated.

Step 5:  Move the Emitter:  X=110m, Y=100m, Z=50m and create a keyframe at frame 0.

Step 6:  Move to frame 100 and reposition the Emitter:  X= -220m, Y=-10m, Z=100m.  Now when you scrub through the Timeline or make a preview, you will see particles breaking off and hanging in the air.

You should check these positions with your background plate to ensure a proper match.


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Related Keywords:lightwave, meteor, hypervoxels, smallville, schleicher, after effects, pixel hoe, tutorial, exercise, 3d

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  • HyperVoxels Meteors by DMN Editorial at Aug. 05, 2005 10:58 pm gmt (Rec'd 2)

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