Recreating the Genesis Effect from Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan Tutorial

Recreating the Genesis Effect from Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan

An Adobe After Effects tutorial


In this video, I look at how to recreate the iconic Genesis Effect as simulated by some of the very first CGI in movies.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) used a Cray supercomputer to render the minute long sequence.  The shot was reused in both Star Trek III : The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home, so you know it must have been good.  In the sequence, a torpedo is fired into dead moon, which is quickly covered in fiery particles.  Then the surface glow fades to see greenery and water appear on the surface before pulling back to reveal an M-class world with clouds. 

It’s an awesome sequence and the hardest part turned out to be the camera move, which I had to give up on, but still I think I capture the feeling of it.

The tutorial only uses the included effects and one plug-in, the free Orb effect from Video Copilot.  It’s a long tutorial and I have focussed more on the techniques involved rather than trying to match everything exactly.


Position X:
x=thisComp.layer(“Planet NULL”).transform.position[0]-thisComp.width/2;

Position Y:
y=thisComp.layer(“”Planet NULL”).transform.position[1]-thisComp.height/2;

Position Z:
z=thisComp.layer(“”Planet NULL”).transform.position[2];

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