•• Update: this reward is available now as part of the Dark Altar VJ pack ••

This month’s VJ clip reward on Patreon is CyberDevil, it’s vicious:

Available On Patreon

CyberDevil consists of 8 VJ clips, available in two variations: with a background or with alpha transparency. It begins with the Cyberdevil in the dark, only revealed by occasional lights, followed by several beat-clips featuring deadly laser beams and evil headbanging. These clips are available to superfans on Patreon until the end of November.

The bonus Resolume Arena project (v7.15) organizes the clips from a quiet beginning to a hectic, beat-drop end. Some clips are trimmed to be used as accents that can be rapidly triggered to visualize the rapid beat.

Creation Process

CyberDevil was composed using different armor parts from the Cyber Ninja character. Two horns were also modeled in C4D with the loft object. Additionally, a background was created using assets from the Sci-fi Panels asset pack. All clips were animated, and rendered in Unreal Engine.

After purchasing the Cyber Ninja character on CGTrader, I opened the project in Unreal Engine but couldn’t find a way to separate the armor parts. It became clear that I needed to use a digital content creation (DCC) software to separate the parts.

Fortunately, the character included an FBX version that I could open in C4D. I began the process of separating each armor part by selecting a part in polygon mode, using the “select connected” command, inverting the selection to keep the desired armor piece, and then deleting the rest. I wanted to give it a devilish touch, so I created two horns on top of the head using the Loft Object.

Once I had the horns and all the armor pieces separated, I exported a new FBX file and reimported it into Unreal Engine. I then experimented with the different pieces, focusing on the placement of the head and horns as well as arranging the armor parts to create a supporting machine-like structure around it.

It soon became apparent that I had an issue with the anchor point for each piece, which was initially positioned at the feet of the original character. Despite attempts to adjust the anchor points locally for each piece, they kept reverting to their original positions. After researching FBX and anchor points online, I realized that this was a futile effort. At this point, I considered using the Datasmith plugin for Unreal Engine but recalled having issues with it on the Arabian Nights pack. Instead, I opted to create a blueprint and center the parts at the blueprint’s 0,0,0 coordinates.

To illuminate the scene, I incorporated two point lights from both sides and a rectangular light from above and behind to provide a backlight that would help define the device’s edges.

Subsequently, I continued to experiment with the parts, adding some, eliminating others, rotating and repositioning them until I was satisfied with the result.

With the device in place, it still appeared somewhat disconnected without a background. I revisited CGTrader to find a suitable background and discovered the Sci-fi Panels asset pack. After purchasing it, I imported the parts into my scene and further adjusted them until I was content with the background. I found that adding a background was crucial because the Volumetric Fog feature added realism and depth to the scene, enhancing its overall appeal.

My next step was to create a “laser” beam to infuse energy into the scene. I used a primitive cylinder shape, similar to what I did for the RoboPup reward, and scaled it to fit within one of the yellow areas in the armor, creating the appearance that it was firing from there. I applied an emissive material to make the cylinder glow.

I created a new sequence, added the camera and cylinder, and animated the cylinder’s scale (from very small to a long beam) and Z-transform to simulate the firing effect. I repeated this process for three more beams, adding them to the sequence and applying the same method. After rendering the first test clip, I was highly satisfied with the results.

However, the CyberDevil device appeared somewhat static in relation to the laser beams, which didn’t convey the sense of power I wanted. To address this, I added some of the device’s parts to the sequence and gave them slight movements to coincide with the firing of the laser. This adjustment significantly improved the overall effect.

At this point, I had the foundation and proof of concept, and it was a reassuring moment when I realized that the concept I envisioned was indeed worth pursuing. The creative pressure was somewhat alleviated, allowing me to continue experimenting and creating additional animations. I decided to have two beams emanating from the eye area while the head moved from right to left, and two beams emerging from the sides of the device. I also created an animation where the device would open up in a playful manner from within or behind the head by animating the scale and position of each piece.

With the action sequences complete, I focused on creating light-reveals by animating a point light at different positions within the scene. For the next clip, I duplicated the rectangular light used as a backlight and nested it within a new actor positioned at the center of the CyberDevil. This new actor served as an anchor point for the rectangular light, allowing it to rotate around the CyberDevil effectively. Due to the large size of the rectangular light, it cast beautiful reflections on various surfaces.

Another thing I wanted to add was a symbol that would connect the CyberDevil with… well, the devil. I experimented with placing both a pentagram and a Leviathan Cross, ultimately deciding to go with the smaller and less obvious latter symbol.

I rendered both the action clips and the light-reveal clips. It occurred to me that I could go the extra mile by rendering a set of clips without the background, which would enable VJs to easily incorporate them with other layers. This additional rendering process took longer than I’d like to admit, but as they say, alpha is the new black, right?

As a final touch and enhancement, inside After Effects, I added Video Copilot’s Saber effect to the edges of the laser beams to intensify their power. I also applied a Turbulent Displace effect to below the beams to create a ‘Heat Distortion’ effect around them.

Creating The Deck In Resolume Arena

In Arena, I duplicated and trimmed the light-reveal clips to use them as accents. When the same clip is sped up, it transforms into a frantic flashing lights clip suitable for the beat drop. I did the same with the action clips that begin with the device opening, trimming them to focus on the parts where the laser is firing. This allowed for switching between these accent clips to visualize the rapid-fire beat-drop chaos. To enhance the intensity of the laser firing sequences, I added effects such as clip shaking with the transform effect or a twitch effect, following the method I used for the Metverser reward. If you want to learn how to create these effects, you can watch the tutorial. As a bonus, I duplicated all the variations I created and produced a version where the clips have a more saturated, orangy, hellish appearance.

What's Next?

I really don’t know. I have a few ideas and references on my Trello board, and we’ll see what the muses deliver when they’re challenged next month.

Let me know if you have any feedback/ideas in an email to [email protected] or DM me on Patreon / Facebook / Instagram.

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