BTS: A Look Into The Creation Of The Beautiful 'Star Trek Into Darkness' CG Title Scene

It's always fascinating to get a glimpse behind the scenes of high-budget productions, and Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot provides us with an absolutely wonderful look into the creation of the title design and introduction scenes for Star Trek Into Darkness. The best part? The plugin used to create many of the effects only costs $150.

In this video, Andrew walks us through how they created the wild and untamed planets and stars, ethereal lighting effects, lens flare effects, motion effects and sublime coloring used in the intro for this epic blockbuster. Using an After Effects plugin called Element 3d, Andrew teamed up with JJ Abrams to create something that would compel audiences in both 2d and 3d formats, as the film was released in both. The team had to work quickly and stay adaptable, and some of the pre-visualization needed to pull this off is no doubt impressive. I especially appreciate the ability to tweak lighting and coloring so simply during the process - something that must have saved them bundles of time.

If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll also really appreciate this video, I must say. I wasn't expecting that, and got a serious chuckle out of the surprise about halfway through.

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I actually lol'd at the falcon smash.

Jayson Carey's picture

The Millennium Falcon reveal is what got me.

Dave Wallace's picture

Amazing that this was all done in AE! Thanks for posting Mike.

Andrew is a genius with After Effects and he and his VideoCopilot team developed Element 3D and it's a brilliant plugin, however note at 1:55 the planets etc were not built in AE, the were animated, colored and lit with Element but the 3D models themselves were brought in using the plugin, ie built elsewhere.

Dave Wallace's picture

True. But the selling point of Element 3d is that you can stay in AE without having to resort to cinema 4d or 3ds max

Spy Black's picture

So Element 3D is the object creation and modeling software? If not that means you still have to resort to something like Cinema 4D or 3DS Max to make your objects.

This was exactly what I meant Spy Black, Element 3D does have it's own asset packs and I think can be used to handle 3d objects such as text which After Effects can make itself, however the planets and asteroid shown in the video here were not made in element, neither were the solar flares.

Spy Black's picture

Oh, so it's pre-fabbed. Gotcha.

What does this have to do with photography?

Tony Carter's picture

LOL, at first I thought the same thing, but if you study the video more than the content, you can pick up a few things about lighting, angles, and how the two interact...besides, video is really just a rapid series of still photos ;)

They used photographic lenses? iDk but it was cool.

Mike Kelley's picture

It has a lot to do with video, and we're not just a photography blog! And as Tony said below, you can still learn a lot about lighting, styling, angles, etc, no matter what artistic medium you're working in.

The flashlight lens flare idea is brilliant and I could see doing that for still images as well.

:D fake LEGO enterprise than real LEGO falcon crash:D
I could watch these planets all night long on a psytrance party:):P

Loved it! I love seeing things that I have NO IDEA how to do myself!

Guys. Invest in Andrew's products. They are mindblowing. We used Element 3D on a few shots combined with our timelapses in NY and the results were rad. At 1:40 in with the binoculars...