January 12, 2019

How to Create Realistic Muzzle Flashes (With and Without Plugins)

Whether you want to use a handy plugin or start from scratch, this tutorial will help you create some sick muzzle flashes.

If your project requires some firepower, whether it's a one-on-one shootout or a chaotic firefight, you're going to need to make it look as believable as possible, and one way to do that is by adding some realistic muzzle flashes. 

In this tutorial, the team over at Film Riot shares a couple of approaches you can take to create them in Adobe After Effects, either with a highly customizable 3D muzzle flash plugin or completely from scratch without the need of third party assets. Check it out below:

Creating your own muzzle flash isn't incredibly complicated for most semi-experienced After Effects users, but it does take quite a bit of time if you're not familiar with the process, especially considering the fact that you're not just making muzzle flashes but smoke and light burst effects as well.

If going DIY with your muzzle flash assets isn't your first choice, you can always use plugins. Though you'll have to shell out a bit of cash, it'll save you a ton of time (and sanity) at the end of the day. 

Bang, the modular and fully procedural 3D muzzle flash plugin used in the tutorial, costs $75 for a single user license. You can stretch, shrink, and bend assets however you want, change the color, brightness, and burst frequency, and even add muzzle flashes with its relighter module. Here's a quick look at it:

If you're interested in Bang, here's a 2-part walkthrough that will show you how to use it:

If you want to learn how to create not only realistic muzzle flashes but gun effects in general, check this out.

Have you ever used Bang? What grade would you give it? Do you use any other plugins to create muzzle flashes? Let us know down in the comments.     

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