Use After Effects tracking tools to create a HUD inspired by Spider-Man: Homecoming. Plus 12 free HUD elements from our Interface pack.

In this tutorial, we’ll use some intermediate to advanced methods in After Effects (using the built-in tracking tools as well as elements from our new Interface HUD Pack) to quickly create this impressive special effects shot inspired by the HUD in Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s new Tony Stark-sponsored spidey suit.

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Spiderman's HUD
Image via Sony Pictures.

Click the button below to download twelve free elements from the Interface HUD Pack as well as the footage from the tutorial to follow along.

Download Spider-Man: Homecoming HUD Elements

Tracking the Fingers and Hands

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Tracking Fingers

The first (and definitely longest) step is to get everything tracked and rigged up. You’ll need to track the hands and each finger separately. It’s pretty time consuming, but it could be worse.

In this particular instance, there are some challenges to tracking these elements because there aren’t any neatly defined points to track for the fingers. However, you can get all of the tracking information yourself by doing some of the manual processes laid out in the tutorial.

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Stop Tracking

The most important step in making this possible is to change the settings in the tracker options from Adapt Feature to Stop Tracking and then setting the confidence level to about 90%. This will make it easier to do some of the tracking manually, and it will also save time. This setting allows you to make sure that the tracker is keeping tabs on the correct portion of the image and nudge it back into place whenever the tracker is less than 90% confident about whatever it’s tracking.

Another thing to note is that if you want to have 3d movement in your scene (like the hand rotation in the example above, you’d want to use a third-party tracking software, like Syntheyes or Mocha Pro. For the time being, the built-in tools in After Effects (and Mocha AE for that matter), are really only suitable for planar 2d tracking or 3d tracking stationary objects.

Adding Your Elements

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Adding Elements

Once all your tracking data is in place, it’s time to move on to the truly fun part. Now you can build whatever look you like using your elements.

If you’re using the Interface elements, most of them have an in clip, loop clip, and out clip. This way, you can extend the length of your element to meet the needs of your scene. To quickly create a composition with all three elements, select them all from top to bottom and drag them to the new comp icon in the bottom of the project panel. Select Single Composition, make sure sequence layers is checked, and do not use any overlap. This will place all three elements in order in your comp.

Now, you can go back to your main comp and add the elements to your footage. Here, you may decide to use the Add or Screen transfer modes — but that’s entirely up to you. You can also change the color of your elements using a Hue/Saturation effect or by using adjustment layers and a Fill effect.

Using a Glow effect might also be a good addition to your element as well — again, entirely up to you.

Once you have your element looking the way you want it to, you have to make sure to parent it to the correct Null object.

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Null Object

Always make sure that you have parented your element to the null object that you’d like the element to move along with. It helps to have an organizational technique to achieve this; for instance, I always make sure that the element is above the null that I’m using. I’ve always used that method, so I’ve gotten in the habit of making sure the correct null is always selected. If you forget, it’s an easy fix.

Building The Frame

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — The Frame

To match the example from the movie, I went ahead and put together my own version of the frame of the HUD using elements from the Interface pack.

To do this, I used solids and masks to recreate the edges. Then I spent a while getting creative with various elements from the pack. In a pinch, you can always use elements from the Tiny Objects to quickly add a lot of detail and small elements to fill in the edges. I also like adding a grid element to the entire layer.

Create A Spiderman-Inspired HUD Effect + 12 Free HUD Elements — Tiny Objects

Once you’re done creating your frame, you can add it on top of your main comp with your spidey-hands in it.

Now you can add a Bulge effect to your frame comp layer and fine-tune the settings until it looks almost like a fisheye view through spiderman’s HUD.

After you’ve got everything where you like it, tracked up, and ready to go, add a very slight contrast curve (using a Curve effect) to everything to bring it all together. Like it? Get the full Interface pack of HUD elements right here.


Have you got any tips for designing custom HUD effects? Let us know in the comments.