I just don't understand how to make Lightsaber effects in a video using Photoshop

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by Chrischie, Jul 14, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: AdamBertocci
  1. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Hi!
    I've read a lot of tutorials about bringing lightsabers to videos and still images. Building them in images with Photoshop is absolutely no problem, but I doubt that the ways some guys described in their tutorials really work! Well, I saw some video they made and it looks good!
    BUT: If you have to "paint" the lightsaber in every frame, how can you paint them with a certain distance, movement and so on?! I think that's impossible, because it's not 3d! But I'd be very happy if someone could explain, because my Fanfilm production would only fail because of this.

    Thanks!
  2. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Are you aware of Photoshop filmstrip files? They basically split' movies up into frame after frame after frame, and you rotoscope/paint your blade on each frame, then you convert your filmstrip file back to a movie, and the rest is there for all to see.

    If you can make a sabre look good for a single frame, then you have all the knowledge you need to do the same for moving images, providing you can create filmstrip files.
  3. Lunatic_Pandora1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2002
    star 1
    just make sure you paint it over wherever the lightsaber blade is, and distance will take care of itself.
  4. fenderrob Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    Lucasfilm paints it on every frame too, just the same. Well, they use better software, but it doesn't matter that "painting" it on "isn't 3d", just try it and you'll see that it looks fine.
  5. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Ok, I must say that I had no chance to try it myself because I have no camera yet. So I just imagined it in my mind.
    But: What if I hold the lightsaber in another direction? Difficult to explain... What if I hold the sword towards the camera for example? Or behind me? Actualls I paint the sabers with the line tool and this won't work then, will it? Because I cannot paint the surface of the saber itself, it is no 3D... Could someone explain?
    And sorry... I'm German and so my English is not perfect and I have also not very much experience in editing videos.
  6. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    You just paint the parts of the sabre you can actually see in that frame. If the sabre has moved behind you (and cannot be seen) you have nothing to paint on that frame, if it is moving fast, you may well be painting in a big triangle, rather than a thin line (so you will use the polygon tool rather than the line tool)
  7. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Yes! That's the point I don't understand. Let's say I put the saber in the air to get a good swing. Imagine how I hold the lightsaber. You see the upper site of it. and the saber goes away from you to the background. Is it still possible to paint that thing? What is this polygon tool and what will it make?
    Another question: Do I really have to paint every frame? Let's take 30 frames per second and if my filmstrip would be 2 minutes long, that makes: 3600 frames to edit?? 3600 lightsabers to paint?
  8. QUI_TIN_TARANTINO Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 3
    <<3600 frames to edit?? 3600 lightsabers to paint?>>

    that's if you only have one saber ,just think if you had a double bladed saber duel thats aprrox. 14400 blades to rotoscope
  9. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Oh dear! I just don't dare to imagine how much work that must be! ... is there no way to take always two points on the lightsaber, the beginning and the end, and tell the programm to create that effect between those points?
  10. crazylegs1138 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2002
    star 2
    Yes, but you would need a program like After Effects to do this. After Effects can interpolate where the blade should be between 2 set points. I think that After Effects is really worth the money, especially if you get a student discount.
  11. Various Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 2
    If only it could. Unfortunately nothing quite works that way yet. The lasso tool is a selector that allows you to draw around a shape and, well..select it. If you have Photoshop it's all in the manual that comes with it.

    If the saber is pointed right at the camera, you just draw the lasso shape around what part of the saber you do see. It's not 3D as such but creates the illusion of 3D just like a drawing.

    It sounds like a lot but you can really speed up the process with actions. Typically I set two; one to set up my screen frame, then I draw my shape and then another action to do all the blurs.

    Actually the whole process is really easy to do. You just have to know how to use Photoshop and even then you don't have to know everything there is about it. Look around on the Internet for some tutorials, there's hundreds of them, that will show you some of the things you can do with the program.

    DreamInfinity has a few good beginner tutorials. Another favorite of mine is Phong. Neither of them have anything to do with video editing but they'll show you how to use that program you've got.
  12. Carl_el_cee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 3
    Crazylegs... Interpolate you say? For what I know, you make sabers in AE with solid masks. What is this interpolation method you speak of?

    Also, does anyone know a quick way to rotoscope a saber that has the source visible, then it gets covered up by me, and further up is visible again ober my shoulder, for example.

    Carl
  13. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Thanks you so much!

    Ok, I will start working on it and if I have any problems I will ask here ok?
  14. TheJediWithNoName Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2001
    star 1
    Carl, you can use the solids method for AE sabres - but b/c AE uses a timeline, you can set keyframes for the solids at intervals and let the program interpolate (work out the inbetween positions) for you. It's not 100% accurate, but can be a good timesaver sometimes.

    Regarding masking, I usually draw the whole saber, then place a mask over where your body covers the blade tho I'm sure there are many other methods.
  15. Ben-Kushaan_Exile Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2000
    star 3
    Gather round for a story... one day Ben (me, I enjoy talking in third person) took it upon himself to rotoscope some footage.. over 1200 frames in fact.. all in one long sequence. Well.. Ben didn't know you had to flatten the image.. Ben deleted the 1200 frames he spent 8 straight hours rotoscoping. Twas a sad day for Ben when not 10 minutes after he deleted the file he found out what to do.. Twas a sad day indeed...

    Let this be a lesson to those newbies with Photoshop... FLATTEN THE IMAGE AND THEN SAVE!!!
  16. Chrischie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Well, that sounds good to me but...

    HOW do I flatten an image with photoshop by the way?
  17. dark42 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 3
    Just wondering, what exactly is your experiance with Photoshop?

    And by the way, to flatten the image, go to Layer / Flatten Image.
  18. nhaines Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2002
    star 1
    Layer Menu.

    Or select the highest frame and press Ctrl-E (Merge Down) a lot. ;)
  19. Ben-Kushaan_Exile Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2000
    star 3
    In the layers window there is an arrow.. cant remember which way it points but when u click it one of the options is Flatten Image...
  20. crazylegs1138 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2002
    star 2
    I didn't mean interpolate, I just woke up when I posted that. What I meant was After Effects will automaticly fill in the position of a mask between 2 set frames, making rotoscoping alot easier and faster. Sorry for any confusion. I'm not entirely sure if you would call that interpolation, since this term is usually used with graphs.
Moderators: AdamBertocci
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.