Orbing Away

Tuesday, 6, December, 2005 at 4:32:49 PM

There seem to be a lot of questions about how to recreate effects from the show Charmed on the pI forum. Here's a quick overview of how to create an orbing effect, or also a Star Trek style beaming.

Here's a video that illustrates the elements I used to recreate the effect:
Click me, I'm instructional
It's a 7 meg Quicktime

Take one shot of your background without the actor and another shot of your background with the actor doing his stuff.

In your paint or compositing program, import a frame where the actor is standing in the pose he'll be in when orbing away, and erase everything around him. Save that with an alpha channel so that you have a frame of the actor as white on a black bg.

In a video editing program or compositor, fade between the two shots, so that your actor vanishes over a couple of frames. Render that out, and import it into pI as a background.

In pI, create an area emitter of the orbing effect, make it the size of your stage, and check Mask Emitter with Images in its Properties. Use the shot you created in your paint program as the mask. Now you'll have to animate your Numbers graph so that the particles only begin to appear when the actor is ready to leave the scene. The emitter itself has three particle types:

1- Big blue intense particles with very low visibility to create a glow 2- Star shaped particles for the sparkles 3- Tiny particles to create a dust effect.

Now in Charmed, you can see the actor sort of blur away as the particles envelope him. I sorta did this by creating a simple area emitter that birthed particles from the same mask, but used Get Color from Layer to pick up the colour of the actor.

But it doesn't work that well, and looking at the Charmed clips, they probably use a simple Motion Blur that only moves upward rather than just fading out between the live action shot and the plate shot, causing the actor to blur out of existence, which is partially covered up by the particles.