Recently, we covered the topic of creating a muzzle flash emitting from a gun as it is being fired using After Effects. However, we used a replica weapon which doesn’t have a sliding chamber, nor emits a casing as a commonly used pistol would. In our quest as editors and visual effects artists, we need to continually be expanding our database of knowledge as we strive to create increasingly realistic effects. In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to create a sliding chamber effect, editing the bullet casing flying out of the pistol, and some additional touches.
PREPARING FOR GUN USE
It’s important to mention that using a realistic gun while filming anything should be handled with care. Safety first! That means you should not be using a gun, even though it’s fake, in a public space without proper permission. Always film with care and in a closed and controlled area.
- Sliding Chamber Effect
- Flying Bullet Casing
- Final Touches
SLIDING CHAMBER EFFECT
If you are in search for an airsoft gun, my recommendation is to do a quick Google search. You will find several results that will fit your needs. For better realism, I recommend an airsoft gun with a ‘blowback’ feature. Blowback is when the gun’s slider moves back when pulling the trigger – simulating when the slider on a gun moves to release a gun’s shell casing. If you don’t have the cash to drop on one of these, don’t fret. We can still create the effect in post. To get started, import your footage into a new comp in After Effects.
From there, you are going to duplicate the footage layer by highlighting the layer and hitting CMD+D.
Rename the duplicate footage as SLIDER, and reduce the length of the footage down to a single frame.
Now, zoom in on the gun, and using the PEN TOOL, create a mask around just the chamber of the gun.
Take the chamber mask and move it backwards; creating the sliding back motion.
With the SLIDER footage still selected, go to EFFECT > BLUR > DIRECTIONAL BLUR and adjust the settings in order to create a convincing animated blur for the slider. You also may want to go into the slider’s mask settings and increase the MASK FEATHER to about 10 or 20 to soften the edges.
FLYING BULLET CASING
As the slider on the gun chamber moves backward, the bullet’s casing is ejected upward and out of the gun. The best place to get a gun casing model, in my opinion, is from Video Copilot’s Action Essentials 2 package, which includes a series of bullet and casing models. They are pre-animated in a spinning motion, allowing you to simply drag and drop onto your source footage and animate accordingly.
You could still make a convincing case ejection effect using a keyed image from GOOGLE and blurring the image as it ejects from the chamber, or by searching other 3D model sites like TURBO SQUID. When you have your gun casing model of choice, add it on top of your source footage, position it over the chamber, and adjust the scale accordingly.
Using the POSITION settings, KEYFRAME the POSITION and then move forward two to three frames to move the casing upwards out of the shot.
As stated before in a prior tutorial, we explored how to create a convincing muzzle flash while firing a gun, giving you this effect.
Included with the VIDEO COPILOT ACTION ESSENTIALS 2 package is a series of smoke bursts that make for a good add onto the muzzle. Simply drop the footage into your comp, position and scale accordingly, and change the bleeding mode to SCREEN.