As the last week floated on by I slowly began to juggle two ideas for this project. It would either be based on Rocky Balboa or John Rambo, a friend of mine put Stallone in my head and the idea grew from there. Eventually I settled on Rambo, wanting to have the name shot full of bullets left to right along with some fire or explosions.
A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have dared tackle something like this, however after finding the wonders of footagecrate.com from Gary, I knew I could find some pre-composed gunshot assets that could assist me (more on these later). My initial concern was trying to find the font used on the movie posters, it turns out its a licensed font and cost $30, however I know the internet well and with enough digging found a similar but legally distinct version of the font for free.
As Peter’s sage advice always goes, make sure your source assets are as good as they can be, no amount of work in AE will make them any better. So I took a step back and considered what I wanted from the end product. The original movie font was red and I still wanted to retain some of that, however I also wanted the bullet impacts to have some pzazz and was worried they wouldn’t show too well on pure red. That was when I found this:
I loved the debris from the cement impact and had an idea straight away. Rather than do anything graphic with blood, I’d render the text with a cement texture and hopefully be reminiscent of Rambo shooting up the town in First Blood. This would help the bullet decals blend in. Not wanting to lose the red colour of the original font I backed the cement text with a duplicated layer and used the red to highlight the front layer. Personally I think it worked well.
The rest of the exercise, I admit was a bit of a blur. From start to finish it blazed by in about three hours. After bringing all the assets into AE and making a new composition based on the Harrison Ford template from last week I realised my first hurdle. I wanted a wiggle on the text when it was shot with a bullet, I realised quickly that adding this directly to the text layer affecting it over the duration of the whole composition. I needed a new plan.
Thankfully the TiX exercise the other week introduced us to Slider Controls, we used them to control expressions before, I’m sure they could be used for this. After some Google-Fu it turned out I was right, so setup a Null with the slider control for the wiggle and parented the text layer to the null. Immediately I had keyframe control over the wiggle value. The rest of the time was spent duplicating these keyframes, adding and aligning a bullet, rinse and repeat.
Sadly another issue stood in my way. The duration of the bullet videos were ending before my composition duration finished, this caused the decals to slowly vanish. Cue more Google-Fu! This handy tip is genius and will come in handy in the future. I could go to the last frame in the video, split the layer and time freeze the final frame over whatever duration I needed! Problem solved!
Add one explosion from Footage Crate later and voila, one finished credit roller ready for assembly into the bigger project next week.