Blender – Stabilizer Improvements & Muzzle Flash


If you’ve tried to stabilize footage in Blender at any point since the inclusion of tracking tools during the production of Tears of Steel, you may have noticed a large, glaring omission – scale. Translation and rotation, no problem. But we have not been able to stabilize scale in Blender at all.

What we’ll be creating:

Of course, I would not be posting this if that hadn’t recently changed. Hermann Voßeler (aka Ichthyostega) has been working on this problem for a while now. With the release of Blender 2.78 today, his hard work can now be utilized by everyone, and I thought I’d share a first look at the new functionality.


Updated stabilizer UI

If you’ve used the stabilizing tools before, you’ll notice not much has changed, there’s just a few things added or moved around in the UI.

The first two tutorials posted below will cover the new stabilizer features, and in the following ones we take one of the shots a bit further. The actor is dying in the scene, but manages to get off a few last shots before heading off to the great unknown. We’ll add those muzzle flashes, using Krita to paint the muzzle flash element and a Blender smoke sim to create some lingering smoke. We’ll also do some color correction so it looks a bit more like a movie, although DI (digital intermediate) color correction like this is not visual effects.

Using some other footage, we’ll also take a look at how to use weighted stabilizing for long panning or zooming shots, where nothing stays in the shot long enough to get a single track point to stabilize around.

You can read the details of it’s development here, and in the official Blender 2.78 release notes here. And of course, you can download Blender 2.78 right here.

Grab some footage below and let’s get started! I’m posting four different takes of the scene, so feel free to experiment and change things around however you like. Maybe add in some other things to the shot. I’m also including my finished blend file, two different blend files for gun smoke, and two painted muzzle flashes. If you work through the tutorials, post your results in the comments! I’d love to see what you all come up with!

Assets required:

UPDATE (Oct 14, 2016): Sergey recently added functionality to see the keyframes for new stabilizer functions! Thanks, Sergey!

Tutorial 1 – Stabilizing scale in a handheld dollying shot.
Click HERE to download Tutorial 1.


Tutorial 2 – Using the weight features of the new stabilizer for long panning shots.
Click HERE to download Tutorial 2.


Tutorial 3 – Adding muzzle flash, using Krita to paint the element.
Click HERE to download Tutorial 3.


Tutorial 4 – Creating lingering smoke from the gun.
Click HERE to download Tutorial 4.


Tutorial 5 – Finishing up the compositing and color correction.
Click HERE to download Tutorial 5.


  1. Hey Mr. Sean Kennedy,
    this was absolutely incredible awesome. I’ve learned a ton of new techniques.
    Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge.
    Cheers, BlenderPete

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