June 8, 2017

Watch: How to Pull Off the 'Wolverine Healing' Effect in After Effects

Whether you're making a movie about a killing machine made of liquid metal or an ill-tempered mutant mercenary, this VFX tutorial will show you how to take your self-healing characters to hell and back.

The headshot "self-healing" scene in T2: Judgement Day is probably one of my favorites from that film. The T-1000 gets a gun blast right to the face only to slowly reassemble the displaced liquid metal back into actor Richard Patrick's perfectly intense, unemotional face. It's the magic of a self-healing being, a superpower that X-Man Wolverine also possesses and one that is actually not super difficult to pull off in post.

In this tutorial from Film Riot, host Ryan Connolly walks you through creating unique assets and then using them to create this regeneration effect in Adobe After Effects. But first, let's take a look at how Film Riot does the necessary makeup to create their own head wound asset. Check it out below.

Now, you might be wondering why you should take the extra step of slapping makeup on your actor to create an asset when you can just grab one online. Well, creating your own asset is actually a great idea, because it will have the same angle and lighting as everything else in the shot, which means you won't have to dink around with it too much in post later on.

Now, on to the visual effects tutorial.

Keep in mind that you will need to do a little planning before you just jump into After Effects and start. You'll need to shoot a clean plate so you have one to work with in post. You'll also need to shoot impacts and falls in such a way that you can mask/crop it out later. 

Creating this effect takes kind of a lot of work and quite a bit of prep, but it was one of Film Riot's most requested effects to make a tutorial about, so even if it takes you a while to bust it out, the result will (hopefully) be well worth it.      

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