Learn to Create Slick 3D Effects in DaVinci Resolve 17

DaVinci Resolve 13/08/2021 5 min read

DaVinci Resolve isn’t just for color grading, while it’s a fully equipped NLE, it has a built-in DAW in the form of Fairlight for audio and Fusion is perfect for visual effects like the 3D effects we will be learning below.

Part 1: 2 Impressive 3D Pop-Out Effects in DaVinci Resolve

While both these effects are not truly 3D effects, they are certainly eye-catching and relatively easy if you have the right footage. It does take a bit of time and patience though, so be prepared to sit down for a while. The result will be worth it in the end!

3D Pop-Out Effect

You will need a clip with movement toward the camera, ideally something that starts small in the frame and then moves out of the frame past the camera. You will understand better when you look at the example. It is key to find something that will be easy to mask and track. Solid clear shapes like buildings are ideal. Aerial fly-by shots work a treat, just stay clear of trees and bushes.  Once you have selected your clip, import it and place it in a timeline on the edit page in DaVinci Resolve then follow the steps below.

  1. Duplicate the clip and place it on the video track above then disable the top clip.
  2. Select the bottom clip. Now create black bars at the bottom and the top by using the Crop settings in the Inspector. 

Note: We have animated these using keyframes because our subject starts off too large in the frame and that will take the surprise of the effect away.

  1. You can also use a transparent overlay for the black bars if you would like, but it is not as simple to animate if that is what you would like to do.
  2. Enable your top clip again and set the Opacity to around 80%, just enough to see the black bars underneath. This is just temporary and will help you see what you need to mask.
  3. Change to the Color tab and add a Serial node. Play through your clip and determine which parts of your object you need to mask. You only need to mask the area of your object that will move over the black bars. 
  4. Once you have a good idea go back to the Edit tab and set the Opacity back to 100% for masking and tracking.
  5. Using the Curves tool create a mask around your object from the point just before it would cross over the black bars. The mask needs to be clean and detailed for the best result, so take your time.
  6. Next, you will need to track the mask using the Tracker. To see the result add an Alpha Output and link the Alpha node to the Alpha Output. Now you’ll see the initial result of your effort. Play it back a few times and watch closely.
  7. Once tracked there will most likely be imperfections in the tracking. The tedious process of correcting this frame by frame starts. Make sure you are in frame mode in the tracker then adjust the mask frame by frame. You only need to do the areas that will go over the black bars. This process can take time and the more time you spend on it, the better the end result.

That’s it, the effect is done. If you want to add more masks you can use a key mixer and multiple nodes.

3D Glitch Pop-Out Effect

This is another mind-boggling effect that will surprise your viewers. We will need to harness Fusion’s 3D capabilities in DaVinci Resolve to pull this one-off. You need another clip with movement toward the camera and aerial shots work great for this. Have a look at Motion Array’s great collection of stock video.

  1. Duplicate your clip and change the duplicate to a freeze-frame by pressing R on your keyboard and selecting the freeze-frame. 
  2. Cut your clip where you would like the effect to start. Now repeat the process with another layer to start later.
  3. Select the clip and freeze-frames to create a New Fusion clip. Select the fusion clip and go to the Fusion page.
  4. You can get rid of the Merge nodes and connect your clip to the Media Out node, then load it into the viewer.
  5. Now add a Camera Tracker node to your clip (use Shift + Space to search for nodes). 
  6. Track the camera movement using the Auto-track feature then Solve the result. You want to get a value under 1 for a good track. Export your tracking data.
  7. This export creates a bunch of 3D nodes that will form the basis for this 3D effect. You can delete the Point cloud and Ground plane as we won’t need these.
  8. Add an Image Plane 3D to your first freeze frame then connect it to the Merge3D node. When you move to the frame where the freeze-frame starts you will see the image appear.
  9. Lower the Opacity of your image in the Material settings of your image plane. 
  10. Now line up the freeze-frame with the clip using the Scale and Transform dials in the Transform settings of the Image plane.
  11. Ensure you increase the Z-Axis Translation otherwise, you won’t get the offset you need later.
  12. Increase the Opacity again and now add a Rectangle to the effect mask of your freeze-frame.  
  13. Adjust the shape Size and Position as it suits you and add more shapes or rectangles as you need. Try not to overlap them as it does not work as well. When you play this through you will see the effect in action.
  14. Repeat steps 6-9 with your 2nd freeze-frame to complete the effect. Let it render and enjoy!

Part 2: 3D Hologram Effect in DaVinci Resolve

Who doesn’t love a good 3D hologram? Taking our inspiration from Minority Report and using some amazing stock footage and motion graphics from Motion Array we combine a VR experience with a HUD style hologram.  Alternatively, you can just film yourself swiping, tapping, or gesturing away in mid-air then add this effect to any footage you like in DaVinci Resolve. The aim here is to get your hologram to match the gestures in your footage. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Place your gesture footage on the first track of your timeline then add your hologram clip on top.
  2. The first thing you need to do is line up your hologram clip with the visual plane of your talent and their gestures.
  3. We do this in the Edit page because the Transform node in Fusion is limited if you are not working in a 3D space (which is probably the best way to do this).
  4. In the Inspector use the Flip, Pitch, Yaw, Rotation, Zoom, and Position to adjust the hologram clip until it looks right.  
  5. Use keyframes to match the movements and gestures of your talent until it looks pretty good.  Make sure any Pitch, Yaw, and Rotation adjustments are made before moving to fusion.
  6. Select both clips and create a New Fusion Clip.
  7. In Fusion add a Planar Tracker node to your gesture clip and track the translation of the camera movement. Create a planar transform from this tracking data and add it to your hologram clip so it follows the camera movement. (Skip this step if you have no camera movement in your clip).
  8. After the planar transform, add a shadow node, then change the color to a light blue and increase the softness. This will add a nice blue glow to your hologram to help sell the effect.
  9. The last step is to further animate any gestures that were not done on the edit page. In this case, we animated the expand gesture at the start using a transform node and keyframes. Adding motion blur can really help sell effects with movement in it.

Pro Tips: Add scan lines to your hologram for an even better look. Also, use time remapping on your hologram clip if you need to match up e.g. scrolling pages with gestures. 

DaVinci Resolve is a really powerful all-in-one editing, color grading, visual effects, and audio suite for content creators. Fusion is an amazing visual effects tool built right into DaVinci Resolve that allows you to create stunning 3D effects. If you are looking for additional effects, learn to create floating 3D text, cool clone effects, or bass shake effects