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Old August 24th, 2006, 11:08 PM   #1
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Lightsaber Effect

Does anyone know how to make a lightsaber effect/plug in that will make a lightsaber effect for FCS? I'm not ever sure to go about doing it, so any advice would be great! Thanks!
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Old August 25th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #2
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I assume by FCS you mean any part of the studio ;-)
http://www.bosfcpug.org/beta/index.p...d=75&Itemid=58
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Old August 25th, 2006, 06:29 AM   #3
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Rotoscoping! Hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of fun!
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Old August 25th, 2006, 11:19 AM   #4
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Yes, this is what I was looking for. I thought it would be in motion, but I wasn't completely sure...


oh goody, looks like my weekend is shot!

Thanks for the info
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Old August 25th, 2006, 11:25 AM   #5
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You could save a lot of time if you used something like Effects Lab. It has tweening functions that automate the key frame animation. The Pro version works with HD and it's still only around US$100.00. And yes, it works on both PCs and Macs.

* used to be AlamDV
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Old August 25th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #6
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after effects, photoshop, tons of apps to do it, pretty standard process, just google it
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Old August 25th, 2006, 12:26 PM   #7
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The only thing to watch for with keyframing and tweening lightsabers is they might almost appear a bit too "smooth". One of the signature appearance items for light sabers is that slight vibrating or pulsing look they have. That's basically generated from the imperfections of a person rotoscoping as each frame is always going to be just ever so slightly off from the previous frame. I imagine this typically isn't an issue with scenes of high motion, but for more static images I think it would probably be noticable. If you could keyframe the sabers and also introduce some sort of high frequency random twitter maybe that would work...

If there is time, just animate 30-60 frames of a lightsaber that is not in motion, once with a keyframe method and once rotoscoped. The keyframe saber will basically look like a still photograph of course, with no motion (assuming no random vibration is introduced somehow). The rotoscoped version will appear to be active and humming along.

Of course rotocsoping takes forever and day, so it is only for the most dedicated Jedi video nerds.

Here's an incredibly awful video I made:
http://www.philipwilliams.com/weddingduel.aspx
There's approximately 14 seconds of lightsaber fumbling and it took me about 10 hours of photoshop rotoscoping. The video is lame, but was downloaded tens of thousands of times and even caught the attention of an ILM employee that called me for some camcorder advice. It HAD to be the rotoscoped sabers...
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Old August 27th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #8
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Ok, thanks everybody! but I do have one more question: how do you make the lightsaber appear behind someone, like when a person is between the camera and the blade? so far, it's always on the top of the person when it needs to be behind them. any ideas (for Motion, again)?

Thanks
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Old August 27th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #9
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Masking

I've done some lightsaber work in both photoshop and after effects. If you were working in after effects, then it's not hard to simply add a 2nd layer of video on top of everything and then mask over the body parts that should be between what would be the lightsaber and the camera. Without proper masking tools that you yourself could craft, I think this part would be most challenging.

Also, if you haven't tried searching the web for video tutorials for lightsaber effects, you should do that also. I don't know where it is now, but I found a video tutorial a couple years ago that basically walked you through everything to create good lightsabers in After Effects.

www.freshcreations.com
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Old August 27th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Poling
Ok, thanks everybody! but I do have one more question: how do you make the lightsaber appear behind someone, like when a person is between the camera and the blade? so far, it's always on the top of the person when it needs to be behind them. any ideas (for Motion, again)?

Thanks
In this case you just mask over the obstructed area of the blade with a black (or subtract) mask before adding the glows.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #11
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On top of the above light-saber advice, you could also now and again add some gorgeous light effects work in choice moments [so you don't burn yourself out] using Shine by Trapcode for After Effects.

Mixing several of their plug-ins will also produce some unique effects.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #12
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For all your lightsaber needs:
http://ryanw.michaelfrisk.com/ryan-w...ls_sabers.html
and
http://boards.theforce.net/fan_films...268323/p1/?135

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Old September 28th, 2006, 11:33 PM   #13
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Aftereffects has a "beam" effect (I think that is what it is called - it is meant for lasers and the like, but it will work). Just connect one end to the handle part of the lightsabre and the other at the point. Animate it as you wish, then add all the glow effects and so on.

Should be easy enough...just take a while to get the animation right. Oh and don't forget to make it 3d should help with the movement of it.

No one said it is easy to be a jedi.
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Old September 29th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #14
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You should really just look at the links I posted earlier. The beam effect and all other shortcuts really don't hold a candle to rotoscoping and proper compositing. You can make more "realistic" appearing sabers with After Effects than appeared in any of the actual Star Wars films. Just take the time to do it right.

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