From Idea to Effect
Any user that acts upon the advice presented here accepts all of the responsibility for their actions. I can accept no liability for any loss of data on your computer (you should always make regular backups !).
Goal of this lesson: Learn how to create your own HFX effects.
Creating your own effect. In the "Tuto-2 General tutorial / Easy FX Editor", we have looked at the user interface. This overview was necessary in order to find most of the essential functions. It will become very clear when you are using the program. And what better way than to create an effect yourself. In this part we will investigate this possibility.
When you start to create an effect, you have to have a good idea of how it should be on the screen. Then you dissect that idea into a number of parts, which you have to translate based on the abilities of the program, in this case Hollywood FX. When that has been done, all you have to do is push the right buttons and functions and your effect is ready for use in your video-film.
It is not that easy and especially not the first time. Yet it is the correct approach to use for a complex program like Hollywood FX. Let us check out the effect we are going to create.
Imagine, that you are busy making a video-film all about your favorite soccer team. i.e as an introduction you want to place a transition effect, looking like this:
This will be the effect at the end
From the spectators point of view the ball is disappearing in the direction of the goal (1) and is disappearing on the left crossing (2) behind the goal line. At that moment, the ball hits the ground (3), a round object is coming in the direction of the spectator and on that object there is a moving video-image (4), which at the end is full-screen (5) . From that moment the video-film goes on as planned.
When you look at the effect more carefully, you can see that the effect is created from three parts: the background, the football and the object with the football. Now that you know that, you can start building the effect. Of course you begin with the easy parts , the background. But first a few preparatory activities
Step 1 - A good beginning and the work is half done.
Before you start you have to take care, that you can save your effect in a separate folder. It is not wise to do that in one of the folders, that HFX uses itself. Unfortunately it is also not wise to save it in a random folder (i.e. under My documents) , you are limited to the folder-structure of HFX. In Windows Explorer you look for the folder
<C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Hollywood FX 5\Effects>, (if you work within Studio, this folder has a slightly different name)
In this folder you see all kinds of subfolders, starting with a number, running from 01 up to and including 25. To this list you add your own new folder, i.e. a folder with the name < 99 – Own effects>.
When that is done, you start Easy FX Editor as a standalone program (so you go to Start / Programs etc.). We do not need the Editor (Liquid Edition or Studio) right now; we are indeed going to create the effect. When we have done so, we can start the Editor from within Studio or Liquid Edition. If you want to know what the difference is between the two ‘’start-ups’’ you can check part 1 of the tutorial.
The Easy FX Editor is always opened with the effect: Fly Off in the group <01 – Flying Windows> active. This is not the effect we want to have. That is why we are choosing to start a new effect by choosing in the menu File / New (or Ctrl-N). The FX-tree in the left bottom of the screen is now almost empty. Arrange the pre-screen in such a way, that it consists of 4 parts, (so you can see not only the final result, but also the side- and top view as well as the perspective).
Step 2 - The background
As has been said, it is best start with the background. Not only is this the easy part of the effect, but also you need this in order to position the other objects (the football and the round object) in the correct spots.
When you scroll in the tree-structure with effects downwards, you see a part with the name <Objects> This folder is sub-divided into 4 subfolders. Click on the sub-folder with the name: <Simple>.
In the Album you will find in the sub-folders the various objects with which you can ‘’mould’’ your effects.
At the right-hand side you see a list of objects. Click the object <Back2> and drag it to the left hand side of the screen (the FX-tree) and let it go under the object <Camera>. Watch what happens in the pre-screen. Before we go any further.
On top are the values that indicate its position in space. Each position has an X-, a Y- and a Z-coordinate. In the case of the object we have just added, the values are respectively 0, 0 and -4. The X-coordinate determines the position in the horizontal direction (from left to the right). The Y-coordinate is used for the vertical direction (up- or down-wards). The Z-coordinate determines the position in the direction from and to the screen. (further away or closer to the screen). Each value can be positive or negative: positive values mean a movement in one direction, whilst negative values mean a movement in the opposite direction.
Another group of parameters, also X-Y-Z, is for scaling. With these values you can ‘’lock’’ the size of the object in various directions. Look closely at the position of the object in space. Use the top- and side view and the perspective view. Pay attention to the position of the object depth-wise. In the preview-screen you see that the object is full-screen. Check the values for the position ( resp. 0, 0 and -4) and the scaling (resp. 2, 2 and 2). Change the Z-position from -4 to 0. Also you change the X-, Y- and Z- values for scaling all from 2 to 1. The final image has not changed, but the position in space has changed: The flat has been moved towards you and made smaller. It is important that you observe, that at first site different values for the various parameters result in a similar image. Also try to practise the movement of the object by clicking and holding the left- or right-mouse button and moving the mouse. To go on with creating the effect you return the Z-value of the position back to -4 and the values for scaling all back to 2.
This is the way to combine a multimedia-file (bmp/tga/png or avi) with an object.
We are now ready to combine an image to the object. Click on the item ‘’Host Video 2’’ in the FX-tree. In the property-screen above you click on the yellow folder, with which you open a standard windows-dialog-screen. In that screen you browse to the folder on your hard disk, where the image of the background has been saved and double-click this file. In my case this is the bitmap file: ‘’Voetball-bg.bmp’’ (football). You can immediately see the result of this in the preview-screen. In the FX-tree the name ‘’Host Video 2’’ is changed to ‘’Voetbal-bg’’ (football). Because the background will not move, it is not necessary to change any parameters for this object.
These files have been modified by Le Papy and you can download the file "Creating-HFX.zip" available in the « Associated Link(s) » section below
Now we can start with the second object, “the Football” (voetbal).
Step 3 - The football
Hollywood FX is accompanied by a number of ‘ready-to-use’ objects, which you can use for your own effects. These objects you can find in the Album in the folder OBJECTS > REALWORLD. Lucky for us, one of the objects is a Soccerball (football). Just like you did with the object BACK2, you slide the soccer ball from the Album to the FX-tree. When you release it there, the ball will be placed in the middle of the screen. That position we are going to change ( a number of times), but before that you have to know how to handle the so-called ‘’KEYS’’.
Step 4 - Key frames
When you open the Envelope-Editor you see a time-line and a slider with a time-position-line. You can replace this line by clicking somewhere in the Envelope-Editor or drag the slider above. If you, during the movement, watch the property-screen, you shall see that every moment, every parameter, has a specific value. As long as you do not define a movement for the object these values will be the same all the time. The reverse is also true: if you change a value in a specific moment in time, you can see the movement during playback.
To illustrate the above here is a simple example.
In the Envelope-Editor you make Key frames, with which you can change the position of objects in time.
Take care, that in the FX-tree the ‘’Soccer ball’’ object is selected. Place the scrubber to the far left. (so on time T = 0 seconds). The X-, Y- and Z-value for the positions are all 0. Push on the square button to make a new key, and move the scrubber to the far right (T = 4 seconds). Change the Y-value of the position to -3. Push the play-button and watch the ball move. Also observe that the track of the ball is represented by a grey line.
Ok, so now that we know how to create a simple movement of an object, we will attempt to try the real thing. For a good starting position remove the “Soccer ball” object and add it again, (it is once again in the centre of the screen). Put the scrubber once again on T = 0 sec. Make a new key at this position. For the X-, Y- and Z-component for the position you type respectively the values 0, 0 and 3.028. You will now see that the image is totally black, that is due to the fact that the ball is in front of the camera-position. To move the ball, assign X, Y, and Z values at specified times, as shown in the table. Please watch the minus-signs!!
|As you can see the values for T = 2:00 and T = 4:00 are equal. Instead of typing these values in both key frames, you can copy it from one key frame (2:00) to the other (4:00).
|When you play this effect, it does not look very special. There are three reasons for that: In the first place the ball goes in the direction of the goal with too slow of a speed. We could give it more speed, by reducing the size of the ball during the flight. That’s why we give the following values for scaling:
Because the ball should stay round looking, the values for X, Y and Z will remain the same. If we did not do that, the ball would get a flat, oval shape.
Second, it looks as if the ball gets slower before it hits the goal-post and gains speed when it falls in the direction of the grass. But it should be the other way around, the ball should glance off and bounce off.
|We can create this effect, by changing the nature of the key frame. Hollywood FX gives you three different options (see Pict 5) on how to move a key frame: a continuous movement, a jump, or a linear movement. Default HFX makes it a continuous curve, because that is the most natural movement. But in this case we have to have a linear curve. That is why you have to place the scrubber position on the key frame and click the correct button. You should do that for all key frames and do not forget the first and the last key frame.
|The third change is the rotation of the ball. As you know, the football will rotate due to the effect of the foot on the football and the friction from the air. That too we can create in Hollywood FX by changing the rotation values according to the below mentioned table: We limit ourselves to the X-value, the other values remain unchanged. As you can see the X-rotation is 2 separate numbers: one value for the number of total turns and one for the number of degrees of the last (partial) turn. When you do not know what that means, you should turn one of the turning-knobs a few times and watch the numbers in the field change.
All key frames should be linear, that is also valid for the rotation.
Step 5 - The moving images
We have finished with two of the three objects in the effect at this time, the background and the football. It is now time to add real moving video images. In the beginning we said, that those moving video-images start in the form of a ball, which will slowly become full screen.
In the Album under OBJECTS > SHAPES you can find the ‘’SPHERE” object. Drag this object to the FX-tree, like you did with the first two objects. There you see that this sphere is build with two parts: a front (front) and a rear (back). On both sides an image can be projected, (a color, a video-image, or a picture).
At the end we will use this effect in our Video Editing program (Studio or Liquid Edition). That means that we do not have to determine right now which video-file we are going to use. What we do have to decide now, is do we project the incoming video or the outgoing video on the sphere? What does that mean?
On the timeline of Studio or Liquid Edition you have placed two video clips. In between those two clips you place a HFX-effect, just like you should do with a ‘’normal’’ transition. The left clip on the timeline is called the outgoing clip and the right clip is the incoming clip. HFX called them respectively number 1 and 2 (in the Studio version of HFX A and B).
|Click on the top ‘’Host Video 1’’ under ‘’back’’ (see 1 in the above figure). In the property screen you choose ‘’Host Video 2’’ by pushing on the blue-green button with the figure 2 on it (2). Do the same with ‘’Host Video 1’’ which is under ‘’front’’.
Now that you've done that we can position the object. You have to think about the fact that all key frames we are going to create should be linear. The smartest thing is, to play the effect after each change. In that way you see right away whether the change in the item has given the correct result.
Place the scrubber on 2:00 – that is the exact time where the ball should lay still in the goal. Select in the FX-tree the ‘’SPHERE’’ object, click in one of the fields for the position-value in the property-screen and click on the button to create a new key frame. We must now get the sphere on the exact same spot as the football; also the measurements should be equal. You can do this by changing the position and measurement by means of your mouse, but you can also type in the following values in the property-screen:
||When you did that, you copy this key frame also to the time-
position T = 0. For the specified time T = 2:20 and
T = 4:00 you use the value 0 in the X-rotation-field, thereby giving the sphere a rotation. Also as a result the outgoing video-image will be visible.
The position in space must be fixed as well. For the specific time of T = 0:00 and T = 2:00 we have already done that. For the moments in time T = 2:20 and T = 4:00 we have to do that now.
||For these two time frames you also change the X-, Y- and Z-values for scaling in 1,250.
End of Part 2
(This tutorial has been donated by Mr. Jos Roijakkers JR-VIDEO)
Translation and adaptation dutch to english by grendet, fine tuning by Loosecannon.