Warp drive effect?

Hi guys,

Not sure if this is the right section but I’m guessing you might use particles for this.

How would be the best way to make a warp effect like that of star trek or stargate?


Which warp effect, the one seen through the screen on the bridge, or the one while viewing the enterprise sooming off, and which startrek? The effect was different in every movie.

Perhaps there is a youtube video that shows the effect you want.

Yeah good point,

Something with lots of animated lines pew pew!

Also, look how the enterprise warps in this video. That’s the kind of thing im after…

I’d probably use a shape key. Stretch the ship (bow to stern), and animate from 1 to 0 to go from a stretched ship to a normally shaped ship. Combine that with animating it from off in the distance to closer to the camera. The light flashing effect can be done with a particle effect.

Yeah that sounds good for the ship, but what about the stars, its them I’m really trying to produce, can’t find any tutorials on it either except for AE and that was just a texture.

Hah! sorry to revive this but I have a video showing what I would like to achieve in blender.

The part at 1:34

He used 3d max, I have no clue about that program, but surely its doable in blender?

Here is an attempt. I am using a circle mesh and emitting from the vertices. I am using the emitter object z-factor to cause the particles to rise up towards the camera. A small Normal value for velocity makes them grow away from the circle. I am using Line mode for the particles. Apply your own material and compositing to achieve glow effects. Play with the line length and randomness values to dial in the look as you see fit.

You could, of course, place the particle system in Object display mode and supply a pre-modeled/textured rainbow thin cylinder if that is the look you are going for. Make several different length cylinders and place them in a group. Use Group display and pick randomly.


27_warp_lines_attempt.blend (622 KB)

And here is a more complete scene demonstrating the rainbow bar concept mentioned above. This is rendered using Cycles UV map along curve. This allows us to insert a Color Ramp node and control the color along the curve that represents one of the single star strands. The background stars are generated by a heavily clamped noise texture, also using a Color Ramp to specify star density.


27_warp_lines_attempt.blend (369 KB)

And with post processing glow to soften the final look.


27_warp_lines_attempt.blend (375 KB)

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And in this version I have added two more circular particle systems with slightly different settings. I have also scaled each new circle down in size a bit from the others.

When you playback the animation you get an initial burst as shown above. If you let the animation continue to play the random life setting comes into play and the entire system smooths out very similar to classic TNG warp travel.


27_warp_lines_attempt.blend (1.44 MB)

And here is one more particle system added to the mix. I also added in a short bar which is deployed by two of the four particle system. I set each emitter to rotate at a different speed as well. This helps a bit with adding some more randomness to the star bars.

Add your own ship, or this one from Blendswap, for instant fun!


Wow. That’s amazing. Thank you so much. Lot’s to play around with.

I notice that in one of the movie examples their is actual warp-age occuring along the particle path. You could get something similar by adding a lattice to your particle system.

Hi Atom, I love this effect. If possible, would I be able to use it as part of a no-budget micro short comedy horror film I am doing - where I think this is a perfect match for a tribute to part of the portal scene in EVIL DEAD 2? and if so, if that’s ok, what IMDB name / profile should I credit you with?

Go for it dude!

If you’re using Unreal, there is a nice free warp effect that could be combine for even more awesomeness.

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Many thanks Atom - I really appreciate this! I love that effect, but I’m going for something a bit more old school, more of a comedic direct reference to EVIL DEAD 2, but I will definitely consider this for something else in the future.

Do you want me to just credit you as your username: Atom in the film, or would you prefer another name?