Five Incredible Effects Tutorials Using Stock Footage

Five Incredible Effects Tutorials Using Stock Footage

VFX stock footage can enhance the look of your project. Check out these tutorials using visual effect stock footage to get that perfect look!

Time is money. This simple saying is both an undeniable truth in the world of visual effects and also a three-word sales pitch for one of the most efficient expenditures in any post-production budget: stock footage

VFX stock footage can save countless hours in post-production, and the best part is the VFX artist has ultimate control over how it looks. This final control is what makes compositing stock footage a task that is both rewarding and conducive to a high-quality look. 

The following tutorials rely on this concept to achieve some amazing effects that are achievable on any budget. 

“Burning House Tutorial”

This classic from our first party tutorials covers an incredible range of stock footage concepts which can be applied across different types of shots and compositing software. The burning room effect that you can achieve after watching shows how the right stock assets can be made to interact with your environment, even with a 3D camera move. 

Fire is one of the most common types of stock footage used for many reasons. Not only are the results amazing, but for the price of assets, it’s an easy sell vs. hiring a pyrotechnician (and increasing the risk levels of your set) or generating assets entirely in CG.

“Sci-Fi Weapon FX Tutorial”

This sci-fi weapon tutorial from legendary After Effects wizard Andrew Kramer is a great study on using built-in After Effects tools in conjunction with base stock assets to achieve very precise and specific looks. These looks can then be tweaked and adjusted to anyone’s liking, and of course, can be saved and reused as entirely new stock assets of their own! 

In the tutorial, Kramer starts with some simple shockwave assets, but you can use many different elements as a base structure for sci-fi blasts and shots. One of our most popular free packs is spell hits, and it offers a great starting point for sci-fi effects, from lasers to space-time portals.

“Blade Runner 2049 Desert Effect” 

The defining feature of this tutorial from Film Riot is that the stock footage doesn’t come in until the very end. As such, it stands as an example of how stock footage is such a strong enhancer of an already achieved look. 

Once the primary colors, models, and roto work are finished, the tutorial suggests a final addition of some simple smoke elements. This is the icing on the cake and also serves to blend everything together similar to the regraining process.

“Speed Compositing in Foundry Nuke - Far Cry New Dawn Teaser” 

This isn’t exactly a tutorial, but has similar merits as a learning tool with a strong focus on stock footage.

Inside of Foundry’s Nuke, Hugo Guerra of Hugo's Desk, shows how a grand landscape can be built from the ground up using a combination of matte painted elements, stock footage, and more. 

You can see as the composite moves through various stages how stock footage can be used to fill in the gaps and add an extra level of detail to the shot, from smoke to foreground elements.

“Compositing Muzzle Flashes in After Effects”

In the modern era of YouTube and the easily accessible Adobe After Effects, 
muzzle flashes are many aspiring artists’ first introduction to creating their own visual effects. In my case, however, as a young teenager bringing airsoft guns to life, there was a flat lifelessness to each look. 

In this tutorial, a true muzzle flare is created from the ground up that is easily achieved through stock assets. It starts with a simple flare and moves to smoke elements, in-program glow, and much more.

Going even deeper than this tutorial, there’s a rabbit hole of detail from bullet shells to secondary sparks and flares, which can be easily and quickly applied using stock assets.

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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