Blackhawk helicopter test footage

Me and the movie team made this test shot. I know its missing motion blur. I know you can tell its fake. Any recommendations to add more realism into this?

motion blur.
seriously, the vector motion blur is very fast. :yes:

They look really good already, I guess cause there so small in the footage that it makes it hard to see that they are CGI. And as mentioned above perhaps try to render with motion blur (shouldnt take too long for such a short clip with small objects) or if thats too much try vector blur.

The only other thing would be to make their animation a bit less static, the just look like their flying forwards in a completely straight line. Make each of the helicopters fly slightly differently. The rear rotor looks a little too slow as well.

But looks great so far :yes:

Good reference -

Hey that came out pretty nice. - If you want to take it a step farther for realism, some shadows would be needed.

You could model the basics of the ground/houses below, and have them render only shadows. Applying some nodes would help as well.

Hey, nice!

motion blur is really essential for this shot!

The helicopters and the sky have a little too much contrast to convince that the helicopters are in the scene…

you could try mixing the sky texture over the helicopters a tiny bit just to integrate them into the shot (or in this case just taking the opacity of the helicopters down in the compositor would have the same effect… weird I know as the helicopters are solid right?

The correct term is called “atmospheric perspective” which is essentially a subtle fog of sky colour as things recede into the distance…

You could also try compositing in some smoke over the shot as the backgroundplate is a little static…

I was watching Terminator salvation the other day and was amazed how much cg smoke was over practically every shot…

I don’t think it needs shadows, the light is too diffuse for the helicopters to cast shadows. I think that the undersides of the helicopters are too dark, there would be more ambient light. Perhaps add a dim hemi light facing upwards? What Michael W said would achieve a similar effect.

I’ve spent a lot of time compositing blackhawks into footage. Here’s a few tips.

In the composite they start out slow and then speed up to a constant rate. The copters are all ready moving I assume when the footage starts so you most likely don’t want that ‘start off’ in the first second. Change the IPO speed or adjust the beginning frame of the path. Also they move too straight and exact. Try to add in a little variety, maybe one of them turns as it comes closer to the camera. In my estimation they go to fast, it’s almost like the eye doesn’t have time to grasp it. Try to use moving footage as well, it adds to the believibility.
I wouldn’t suggest putting shadows, it’s a cloudy day, and they’re fairly high above the houses. Any shadows cast from the sky would be very faint. Hope this helps, cant wait to see it!


Maybe you could dodge the whole motion blur thing with using progressively transparent texture. See if this helps you:

Also you need to tilt your choppers a bit. When a chopper flies, it tilts in the direction it is going. The more it tilts, the faster it goes.

  • Floyd

Thanks for the positive remarks and suggestions! Yeah, I knew I was missing shadows and motion blur. We just needed a demo of our capabilities. It turned out better than we thought. Yeah, there was less contrast before, but my friend had to color correct it a bit, so it ended up like that. To blend the helicopter into the atmosphere I use ambient light, they make a big difference, especially if they are in the distance. I put a lot of consideration of the environment into this. Later, I’m hoping to get a good motion tracked scene with a lot of moving objects or a forest. That is a big challenge to us, due to my inexperience to motion tracking scenes with many moving objects like moving tree branches, grass, and people. If its a more solid scene, then its easier. Plus, I am trying to find better ways to animate the rotors faster, I really hate the fact that I can only key frame it over and over. It consumes a lot of time. Does anybody have any more compositing tips? I am hoping for a better composite. Possibly something that resemble helicopter crashes in movies not using miniatures. Thanks

Have you created an action such as “blade rotation” and then just duplicate it in the NLA editor? Also, if my memory serves me right when a chopper moves forward, the whole thing tilts slightly forward.

Would you happen to have a link to a tutorial that would teach me how to duplicate actions and put them to better use? This would be helpful in helping me animate faster for things such as a chracter being idle, blinking, and etc. Yes, I am aware of that. I just forgot to tilt this, because this isnt the final project. This was actually just a preview of our composition work so far. We just needed tips to improve it.

Did you make this model or download it?
One of these links would probably help.

Here’s a composite I did about a year ago with a blackhawk of my own. I know the focus isn’t right, but check out the blur on the blades.


WOW, that is amazing. That is a very nice composite. Great work! I modeled the blackhawk. I am not impressed by the geometry of mine. I’ve been looking for some tips on how to great more clean geometry when I model things. I have trouble keeping the geometry clean, and it looks unorganized in my view. I usually have trouble figuring a way to shape things such as the black hawk window the lower front. I really admire your work though, that is amazing. Your modeling skills are better than mine for sure.

Nice work, I agree motion blur would help make it a lot more convincing though.

nice! underneeth the helecopters is too dark, could maybe try matchmoving to make the scene not look like a static photo (but that could get complicated). you have probably already been told all of this.

Umm, how about an extrapolation for the rotor blades?

Just set two rotation keys, then select the IPO curve and set the Curve -> “Extend mode” to “Extrapolation”.

Then it will keep rotating and you can adjust the speed easily by adjusting one of the keys you put in. If you just need it to go at a constant speed that’s a quick easy way to do it.

Wow, thanks for all the great tips guy they really have been a help to me. We are trying to work to perfect this blackhawk into our scenes. I got a lot of problems solved now, except for motion tracking. Motion tracking is the biggest obstacle to us so far. We refuse to buy any commercial software, we are trying to make a very low budget film. I can only seem to get scenes to work for me in solid environments like houses. In areas like forests, its hard with wind moving all the grass and there are people. I posted a thread about this once, but nobody could help me. I also see scenes professionals have motion tracked with a bunch of horses and moving things that work out perfectly with 3d compositing. My tracks never work. Is there anybody out there with motion tracking experience in environments with many moving objects?

I think the blackhawk is a tough model. I actually did it twice, the second time about a year after the first, and with much more before thought. I have a hard time making the windows smooth as well. I would suggest when you model, always seperate pieces of the mesh that are separate in real life. And also try to make your vertice loops flow with the mesh shape. You want to have as few as possible but still retaining accuracy. Could we see a close render of the blackhawk you made?

This one of the best fighter helicopter which USA has.I have its pics these are great pics.