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Build your first transition with HFX

Build your first transition with HFX By Le Papy - Last updated on Sunday, September 21, 2014
33039 Views :: 0 Comments
Category: Hollywood FX Tutorials / Basis  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Friday, November 8, 2013
Created on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:51 AM

Lately, many users have been interested in making their first transition. I thought that with the many tutorials available online and the 8 integrated software tutorial lessons, everything had been published to get you started. But looking closer, I realized we were missing a comprehensive tutorial to address the construction of a transition totally from start to finish that could be useful later. So I put together a small transition that is not so much artistically interesting, but more interesting because it involves a number of technical procedures that are widely used in many other transitions.

Before you jump headlong into this tutorial, I suggest that you read the 8 integrated software tutorial lessons, if only to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and terms. Reading the tutorial "Learn Hollywood FX (HFX)" will help in the task ahead.

Step 1 : The Desired Effect for the Transition

For this tutorial, I am proposing that we build a transition to switch from image A (Host 01) to the image B (02 host) timed to a theater curtain opening.

  • Image A pivots out of the way by rotating along an axis at the top of Video A;
  • The curtain will appear under Image A. The light shining on the curtain will dim and brighten just before it's opened;
  • Image B will be visible when the curtain opens and the B image is illuminated by the point light.
Step 2 : Materials Needed

Two things you need to start:

  1. The Hollywood FX software (Easy_FX.exe) that was installed by your version of Studio. Beginning with AVID Studio, the software is automatically activated in order to modify existing transitions or build new transitions;
  2. P_rideau.png, a file that I created. To retrieve this file, you need to download the 380-curtain.hfz transition in our free HFX and install on your computer.

After loading the transition from the 00-Declic Video folder in the object tree, you have two options:

  1. View this HFX transition to get an idea of its operation and possibly use in one of your projects. Stop reading this tutorial if you don't want to gain an understanding of the various mechanisms used to make the transition perform as shown. . . . . . . or
  2. Take a little time to learn how to build the transition, step by step, following the tutorial below ...

The choice is up to you!

Step 3 : Construction of the Transition in HFX

To begin, open Hollywood FX by using the shortcut or by double clicking on the Easy_FX.exe file. If it won't open, try it in administrator mode.

Hollywood FX allows you to create or change "effects". These effects are divided into two categories, transitions and plugins.

  • Transitions allow you to move from one plane to another in different ways, using intermediate levels.
  • Plugins are a little more difficult to create and are not the subject of this tutorial. They change a clip throughout its duration.

Transitions are inserted between two clips when you don't want to use a plain "cut". A plugin requires the use of the "HFX Filter" to apply it to a clip.

We will create the previously described transition:

  1. From the "File" menu, click "New" item (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + N);
  2. The last tree loaded effect is set to white. A new "Untitled" FX object and a "Camera" object are created automatically.
Creating a new effect
Step 4 : Adding the "Flat 01" Object to the Transition
  1. Select the "Objects/Simple" folder in the album tree;
  2. Click and drag the Flat 01 object to add it to the album.

    The Flat 01 object can contain media. It will be used to hold the Host Video 1, ie: Image A of the transition.
Inserting the 01 Flat object

Flat 01 object is now part of the transition with its default settings.

You will notice that all the default settings are 0 except the Scale setting which is 1 in x, y and z (ie size or enlarged or reduced).

  1. Therefore, the Y pivot point is zero. This means that the axis of rotation of the Flat 01 object is located by default at mid-height of the (Y) dimension. If we rotate the Flat 01 object, it will rotate on a centerline indicated by the yellow dotted line I added on the screenshot.

As a reminder, image A must disappear by pivoting on the axis at the top of Video A. You have to change the axis of rotation acting on the Y pivot. You can find more details in the tutorial "[ARTICLELINK 1203]."

Default setting of Flat 01

You will change some default settings:

  1. Change the Z position to 1.000 so that the Flat 01 object is moved to the foreground. It will be closer to the camera (zoomed);
  2. Set the Flat 01 Y object pivot point to 150 (Top of the screen), which will move image A to the center of the screen - see the tutorial "[ARTICLELINK 1203]";
  3. With the Flat 01 object still selected, click on the "Size to Full Screen" button;
  4. Image A is now full screen and the axis of rotation is at the top of the screen.
Changing the default settings

You will notice that when you use the "Size to Full Screen" button, HFX automatically adjusted some settings for image A to return it to its original, un-zoomed position.

  1. HFX set the Y position to 1.125 according to the formula (Pivot*Resize/100);
  2. So that the image is no longer zoomed while being closer to the camera (setting z = 1), HFX set the scaling in X, Y and Z to 0.750 according to the formula ((4-Position Z) / 4) .
  3. You can see that image A is now full screened and it is no longer zoomed.
Entering the new parameters

I'll animate this Flat 01 object by creating a rotational envelope that will contain three keyframes.

To do this:

  1. Click the "Show/Hide Album" button;
  2. Click the "X" rotation angle parameter to display the envelope for this parameter.
  3. Make sure the cursor is at the beginning of the time line and click the "Create a Key" button to automatically create the first and last of the three keyframes.
Creating a rotation envelope
For working more precisely, go to "Setup/Timecode" and check the parameter for "Percent". Setting the time code

All that remains is to create the second keyframe and the rotation envelope will be complete. To do this:

  1. Move the time slider to 12% of the time code;
  2. You can control your slider movement in 1% increments;
  3. Click the "Create a Key" button.
Creation of the second keyframe
  • The first keyframe has been created with a rotation parameter = 0: Do not change its value;
  • Position the slider on the second keyframe and change the X rotation angle to -90;
  • Position the slider on the third and last keyframe and change the X rotation angle to -90.

Thus, image A is in the normal position at the beginning of the effect, will start its rotation from 0 to -90 (counter clockwise) between 0 and 12% of the total time of the transition and remain at -90 (therefore invisible) until the end of the transition. HFX creates all keyframes with a default "Curve" parameter. In this type of transition, you will get a better result with keyframes set to "Linear". You can find more details in the tutorial "[ARTICLELINK 1158]".

Step 5 : Adding the "Curtain" Object to the Transition

The "Curtain" is a 3D object that can be deformed according to the "Morph" parameter of the object. 3D objects are created with specialized software (See our FAQ No. 23). This 3D object is used in the transitions in the "32 - Multimedia 1" folder.


You need to import the 3D object in your HFX album :

  1. In the "Album" menu, click on the "Import 3D" item;
  2. Navigate to the "32-Multimedia 1" folder;
  3. Select the Curtain.hfo file and open it.

The file will be imported into the "Objects/Imported Objects" folder in the tree view of your HFX album.

Importing 3D object "Curtain.hfo"
  1. Select the "Objects/ Imported Objects" folder in the album tree;
  2. By clicking and dragging the "Curtain" object to the album tree, the "Curtain" object is added to the transition.
Inserting Curtain object

By default, the "Curtain" object contains the Host Video 1 (Image A). As we have already used and processed the image A in the Flat 01 object, we can change the media to the P_Rideau.png file to make the red curtain.

  1. Click on "Host Video 1" of the "Curtain" object;
  2. Select a new media file;

If you unzipped the 380-curtain.hfz file, you will find the P_Rideau.png file in this folder: C:\ Users \ Public \ Documents \ Pinnacle \ Content \ HollywoodFX \ Images \ 00 - Declic Video.

Changing the object "Curtain" media

I will animate the "Curtain" by creating a morphing envelope that will contain three keyframes.

To do this :

  1. Select the "Curtain" object;
  2. Click the "Morph Shape" parameter;
  3. Move the time slider to 0;
  4. Click the "Create a Key" button which will create keyframes at the start and end of the time line.

Creating the morphing envelope for Curtain object

Finally, create a third keyframe at 60%. 3 keyframes are created with a morphing parameter equal to 0. You simply change the setting of the last keyframe from 0 to 100. Then, the curtain will be closed from 0 to 60% and gradually open from 60 to 100%.

Note: The time slider is still at 0% so image A has not yet pivoted up and still covers the red curtain that is in the second plane (Z = 0).

Step 6 : Adding the "Back 2" Object to Transition

To add the Back 2 object that will contain the Backdrop 2 object, ie; the B picture in the background, you will follow the same procedure you did earlier to add the Flat 01 object.

  1. To put it in the proper order, you will place it between the camera and the Flat 01 object;
  2. It will be behind the "Curtain" object.

The Back 2 object does not need to be animated, so there is no need to create a motion envelope or keyframes.

Inserting the Back 2 object
Step 7 : Adjust Lighting

Next, I will add some light to your transition. Remember the initial statement:

  • The curtain will appear under image A. The light on the curtain will dim and brighten just before it is opened;
  • Image B will be visible at the opening of the curtain and image B is illuminated by the Point light.

To create this light, click and drag a "White-Falloff" object (Point light) from the "Lights / Point" folder from the album tree to the HFX transition tree. Insert this object between the camera and the "Back 2" object.

To vary the brightness of the lighting, select the "White-Falloff" object and create a "Brightness" envelope with 5 keyframes: Image B will be visible at the opening of the curtain and then image B is illuminated by the point light.

Keyframe 1 : 300 at 0%
Keyframe 2 : 60  at 24%
Keyframe 3 : 29 at 48%
Keyframe 4 : 300 at 60%
Keyframe 5 : 300 at 100%

Implementation of lighting
Step 8 : Saving your Transition

Don't forget to save your transition to the folder of your choice, but with a different name from any existing transition in another folder otherwise it will not appear anywhere in Studio ... (see "[ARTICLELINK: 1019]" Step 2 - Peculiarities 2).

Now that you know how to build this transition, you know how to build 80% of transitions that we offer for free on this site. But if you prefer to download, don't hesitate because it does go much faster ... cool

And if you wish to share your transitions with the community, do not hesitate and visit our CONTACT page.

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

{Screen Captures were made with the help of Snagit 10 by TechSmith}

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