Inner Beats VJ Clips & Tutorial

This month’s VJ clip reward on Patreon is InnerBeats, here we go:

Available On Patreon

InnerBeats is a set of 9 VJ clips, in 1080p & 2160p DXV. It’s a Robot head in various animations: opening up, light reveals, emission-patterns – and in different angles – so you could create mesmerising mixes while riding the eternal beats. Available throughout 31st May to superfans on Patreon.

Superfans also get that extensive Resolume Arena project (v7.14.2) incl. variations, ready mixes arranged into columns, cool abstract beat machines and other surprises. More on that in the overview tutorial below.

How To Mix InnerBeats On Resolume Arena

Great VJ clips are like high-quality ingredients in a recipe, it’s the way you mix and compose them that transforms your performance into a visual feast for the eyes. Learn how to compose the different camera angles, create accents, create abstract beat-machines with cloner effects and more.

Creation Process

InnerBeats was created by tweaking the Robot Head 2 3D asset. When I found it on CGTrader, my mind exploded with the different possibilities of animating it and its inner parts. The first image that came to mind was one where the face’s plates open up and reveal the inner parts, emitting light on the beat. Another image was of the face plates emitting light when closed. That was enough for me to pull the trigger and purchase the asset.

I downloaded an FXB file, imported it to Unreal Engine, and loved how beautiful it looked, but I was also overwhelmed with the number of details this asset included. I’m talking about thousands(!) of small objects that assemble this asset. I got many errors while importing; the geometry looked wacky with strange holes in it.

I had to reorganize the objects to make them convenient to animate later on and also solve the wacky geometry issues (that turned out to be happening because the asset had a very dense mesh).

So, I opened the FBX in C4d and this time it looked fine. It meant that the asset was okay, and that things got wacky while importing to UE. I hoped I could solve it, but first, I had to reorganize the objects into subfolders based on the features I wanted to animate: the eyes, the ears, the chakra, and the face plates.

After some research and repeated import attempts into UE (including the Datasmith importer), I found out that in order for this very dense mesh to import correctly to UE, I had to export it as an FBX with the “Triangulate” tick-box on. I guess c4d is doing the conversion from quads to triangles and not UE, and that it does it better. I didn’t want to reduce the mesh density because I wanted to keep the objects in good quality so I could later have extreme close-ups of the inner parts.

With the asset imported successfully to UE, I started by creating the most complicated animation of the face’s plates opening up. I felt that once I had it nailed down, I would have a “proof of concept” that would be good enough to give to superfans this month. After having this one, all the rest of the clips I could make would just be a bonus.

I opened a new sequence and started animating the opening-up of the face’s plates. I had too many plates, and animating them looked too technical. I realized I had to simplify the parts by grouping them together into four main parts, perhaps because there are four beats in a musical bar?

I planned to have 4s of opening, 8s of the face opened and the inner parts emitting, and another 4s where the face closes up. I thought it would be nice to have the opening and closing sequences look slightly different, so I made the opening-up sequence start from the mouth area, then climb up to the crown by offsetting the timings of each opening animation. The closing sequence would be all the plates closing simultaneously. By having these two sequences slightly different, I felt I was adding some realism and interest to the animation and not just reversing the animation in a boring way.

To make the inner parts of the head emit on the beat, I used the trick of activating the emission feature in the material as explained in this tutorial and using curve atlases to control the timings.

I now have the opening-up sequence, and I thought it would be useful to have another camera angle of the same animation, but instead of a frontal shot (where the camera is in front of the head), add another camera that is at an angle to the head because I could compose these two angles into beautiful compositions in Resolume Arena later, similarly to how I did it in the Aztec Skulls reward. I did this by duplicating the sequence I had with the animations in it, then just replacing the frontal camera with the angled camera.

The next clip I made was of the head’s plates emitting on the beat. I duplicated the level so I could work in a new environment, dimmed the lights so that the emission would be more impressive, animated the ears’ areas to be bouncing on the beat, and the eyes to be moving more rapidly. Of course, now that I had another camera angle from the side, I created another sequence for that.

I duplicated that level because I wanted to create another clip where the head’s plates are not emitting, in order to have the ability to play this clip first and only when needed to mix into the plates emitting on the beat.

I then went on to create the clips that reveal the head in total darkness. I planned to have 4 different light-reveals in an 8s clip. For the 1st reveal, I created a point light inside the Third Eye’s chakra area and animated it to start inside the chakra and then hover above. For the 2nd and 3rd reveals, I came up with the idea of having a kind of “scan” effect, so I created a narrow “box” light and animated it sweeping along the head in horizontal and vertical scans. For the 4th reveal, I attached a box lights to a “null” at the center of the head and then animated the rotation of that null, in order to create an interesting reveal where the lights start behind the head, then rotate in front of it and end up rotating back to where they started.

The last clip I made was of an extreme close-up of the eyes while the head is opening up. I could go even further with an extreme close-up of only one eye. Actually, I should do that next.

Creating The Deck In Resolume Arena

The reason for creating each clip in both frontal and angled shots was that I could create interesting compositions later in Resolume Arena. That’s what I did, along with creating some gentle movement of the heads and the creation of abstract beat-machines using cloner effects. Check out the tutorial above for a detailed overview of what can be done while live-mixing the InnerBeats reward.

What's Next?

The artist whose head asset I’m using here has another asset that blows my mind. I might create the next reward out of it, or I might go for another character. We’ll see.

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

In case you’re not already a superfan, consider joining the avid performers who are already receiving monthly VJ clip rewards from us, bringing fresh content to their shows and keeping their audience (and clients) amazed by their performances 🤘