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Professor Moriarty 7th Dec 2019 08:35 PM

Gaps in light streaks when using the Echo plugin
I'm attempting to replicate the Star Trek: The Motion Picture warp jump effect using the Echo plugin in After Effects to smear the light streaks. I have a separate copy of my starship model that is nothing but the lights (so that the metal/opaque parts of the ship don't obscure them), and I'm compositing the lights layer on top of the "regular" model in After Effects. The lights layer is being blurred with the Echo plugin, but no matter what settings I try I just can't quite get the "gaps" between each echo to close up and create nice continuous streaks of light:

I'm sensing that there is an upper limit to how much the Echo plugin is able to smear a single frame, which would explain why I can't make each of those segments just a little bit longer so they all merge together. (I think the only reason they look merged together towards the beginning of the effect--look at the lower right corner--is because the ship is further away and the angle relative to the camera makes them appear to be merged.)

Before I go to the trouble of re-rendering the 50 or so frames that comprise the shot at a higher framerate (so that I have more frames to blur together), I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for other ways I could attack this problem...? Thanks!

Professor Moriarty 7th Dec 2019 09:16 PM

Answered my own question. One of the ingredients I'm missing is an After Effects plugin that no longer exists: Time Blend (it was removed in CC 2015 because it wasn't compatible with the new AE architecture). Time Blend does what I need: it fills in the gaps between frames.

The makers of Time Blend (it was a third-party plugin) posted a "workaround" on their site so I'm going to give that a shot before I resort to rendering a hella lot of frames to close the segments.

Professor Moriarty 18th Dec 2019 12:14 AM

Actually... no. After even more experimentation (and also, frankly, RTFM for After Effects) I've gotten good results with Echo + pixel motion frame blending (which is built into After Effects) + 100% motion blurring when rendering the light emitter frames in OctaneRender. Once I've finished the animation I may write up a tutorial on how I accomplished the effect, if I think the results are tutorial-worthy :)

David cgc 18th Dec 2019 08:10 PM


Originally Posted by Professor Moriarty (Post 333544)
...100% motion blurring when rendering the light emitter frames in OctaneRender...

That was going to be my guess for the problem. I've done the TMP warp effect as a still, but I've never tried adapting my technique for an animation.

Professor Moriarty 21st Dec 2019 09:24 PM

I’ll open this up for a quick peek but I’m trying to keep this under wraps until the entire video is ready. This is how it turned out:

Tony Gardner 22nd Dec 2019 05:25 AM

Looking good

Professor Moriarty 22nd Dec 2019 05:08 PM

Thanks. Still a lot to do... I don’t like the entry/exit flashes and I have some volumetric effects I want to add for the debris cloud surrounding planet IV. But the exit from warp itself, yeah, that’s pretty much what I was going for. I went through a LOT of trial-and-error on that thing to get the look I wanted, which even with GPU rendering took several attempts to perfect. I can’t even imagine trying to prototype something like this with CPU rendering.

bmckain 23rd Dec 2019 07:29 AM

Yeppers, well done. I can appreciate the stick to it ness to get it done to your liking. That's a rare quality.

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