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DFX Tutorial 6 - Tracking & Special Effects
Figure 1 Click for larger view
Figure 2 Click for larger view
Figure 3 Click for larger view
Figure 4 Click for larger view


Step 1
Open the Flow that was saved at the end of the Transformation Effects tutorial. To add the Hotspot tools needed to produce the effect, from the toolbar, drag a Hotspot tool onto the Flow between Transform 2 and the Saver. Right click on the tool, choose Rename, and call the tool Left. Drag another Hotspot tool onto the Flow after the first one, and rename it Right. (Fig 1)

Step 2
Open the Control Header for Left: Drag the Primary Strength slider all of the way to the left. Do the same for Right.

Step 3
It is not necessary to track the gun barrels all of the way through the shot. They will not be in firing position until at least frame 54, and will stop firing by frame 115. Advance the Time slider to frame 54.

Step 4
Select the Saver, right click and select View On: Large.

Step 5
Select Left. Click on the center for Left, and with the mouse cursor, move the center so it is on top of the gun barrel of the soldier on the left side. You may need to zoom in on the Small View to see this.

Step 6
Right click on the center crosshairs for Left, choose Left: Primary Center, and select Path.

Step 7
Using the keyboard scrub hotkeys ([ and ]), advance 5 frames. Click on where the muzzle is now to set the next point of the path.

Step 8
Continue advancing 5 or so frames, making a new point until frame 115. (Fig 2)

Step 9
Repeat the same procedure, but this time track the right-hand soldier's gun barrel with your Hotspot Right's center, starting at frame 54, and ending at 115.

Step 10
Now that both Hotspots will follow their respective gun barrels, we need to simulate the flashes. Return to frame 54. Open the Control Header for Left and right click on the slider marked Primary Strength. Choose Bezier Spline.

To keep the flashes rapid, only a frame or two long, scrub forward to frame 60. Move the Primary Strength slider to the right slightly. Advance two more frames, and move the slider over to 1.2. Advance another two frames, and return the slider to zero.

In this manner, go through the footage, creating random bursts of light from both of the guns, until frame 115. Repeat this for both of the Hotspot tools. (Fig 3)

Step 11
For fine editing of the muzzle flashes, click on the view selector at the top to open the Spline Editor. Select the spline attached to the Primary Strength of either Right or Left, and you may adjust the keypoints in terms of timing, or strength. (Fig 4)

Step 12
You have now completed this sequence. If you wish, click on the Saver, and output the sequence to either an AVI, a Targa or DPS media file. It is important to note that when rendering out for eventual burn to tape, click on the Legal tab in your Saver tool, choose your video format (NTSC/PAL), and tell it to adjust colors to 'legal'. This will keep all color ranges within the proper gamut for your format, and will avoid tearing, bleeding and ghosting when you finally go to tape.

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