You are viewing an archive of the old fxhome.com forums. The community has since moved to hitfilm.com.

Lightswords: ILM Quality Lightsabers

Posted: Tue, 31st Jan 2006, 7:47pm

Post 1 of 33

Redhawksrymmer

Force: 18442 | Joined: 19th Aug 2002 | Posts: 2620

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 3 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Rating: +26

VisionLab ILM Quality Lightsabers

UPDATE! Video walkthrough now available! No sound, but it shows you in a quick way just how you do it. Download it here.

UPDATE 2! Presets now available for all versions of EffectsLab and VisionLab. These are available:
ILM Blue Lightsabers - Part 1
ILM Blue Lightsabers - Part 2
ILM Green Lightsabers - Part 1
ILM Green Lightsabers - Part 2
ILM Red Lightsabers - Part 1
ILM Red Lightsabers - Part 2
ILM Purple Lightsabers - Part 1
ILM Purple Lightsabers - Part 2

Hi! I recently figured out how to make nice looking lightsabers in VisionLab (this tutorial could work in EffectsLab, but I have not been able to try it).

This tutorial will learn you how to make those incredibly epic lightsabers as seen in the most recent episode of the Star Wars saga. One thing that can be seen in Episode III and not in the other episodes, is a slight glow around the edges of the core, which is exactly what we are going to make.

I am going to use direct blue screen footage from Episode 3 to show you what I mean.

My Footage
Width: 853 Pixels
Height: 480 Pixels
Framerate: 24
Aspect Ratio: Square (1,0)
Scan Method: Progressive
Sampling: 4:4:4

Let's get started!
I start by opening my original footage (I have keyed the blue background out to make it easier to see what to do). The first thing I'll do is to apply a neon light engine on top of the footage. Mask your lightsaber using the teqnique covered in the manual (4-point, first two clicks at the bottom, then two at the top).

Then you alter the hilt curve and tip curve. Of course this varies from what footage you are using, but I'm using a value of 0.22 for the hilt. (Since the tip curve is out of picture I won't make any alterations there. Just remember not to make it too subtle or too extreme.) Your footage should now look something like this. Note that the glow is FAR from finished, this image is just to show the shape of the lightsaber.

Next step is to go into the Neon Glow section. I'll set the feather to 6 since this is quite an extreme close-up. Leave the other Core Attributes. Click on the big red bar to open up the colour gradient, then click the red box next to "Color:" to open the Color Pallete. Depening on what you like to use as a colour, you can choose almost any colour you want. Except white...or black. Just make sure to use a colour next to the edges, and you'll be fine.

The exact value for my dark blue colour is: 25, 75 and 240. Click "OK", then click "OK" again. Leave the Color Randomizer to 0.00.

Now it's time for a important step. *Drumroll*...The Size! It's important not to use a very big number if your lightsaber is far away, and not a small number if it's very close. On my footage I'm using a value of 125. Set the spread at approx. half the size of the size. I'm setting it to 56. Next step is intensity, which suprisingly enough gives intensity to your lightsaber! I'm setting this to 0.15, but again this could vary depending on your footage.

This is a small screencap of my settings:


You have now completed the glow for the 1st layer (!) of the lightsaber. Your footage should look something like this.

The next step is to duplicate your lightsaber layer (by doing "copy" and "paste") and place your new layer on top of the other one.

Now, select your top-most lightsaber layer by leftclicking the purple tab. The object inspector should pop up in the upper-right corner. Set the Composite to "Add" instead of "Screen". Now, enter your Neon Glow settings for the layer you just changed the blending mode on. Raise the core feather to about 6 times the number (I used 6, so I'm raising to 24).

The next step is to alter the Glow Attributes again. Set your size to about a 3rd of it's previous number (I used 125, now I'm using 43). The Spread is a little harder to say how much you should lower it. A bit more than half it's original value should be fine (I used 56, now I'm using 30). Do not change the intensity.

Here is a screencap of my settings for the second lightsaber layer:



If you have done everything right, the effect should now be completed and should look close to this.

EXTRA: It's often good to add a small size randomizer and spread randomizer to the first layer if your lightsaber is fairly static and doesn't move around much. This adds extra realism.
Final Word
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I can't wait to see what you can come up with. Feel free to experiment! And remember,
Imagination Is Your Only Limit.

/Redhawk

Last edited Fri, 4th Aug 2006, 3:47pm; edited 8 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 31st Jan 2006, 7:55pm

Post 2 of 33

MrShmoe

Force: 1114 | Joined: 29th Apr 2003 | Posts: 411

EffectsLab Lite User Windows User

Gold Member

Nice tutorial. The lightsabers turned out really great. This is gonna help alot of people, both experienced and unexperienced.

+1
Posted: Tue, 31st Jan 2006, 9:39pm

Post 3 of 33

Vault FX

Force: 2550 | Joined: 30th May 2003 | Posts: 602

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

WOW I really found that tutorial really helpful thanks Redhawk smile

+1 smile

TC
Posted: Tue, 31st Jan 2006, 11:55pm

Post 4 of 33

JT9

Force: 852 | Joined: 11th May 2005 | Posts: 521

EffectsLab Lite User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

This is so awsome +2. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 1st Feb 2006, 12:22am

Post 5 of 33

starfan

Force: 325 | Joined: 27th Mar 2005 | Posts: 353

EffectsLab Lite User Windows User FXpreset Maker

Gold Member

+ 3 wink so awsome
Posted: Wed, 1st Feb 2006, 10:35am

Post 6 of 33

Cogz

Force: 16050 | Joined: 18th Jun 2002 | Posts: 674

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

FXhome Team Member

Well done, this is really going to help our users out loads. The results have come out really well. smile
Posted: Wed, 1st Feb 2006, 11:20am

Post 7 of 33

Redhawksrymmer

Force: 18442 | Joined: 19th Aug 2002 | Posts: 2620

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 3 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Thx for all the comments! I'm happy to help, as always.

FXHome Team - you should perhaps make this into a sticky or something so people can find it easier. Just a suggestion. smile
Posted: Wed, 1st Feb 2006, 12:43pm

Post 8 of 33

Oeyvind

Force: 3040 | Joined: 6th Jun 2005 | Posts: 568

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Lite User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Hey, Redhawksrymmer!!! Great tutorial!!! biggrin That really looked great, that last picture! Far more realistic!!! Great job! +2

Oeyvind
Posted: Thu, 9th Feb 2006, 2:44am

Post 9 of 33

Landon

Force: 670 | Joined: 12th Mar 2005 | Posts: 162

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Lite User Windows User FXpreset Maker

Gold Member

Awsome Job!!!

I just tried it out in ELab and it worked fine. I came out with the best lightsaber results I ever have in my history if rotoscoping lightsabers. 5/5!!! And the tutorial gets rated up +1.

Thanks,

-Landon
Posted: Thu, 9th Feb 2006, 6:16pm

Post 10 of 33

Job

Force: 150 | Joined: 26th Jun 2005 | Posts: 108

MacOS User

Member

talking about saturation razz nice tut! +1 ... oh, im not a gold user sorry wink
Posted: Fri, 10th Feb 2006, 8:13pm

Post 11 of 33

Evman

Force: 4382 | Joined: 25th Jan 2004 | Posts: 3609

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Wouldn't call this thread ILM quality lightsabers, because ILM lightsabers (at least for the last two films) suck. These are far better.

12212012
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 1:12am

Post 12 of 33

Landon

Force: 670 | Joined: 12th Mar 2005 | Posts: 162

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Lite User Windows User FXpreset Maker

Gold Member

Evman wrote:

Wouldn't call this thread ILM quality lightsabers, because ILM lightsabers (at least for the last two films) suck. These are far better.

12212012
When you say "last two films" do you mean the last two released, or the last two in the series....just wondering....

-Landon
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 3:12am

Post 13 of 33

Evman

Force: 4382 | Joined: 25th Jan 2004 | Posts: 3609

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Landon wrote:

Evman wrote:

Wouldn't call this thread ILM quality lightsabers, because ILM lightsabers (at least for the last two films) suck. These are far better.

12212012
Wh12en you say "last two fil21ms" do you mean the la20st two released, or the la12st two in the series....just wondering....

-Landon
last two released

12212012
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 3:17am

Post 14 of 33

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Evman wrote:

Wh12en you say "last two fil21ms" do you mean the la20st two released, or the la12stlast two released two in the sM qualit mean the la20st two released, or the la12ndering....

-Lan12212012don
I think a combination of the sabres in the original trilogy and the ones in The Phantom Menace would be great.

Also, someone should definitely make this into a preset. Can we do that yet?

12212012
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 3:24am

Post 15 of 33

Evman

Force: 4382 | Joined: 25th Jan 2004 | Posts: 3609

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Aculag wrote:

Evman wrote:

Wh12en you say "last two fil21ms" do you mean the la20st two released, or the la12stlast two released two in the sM qualit mean the la20st two released, or the la12ndering....

-Lan12212012don
I thin12k a combinMation of theT sa21bres in the original trilogy and the ones in The PhaIFntom Menace wou20ld be great.

Also, someCPone should definitely ma12ke this into a preset. Can we do thOat yet?

12212012
Yeah, Episode 2 and 3 sabers sucked oh so much. Not nearly enough glow tapering, and the glows were like dark blue and red. I did kind of like the pointy tips to the episode 3 sabers at first, but then I realized how much they suck. Episodes 1 and 5 have the best sabers, IMO.

12212012
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 4:05am

Post 16 of 33

Serpent

Force: 5426 | Joined: 26th Dec 2003 | Posts: 6515

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Pro User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

I liked Ep. 1, 5, and 6 the best, and I agree with the too dark blues and reds. Just not glowy feeling.
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 4:07am

Post 17 of 33

Evman

Force: 4382 | Joined: 25th Jan 2004 | Posts: 3609

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Serpent wrote:

I liked Ep. 1, 5, and 6 the best, and I agree with the too dark blues and reds. Just not glowy feeling.
6 had too much "spread" - if you're going by ELDV values, and not enough glow.

12212012
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 4:27am

Post 18 of 33

jrg2134

Force: 2491 | Joined: 11th Oct 2003 | Posts: 288

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker Windows User FXhome Movie Maker

Gold Member

I don't know i loved the lightswords in 3.... maybe it's the illusions of the clashes...those were awsome...I think the best lightswords they made were in the Mace vs. Palpatine scene and the last time you see both palpatine and yoda with a lightsword together (which they were pressing together) was a cool scene but yeah some of the swords weren't as good but i still liked 'em!



I have a question! What about making a gradient with the lightswords? Like set it to a light blue and then a little later setting to a dark blue? and then editing the size and spread instead of copy and pasting them?

So it looks like this:



I'm not saying it's better...i'm just asking how they compare? Your tutorial is great! Your tutorial looks quite better now that i look carefully at it but this is just a suggestion!?



I have also created a Lightsword tutorial (not to rival just to give another way to do it....Redhawk...Your method is terriffic! I just had another one to go with it...but still +1)

Last edited Tue, 21st Feb 2006, 11:17pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 11:52am

Post 19 of 33

Redhawksrymmer

Force: 18442 | Joined: 19th Aug 2002 | Posts: 2620

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 3 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Aculag wrote:

Also, someone should definitely make this into a preset. Can we do that yet?
I don't think you can make a preset consisting of 2 layers. I'll try to make two presets: Part 1 and 2.
Posted: Sat, 11th Feb 2006, 9:37pm

Post 20 of 33

Oeyvind

Force: 3040 | Joined: 6th Jun 2005 | Posts: 568

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Lite User FXpreset Maker Windows User

Gold Member

jrg2134! That's a good idea, I don't know why I didn't think of that before! wink I'll have to make a preset with that method later...! 'Couse you can't save to layers of FX as 1 preset. Good idea! biggrin

Oeyvind
Posted: Sun, 12th Feb 2006, 1:07am

Post 21 of 33

NickF

Force: 2726 | Joined: 4th Jun 2004 | Posts: 933

EffectsLab Pro User MacOS User FXhome Movie Maker

Gold Member

"Better Quality and More Consistent Than ILM Lightsabers"


+1 Good On Ya Red Hawk!
Posted: Tue, 21st Feb 2006, 7:46am

Post 22 of 33

Redhawksrymmer

Force: 18442 | Joined: 19th Aug 2002 | Posts: 2620

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 3 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Rating: +2

I have just submitted two presets to go with this tutorial, they should be up soon...

EDIT: Here they are:
Part 1
Part 2
Posted: Wed, 22nd Feb 2006, 6:51am

Post 23 of 33

bilbo97

Force: 190 | Joined: 28th Dec 2005 | Posts: 4

EffectsLab Lite User Windows User

Gold Member

Just to let you know, I use strictly effectslab and the system is very simmilar. I found though that if you use to the randomizer to much, especially when trying to rotoscope a complex fighting sequence, causes for way too much of a fuzzy feeling. I recommend when doing a fighting sequence to add slight blur and feather and it actually looks slightly better than the described method above.

*NOTE: this is all from the perspective of a striclty effectslab user*

Bilbo97
Posted: Sun, 5th Mar 2006, 1:42pm

Post 24 of 33

SyroVision

Force: 2130 | Joined: 1st Dec 2005 | Posts: 478

VisionLab User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

Ep1 Sabres has this lovely romance to them, Qui-Gon’s especially... something about it just worked, Super White and Bright Green with just the right amount of glow and Blade Fan just made it sing on the screen... The blades were a definite focal point yet they didn’t call your eye away from the action, unlike in Ep3 I felt....

Ep1... beautiful... Lil'Aniken kinda sucked tho LOL
Posted: Mon, 15th May 2006, 11:48pm

Post 25 of 33

AntiGrav

Force: 200 | Joined: 28th Apr 2006 | Posts: 37

EffectsLab Lite User MacOS User

Gold Member

Wow nice tute +1
Posted: Fri, 19th May 2006, 12:01am

Post 26 of 33

FXhomer17871

Force: 0 | Joined: 19th May 2006 | Posts: 6

Member

COOL! im going to try this.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Jun 2006, 9:12pm

Post 27 of 33

SugahSean

Force: 880 | Joined: 9th Dec 2001 | Posts: 27

EffectsLab Pro User MacOS User

Gold Member

Mr. RedHawk, I have a question:

Using the presets to make sabers, how do I copy my keyframes from the ILM Layer 1 to ILM Layer 2?

I mean, I know its possible just to do what you tutorial writes to do, and that is to 2 copies of a blade in one layer, but then why make 2 layer presets? Or am I missing something, in terms of copying keyframes, then pasting them on the 2nd layer?
Posted: Thu, 29th Jun 2006, 9:18am

Post 28 of 33

Redhawksrymmer

Force: 18442 | Joined: 19th Aug 2002 | Posts: 2620

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 3 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Rating: +1

When using the presets, first apply the Part 1 preset. Add your rotoscoping to that layer. When finished, add the Part 2 preset and copy the 4-point shape (from the Part 1 preset) and paste it onto the Part 2 preset.
Posted: Tue, 10th Apr 2007, 8:27pm

Post 29 of 33

The Editing Room

Force: 593 | Joined: 8th Mar 2007 | Posts: 83

EffectsLab Pro User Windows User

Gold Member

ep 1 sabers are better

sometimes people can go to far in CGI stuff to make it look too real!

Great Tut
Posted: Tue, 10th Apr 2007, 9:18pm

Post 30 of 33

pixelboy

Force: 3000 | Joined: 13th Feb 2005 | Posts: 439

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

I think ESB had the best sabers. The new ones are too dark and condensed, and don't have enough "flicker" for me. ESB's generally looked really powerful and "alive" so to speak.
Posted: Wed, 11th Apr 2007, 12:26am

Post 31 of 33

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

pixelboy wrote:

I think ESB had 21the best sabers. The new ones are too dark and condensed, and don't have e12nough "flicker" for me. ESB's generally looked really powerful and "alive" so to speak.
Yeah, the flicker is what makes them look great to me. They seem more organic, and more like they're actually being filmed, rather than CG.

12212012
Posted: Thu, 7th Jun 2007, 7:17am

Post 32 of 33

The Editing Room

Force: 593 | Joined: 8th Mar 2007 | Posts: 83

EffectsLab Pro User Windows User

Gold Member

yeah the poointy tips annoyed me too!
Posted: Wed, 26th Mar 2008, 11:33pm

Post 33 of 33

Z films

Force: 316 | Joined: 27th Jan 2008 | Posts: 59

EffectsLab Pro User Windows User

Gold Member

thanks man, i really needed this for my lightsaber film