Briar Patch-style nebula from Star Trek Insurrection

An After Effects tutorial showing how to use free and included effects to recreate the look inside a sc-fi nebula.

This tutorial takes a different approach to creating gas clouds in space and gives you more control over the final look. Using the Turbulent Noise (or Fractal Noise if you prefer), 4-color gradient and Turbulent Displace effects, I show how to create the look of a nebula from the inside. By arranging the solids in 3D space, and using shading to help with a sense of depth, you’ll see what’s possible without needing particles.

I go on to demonstrate how you can use the circle effect with blending modes to create lightning or plasma bursts within the clouds. Finally, after using VC Element to add a starship, I use the Set Matte effect to generate a cutout of the Enterprise, which I then use with CC Radial Blur to create volumetric shadows.

Links mentioned

(It’s Blender, but you can convert it to an OBJ file easily. I cover how to convert Blender for use in Element in this tutorial:

Published by ShiveringCactus

Tutorials and videos, mainly After Effects, but with some 3D and puppetry stuff too.

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