Digital Fusion Tutorials

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The following tutorial offers a quick and dirty alternative way to create a ray-of-light effect if you're in a bind and don't have 5D's plugin designed for this purpose.

Quicktime: View the movie. (1.4 Mb)


  Step 1
Start a new flow that's 90 frames long. Check the high quality box next to the start render button.
  Step 2
Add two text+ tools to the flow. Connect the following tools to the first text tool, in the following order: Coordinate Space > Blur / Sharpen > Highlight > Coordinate Space > Directional Blur > Merge
  Step 3
Connect a glow tool to the second text tool, then connect the output of the glow tool to the foreground of the merge tool.
  Step 4
Your flow is now complete, and we can begin tweaking parameters.
Step 5
Go to the first text tool. Leave the default image size at 640 by 480. Go to the text tab type something in. I chose the word 'fusion'.
Step 5 Click for larger view  
  Step 6
Go to the 'Layout' tab. Go to frame zero and set a key on the 'Center' parameter by right-clicking on the parameter and choosing set key. Set the x value to 0.25. Go to frame 90, and set the x value to 0.75. This just moves the text across the background.
  Step 7
Go to the font tab. For this effect, choose a thick font. I used a strong Futura with a 0.16 size.
  Step 8
Go to the 'Shading' tab. Under the Shape pull-down of element 1, press the options button. Choose 'Text outline'. Change the outline's thickness to 0.04.
Step 9
That does it for this text tool. Go to the first Coordinate Space tool. The shape should be set to 'Rectangular to Polar'.
Step 9 Click for larger view  
Step 10
Your resulting image may be somewhat aliased. Go to the blur / sharpen tool and set the blur size to 1.5
Step 10 Click for larger view  
Step 11
Go to the Highlight tool. Set the 'low' value to 0.9, and the 'high' value to 1.0. Put the curve value to 1.0. Set the length value to 0.95. Change the number of points to 2. Change the angle to 90. Uncheck the 'Merge Over' checkbox. This is important. Under the Color Scale tab, change the Red and Green Scale values to 0.99. This will give you a purple-blue colour. Mess around with these values until you have a colour, length and falloff you like.
Step 11 Click for larger view  
Step 12
For the second 'Coordinate Space' tool pull the image back into place with a 'Polar to Rectangular' shape.
Step 12 Click for larger view  
Step 13
Your image may once again be a bit aliased. Fix this by using a 'Zoom' type directional blur with a length of 0.1. Enhance the rays by adding some glow value of 0.05 to the directional blur.
Step 13 Click for larger view  

Step 14
Go to the merge tool. make your merge fully additive.

Step 14 Click for larger view  
Step 15
Go to the second text tool. Add the same text in the same font and size. Make sure the 'Shape' under the shading tab is set to 'Text Fill' instead of 'Text Outline'. This text should stay stationary in the middle of the screen.
Step 15 Click for larger view  

Step 16
Go to the glow tool. Set the following keys:


This makes the text flare when the rays are aiming directly towards the camera.

Step 16 Click for larger view  
  Step 17
Your rays may flicker towards their left and right extremes. Fix this by animating the opacity of the first text tool. Under the shading tab of the tool, press the 'Colour' button, and key the opacity slider with the following values.

  Step 18
Right-click on the merge tool and create a preview.

You're done. This technique is quite tweakable, so be sure to experiment to get the look you want.

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