Tag Archives: hitfilm

Creating the cover for A Day of Faces

Since April this year I’ve been writing a science fiction serial called A Day of Faces, which I’ve been publishing over on Wattpad. You can read it for free.

Much like a physical cover in a bookshop, the image representing your work on Wattpad is a big part of attracting the attention of readers. I wanted something that was intriguing but mostly abstract, and which tied in with the themes of the story without being too on the nose.

Hence this:


I’m not a designer, so it’s not the fanciest cover in the world, but I thought it might be interesting to show how I put it together. I actually used HitFilm 3 Pro for this particular image, which is designed primary for video projects but has a bunch of useful features for this kinda thing.

So the first step was to grab a 3D scan of a human head. There’s a bunch of free models available online which you can find with a quick Google.

It started off looking a bit like this:

Basic head

Adding a couple of lights reveals some additional details. I also deliberately went for a metallic blue specular highlight:
Basic lighting

Here’s the same model with the final lighting setup, which used a softer, more diffuse style. The main light was positioned above the head, resulting in shadows falling on the eyes and from the nose, with a soft fill light coming up from below:

Softer lighting

This head was duplicated multiple times. Lighting was disabled for the duplicates, such that the central head is the only one retaining full detail. The outer heads look more artificial and mannequin-like. The idea was the represent an anomaly among the population:

Multiple heads

The primary head was adjusted to be reflective, with a chrome-like appearance:


The final step was to add some additional grading elements, first in the form of some volumetric light rays blooming out from the centre:


This was followed up with some anamorphic flaring, creating the vertical smears and a more atmospheric look:


And that’s how it was done. All entirely in HitFilm 3 Pro.

I’m taking a short break from ADoF but I’ll be back with the second story arc in August.

Experiences of SXSW

I went to SXSW! This is exciting because it’s an event which has grown increasingly relevant and influential over the last decade, has spread into every corner of every news website I read, and this year…I was there.

FXHOME kindly flew me there and back, accompanied by my colleagues Kirstie, Josh and Andrea. In summary: Austin is wonderful. SXSW is weird and confused but mostly good. Continue reading

Molyneux, Kickstarter & why fixed funding is good

Gosh, John Walker’s interview with Peter Molyneux makes for hard reading. It’s resulted in the usual outraged reaction from those gamers who get terrified of reading anything which isn’t a simple graphics/gameplay/replayability review with a percentage score. And, yes, Walker’s interview pulls no punches and its opening gambit is especially on the nose – but it’s also an astonishing, fascinating interview which gets to the heart of an issue that everybody else has danced around for about 10 years. Continue reading


Kramer-style star

An occasional hobby is taking Andrew Kramer’s fantastic tutorials for After Effects and transposing them into HitFilm, to see how close I can get ’em. Most of the time it works out pretty damn well.

So, his latest tutorial is a beautiful star close-up, and this is my own version, with texture contributions from the inimitable Axel Wilkinson.

I met Andrew at NAB a couple of years back and he was a thoroughly pleasant chap. I believe his words were “you’re the guys that make HitFilm! That’s pretty epic.”

How to run a successful Kickstarter


Back in May I put together the HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter campaign for FXhome. We were asking for £25,000 and ended up with £58,126. Which was nice.

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how we approached the campaign. Hopefully this post will be useful to any of you looking to run your own Kickstarter. Continue reading

HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter

This is one of the more interesting projects I’ve worked on at FXhome. Our visual effects and video editing software HitFilm has been out on PC for a couple of years now and we’ve been asked continually about the possibility of a Mac version.

For various reasons that wasn’t a viable thing for a long while. Thankfully, that’s now changed and we’re doing HitFilm for Mac. But that’s easier said than done (there isn’t a “build for Mac” button, alas), so we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to give the project a literal kickstart.

Do check it out and back it if you can, or spread it amongst your friends and colleagues. Click here to check it out.

Musings from the render farm


When I say ‘render farm’, I do of course mean my one and only computer. So while it valiantly chugs through the rendering of VFX shots for Arms Race I’m left unable to use it for much else.

So, here I am on my S3 finding out just how painful it is to type a blog post on my mobile phone. As it turns out, the combination of the S3’s absurdly massive screen and the stunning SwiftKey keyboard makes it rather pleasant and easy. This is the first time typing on a portable device hasn’t irritated me. It’s almost productive!

It’s been a busy time of late. A month back I embarked on an ambitious promo shoot for FXhome that required filming in centralish London and North Norfolk on the same day, a 2-day shoot that went off remarkably smoothly. Not least thanks to our pro crew, brought in by my colleague Tom ‘I used to work in London’ McLoughlin.

Feels like Tom only just started working at FXhome but it’s been over a year. It’s made a huge difference to the amount and quality of work we can do, having him there.

Talking of which, we both headed to Amsterdam about 5 minutes after the shoot to attend the IBC Show. It was a long, tiring week of standing up all day in an exhibition centre. On the other hand, we had the pleasure of revealing and showing off HitFilm 2 and then venturing into Amsterdam in the evenings.

I really, really love Amsterdam. Must go back at some point.

Meanwhile, the arrival of Jones Jr draws ever nearer. Very exciting times indeed. Can’t wait to meet the little fella.

November, then, is shaping up to be utterly batshit mental:

1st – HitFilm 2 drops.
10th – Arms Race Escalation premieres.
24th – due date.