If you used to rush home after school to spend the afternoon watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, then you're probably well aware of (and super excited about) Lionsgate's feature film reboot of the popular 1990s TV show. And if you happen to be a visual effects artist as well, you probably started drooling as you caught a glimpse of Zordon's revamped look in the Power Rangers' trailer. Well, RocketStock has put together a short tutorial that shows you how to turn anyone into the wizard/mentor in After Effects using a card dance effect.
But before we get to the tutorial, check out the Power Rangers trailer first to see what Zordon looks like. (You can see it at around 0:47.)
Now, on to the tutorial. According to RocketStock, you'll need to start with a well-lit video plate in order to make the effect work cleanly and effectively. They used a simple lighting setup: a single soft light with a white bounce card to fill in any unwanted shadows, namely ones under the eyes.
From there, RocketStock shows you several techniques and concepts you'll need to re-create Zordon's look, including how to approach the card dance effect, using masks, 3D camera work, and working with Point Lights.
They've also made their project file available as a free download for anyone who wants to follow along with the tutorial, which is compatible with After Effects versions as far back as CS6. You can download it for free here.
Even if you're not planning on heading up the VFX for the inevitable Power Rangers sequel, this effect can be used for a number of applications, whether you're working on a sci-fi film or avant garde short. The sky's the limit with this effect, so let your imagination run wild.