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

How do I create lightsabre blades on still images?

Posted: Tue, 13th May 2008, 5:38pm

Post 1 of 10

DDB

Force: 0 | Joined: 13th May 2008 | Posts: 4

MacOS User

Member

I have 3 different JPEGS taken with a digital camera that are 2048 pixels wide by 3072 pixels tall. I need to add photorealistic lightsabre blades to the images. In one of the images 2 lightsabres are in contact with each other, so I need to add the pale yellow "flash" to that part of that image too.

I've downloaded & installed the VisionLab Studio demo, but I see that the maximum allowed resolution is 1920 x 1080. Clearly all the FXhome products are meant for film/video and not still images.

Is there any way I can use my VisionLab Studio demo to work on my images without reducing their resolution, or do I, as I suspect, need to create the effects in Photoshop using some sort of plug-in? If so, what plug-in should I use, and where can I get it? Many thanks.
Posted: Tue, 13th May 2008, 6:40pm

Post 2 of 10

FXhomer46784

Force: 493 | Joined: 24th Dec 2007 | Posts: 329

EffectsLab Pro User Windows User

Gold Member

You could export just the layer(s) with the lightsaber and flash(es) (with the alpha channel) and then composite it over the original still image in another program I suppose. But that's all I can think of right now.
Posted: Tue, 13th May 2008, 7:23pm

Post 3 of 10

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

SuperUser

Dude, for three images, you can create the effects in Photoshop using a paintbrush. It'll take about 5 minutes.

Draw a line using a brush with 0 hardness along your blade, using a brush diameter as wide as the glow you want. Then use a smaller diameter white brush to paint in the core.
Posted: Sun, 18th May 2008, 3:31pm

Post 4 of 10

DDB

Force: 0 | Joined: 13th May 2008 | Posts: 4

MacOS User

Member

Thanks for the replies.

Axeman - I've never used any FXhome products before, but I've been using Photoshop for 14 years (since version 2.5 - I'm a graphic designer) and therefore I instinctively know that creating a photorealistic effect, as good as the ones that appear in the official images (e.g. see http://www.cswu.cz/obiwan/obi/ep3poz/06.jpg) requires a lot more time, knowledge & effort than a couple of lines drawn with a brush. I gave your suggestion a try, and persevered for a few minutes, adjusting blending modes, opacities, etc, and sure enough, the end result was, well... garbage. What I'm after are end results that look totally realistic. Thanks for your input though - it's the thought that counts I suppose!

FXhomer46784 - your idea seems more likely to work - applying the effects to the parts of the images in question (even though the whole of each image is too big to sit within the VisionLab Studio canvas), exporting the effects with an alpha channel, and then compositing them with the original images in Photoshop. My problem here is that I haven't a clue how to use VisionLab Studio! Is there any sort of tutorial I can access that will guide me through the steps involved in creating sabre blades & accompanying "flash" effects?

Many thanks.
Posted: Mon, 19th May 2008, 8:23pm

Post 5 of 10

jawajohnny

Force: 1965 | Joined: 14th Dec 2007 | Posts: 829

VisionLab User VideoWrap User MuzzlePlug User Windows User

Gold Member

DDB wrote:

My problem here is that I haven't a clue how to use VisionLab Studio! Is there any sort of tutorial I can access that will guide me through the steps involved in creating sabre blades & accompanying "flash" effects?
I believe this is what you are looking for:

http://fxhome.com/support/video-tutorials/view/4/neon-light
Posted: Mon, 19th May 2008, 9:20pm

Post 6 of 10

Mandalorian

Force: 1905 | Joined: 24th Feb 2006 | Posts: 266

VisionLab User VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

DDB wrote:

Axeman - I've never used any FXhome products before, but I've been using Photoshop for 14 years (since version 2.5 - I'm a graphic designer) and therefore I instinctively know that creating a photorealistic effect, as good as the ones that appear in the official images (e.g. see http://www.cswu.cz/obiwan/obi/ep3poz/06.jpg) requires a lot more time, knowledge & effort than a couple of lines drawn with a brush. I gave your suggestion a try, and persevered for a few minutes, adjusting blending modes, opacities, etc, and sure enough, the end result was, well... garbage. What I'm after are end results that look totally realistic. Thanks for your input though - it's the thought that counts I suppose!
Actually, to do that in Photoshop, all you need to do is either make a saber core with the paint brush or bezier curves (on a new layer obviously) and adjust the glow settings in the blending options (much like fxhomes neon glow attributes). You can also duplicate the layer several times, blur them each a different amount, getting more and more blurred progressively, color them, screen them on top of eachother, and if you so desire, merge them all together. It's pretty simple once you understand the steps involved.

That would actually be better than using the demo of visionlab, as the demo will put a big 'X' through the frame. The full version doesn't do this though.
Posted: Tue, 20th May 2008, 4:39am

Post 7 of 10

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

SuperUser

I gave a very simplified set of instructions for Photoshop, not knowing how familiar you were with it. And yes, to get really good results there is a bit more involved, but Photoshop is certainly capable of creating very fine looking lightsabers.

You might find the techniques used in this tutorial helpful. The tutorial is Ryan Weiber's, and uses After Effects, but transferring the principles involved to the tools in Photoshop to achieve the same effect is not too complex. The key is in getting the feathered edges right, and using the right colors.
Posted: Fri, 23rd May 2008, 9:31pm

Post 8 of 10

DDB

Force: 0 | Joined: 13th May 2008 | Posts: 4

MacOS User

Member

Thanks to everyone that's responded.

jawajohnny - that tutorial was very useful - thanks. I can see that VisionLab Studio is not totally dissimilar to Adobe After Effects, which I used to be reasonably competant with many years ago (when I was involved in video work).

As I didn't know about the limitations of the VisionLab Studio demo (which Mandalorian pointed out) I thought that it might be the product to use, but seeing as it will "put a big 'X' through the frame" I'll obviously want to go down the Photoshop route.

Mandalorian - thanks for pointing out that the VisionLab Studio demo will put a big 'X' through the frame. Your description of the Photoshop method made a lot of sense, especially once I'd seen Ryan Weiber's After Effects lightsabre tutorial. Thanks to Axeman for the link to this.

Once I'd watched this After Effects tutorial, I searched on YouTube for Photoshop lightsaber tutorials, and after finding (& watching) very very many, I found the Photoshop version of Ryan Weiber's tutorial - it's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gUZt1u9QUw

The 3 photos that I need to add effects to were taken at a Star Wars themed wedding in the summer of 2001 (where I played an Episode 1 era Obi-Wan Kenobi). I want to add the effects so that when I print them out & display them at home, people will go "Wow"!

Given that it's been 7 years(!) since the event, it's hardly a priority to sort these photos out, but when I do get round to it, what would people recommend I use for the colour values to give an accurate blue lightsaber blade, as per the prequel movies? The green & red sabres presumably just require RGB values of 0/255/0 & 255/0/0 respectively, or would that give too harsh results?

In one of the 3 photos, Qui-Gon Jinn's sabre is in contact with Darth Maul's. Try as I might, I can't seem to find anything on YouTube (or elsewhere) that would show me how to create the "flash/clash" pale yellow mini-explosion effect in Photoshop that occurs when 2 sabers come into contact, as per http://www.ferrisshaheen.com/duel11.jpg

Does anyone know of a tutorial for this effect? Or can anyone give me a detailed description of how to achieve this?

Many thanks once again.
Posted: Sat, 24th May 2008, 12:04am

Post 9 of 10

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

SuperUser

You may be able to get a fairly close color for the blue just by sampling from the Obi-wan image you linked to. Just sample right next to the core, where the color is most solid. Alternately, this tutorial, again by ryan weiber, has some suggestions right at the end for getting the proper colors, using the Color Balance controls in Photoshop. Alternately, you could look at the presets in the demo of VisionLab, and if you find one the color of which you like, you can look at the actual RGB values used and replicate that color in Photoshop.

As far as the clash, Ryan Weiber also has a pre-made clash hosted on his site among his other tutorials, which include instructions for using said clash. You can download it for free, but its only in .mov format, so you'll need some way to pull a still frame out of it for Photoshop use. Or, once you look at it, you may be able to recreate it in Photoshop directly.

You could likely also create a clash by using the same basic process as the lightsabers, but colored yellow and with a larger, more randomly shaped core.
Posted: Sat, 24th May 2008, 12:39am

Post 10 of 10

DDB

Force: 0 | Joined: 13th May 2008 | Posts: 4

MacOS User

Member

Axeman - many thanks for the pointers. Ryan's suggestions for using the colour balance controls is probably the way I'll go.

For the saber-contact flash, I've downloaded the .mov file provided on Ryan's site. I can extract a frame from it and composite that into Photoshop, or I may have a go at creating my own one, as you suggested.

I'm sure that between the advice everyone's posted in this thread, and the excellent resource that is Ryan Weiber's site, I'll manage to get the end results that I'm hoping for.

From what little I've glanced at on Ryan's site - he seems to be "the man" when it comes to this sort of stuff. He's worked on several LucasArts games, hung out with Nick Gillard and Hayden Christensen, and he's still a baby at the tender age of 24!

As Master Yoda might say, "Filled with awe and envy I am"!

As & when I get round to completing work on my 3 photos, I'll post links to the end results here.