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Video: Helicopter Liftoff


I spotted Erel Herzog's latest video and asked him some questions about it.

Hey Erol! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


My name is Erel Herzog and I am a 20 year old VFX and CG artist from Tel Aviv, Israel. I've been using Blender as my main 3D app since the beginning.

How did you get inspired to create this work?

I've had this awesome idea for a television series since I was 13. Now that I am older I am actively working on the series with a script, concepts, and VFX tests.

Sadly, the budgets for film and TV projects in Israel are tiny, which means that an action sci-fi series is unlikely to get made without the right circumstances. That's why I've made many VFX tests such as this one, to show the TV networks that myself and a group of volunteers using mainly open source software can do the majority of the VFX shots for a fraction of the usual cost.

I am currently working on a teaser and a trailer, with which I will approach several TV networks and hopefully gain funding.

What was your process to create this image?

I took the amazing helicopter model by PapaDragon on Blend Swap and created custom textures and materials. The scene is lit only by an HDR texture with some node tricks to enhance the sunlight. I rendered the scene with motion blur and all in one pass.

I then composited it in After Effects with some smoke simulations I rendered for a previous project in the background, and a particle system composed of 2D planes for the foreground smoke. I used textures from the Blender Cloud for this. Then it's just a matter of grading it and adding some more elements and it's done!

I've also filmed myself in costume doing some hand movements and I will add it to the shot soon:

How long did it take you to complete it, from start to render?

Since I had the helicopter ready from the teaser the entire shot took around two days to complete, in my free time only. Rendertimes were very short, about 3-4 minutes per frame on a GTX Titan Black.

Any tips for our readers?

Well, my main tip to you is to keep making things. Even if you're not happy with the result, post them online, in Facebook groups and so on. I can guarantee you'll learn something new every time, be it a Blender setting or feature or a deeper knowledge off things like lighting and materials. Just today i discovered something new - so keep on blending!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


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