If like me you love creating action movies, one of the most common effects you will need is the muzzle flash or gunfire effect. I usually use some muzzle flash stock footage from theAction Essentials 2 pack by Video Copilot and composite it into my scene. The HitFilm 2 plugins pack contains an effect to generate customisable muzzle flash effects directly in your video editing software. And what's more, the muzzle flash is fully volumetric, so you can position it in your scene to perfectly match the aim of your gun!
I have discussed the Gunfire effect before in myHitFilm 2 Muzzle Flash tutorial so hop over there if you want to know more about how to customise it in detail. In this review I will simply show you how to add it to your scene.
Just like with the fire, we first need to create a new layer to apply the Gunfire effect to. I called mine 'Muzzle Flash' and set it to solid black.
You can then apply the Gunfire effect from the HitFilm 2 plugins pack to the new layer. You can find the effect in the 'Particles & Simulation' tab.
You will immediately see a side-on view of a gunfire flare in your scene generated.
In order to make use of the fact that the Gunfire effect is a 3D effect, you need to add a camera into your scene. How you do this will depend on the software you are using, in After Effects you can simply right click into your layers window and select to create a new camera from the context menu.
Once you've added your camera try moving it around your scene. Hmmm... it does not seem to be working. Don't worry, I encountered exactly the same problem. I shot off a question to the guys at FXHome and got an answer back pretty quickly.
You need to link the Gunfire effect to a Null object first before it will correctly respond to the camera. To do this, simply create a new null object in your scene. I called mine 'Muzzle Null'.
Then return to the effect controls for the Gunfire effect and expand the Transform property. In the Transform From property, select the Muzzle Null.
You can now move the camera - or the Null object - around and the 3D muzzle flash will appear correctly in your scene. This gives you great flexibility in positioning the effect exactly where you need it. Here it is positioned at the tip of the gun I'm shooting.
Finally, let's have a look at a few other effects that you can find in the HitFilm 2 plugins pack!