ILM Lightsabers - 'The Phantom Menace' Version

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by Bushy162, Oct 21, 2011.

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  1. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-21at212751.png]

    Here's the original (ILM) effect.
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-21at212647.png]

    Here's mine, applied to the previous frame, before ignition. (top)
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-21at214943.png]

    Method is not sound, but result is similar to original.


    Basically, I've used a combo of colour balance applied to blurred white solids, AND actual blue solids. Darken and Darker Colour were used for the orangey bit in the core, and I also got the blue just outside the core taken away using Darken again.

    Blur sequence was a bit flakey, but I'll get to that later.
  2. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    That's not exactly the best sample image to show what you're doing. Based on this however, I'd say your effect is a tad blurry in the core. Part of the problem, IIRC, is the TPM DVD compression, all the colors are a little wonky. The saber cores aren't even pure white for a good number of scenes. Aside from consistency of glow ratios from shot to shot, overall I'd say TPM's sabers are the best of the prequels, and debatable against TESB as the best of the saga.

    Also, we have an entire Lightsaber Effects Thread dedicated to these sorts of posts.
  3. Teague Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2006
    star 4
    Pretty good stuff, man!
  4. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    Yes, I mean I think this example clearly demonstrates the importance of getting a high quality image.

    Now this is really interesting - I had been under the false belief that they'd deliberately made the core slightly orangey on this shot. NO! It may have been very slightly off white, but the colours that we see even follow the shape of the core, in 'contour' fashion. Now it makes sense: compression. I must admit, I think it looks better like this - makes the lightsabers fit in with the background better.

    I totally agree with you that TPM has by far the best lightsaber effects in the prequels. They barely look digital, and I tell you, that's a HUGE achievement. They properly fit in with scenes and that ins't easy when adding digital effects to a NON-digital environment. You'd think they'd out of place, (like most special effect these days), but they WORK.
  5. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-24at145510.png]


    The idea with this version is for the blur ratio to be 1:4:8:32 . In other words "quadruple, double, quadruple".
    That's for the red/blue/green........ solid layer.

    For the white, you want 1:3:9, and it's best to start on a number that's higher than the colour sequence, as there are only 3 blurs.

    Never, EVER use adjustment layers for this method. Simply duplicate.
  6. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-24at161448.png]

    This is using a huge variation on that technique.

    I never use Screen. That looks terrible for lightsabers. Lighten on top of Color Dodge is a good combo (for colours that is).

    In this one, I've used ORANGE instead of white for the core: it's the opposite colour to BLUE.
  7. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    To create a basic ROTS Lightsaber

    The core should be created through "Color Dodge", set to the GREEN solid, and it should be on top of some blurry white, set to "Add".

    SUMMARY: "Color Dodge" on top of "Add".


    EXPLANATION:

    "Color Dodge" makes things underneath brighter - BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE ALREADY BRIGHT, which is why you need a bit of white.


    REASONING:

    To create realism, you need the core's size and brightness to be dependent upon the amount of GREEN :)
  8. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    I'm really not sure where you're going with this. If this is a look that you like, just disregard my post entirely. It's all up to taste I guess.

    I don't really understand your "More Realistic" method. It looks like a blurry glow stick pasted on the frame in my opinion--nothing like a lightsaber. Lightsabers are just that, light. The cores are white because they are basically "over-exposed". Try filming a fluorescent light. When the bulb is over exposed-likely properly exposed relatively to the scene- it is pure white, usually with a slight glow... A bit how the lightsaber effect works.
    This is complemented by using ADD and SCREEN. Those methods of layering are ideal modes to mimic light.
    Again, this comes with experience with the software and acquiring an eye for the way things blend.
    As for Lighten...Well, I really don't recommend it for much at all.

    In your example it basically looks like you're missing the core completely. I'm not sure what's going on there. Maybe your taste for the effect? Maybe if you were going for an older version Return of the Jedi-style, but even they had a bright core in comparison to the glow.

    Well, good luck, keep learning AE. Have fun experimenting.

    EDIT: And as for that orange core you're troubled with, I'm sure the answer is as simple as ILM throwing a general color correction layer over the entire effect.



  9. Teague Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2006
    star 4
    I dunno, I think he's onto something. I like the way his colors are working. I'd just like to see the core a hair less fuzzy and a hair more opaque.
  10. Kaat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2004
    star 4
    It depends on the shot and the exposure of the footage. If a lightsource in your image is only bright enough, it will be white, since that's the brightest color on a standard computer monitor.

    [image=http://en.fukesi.com/img/product_pic/51095948_Neon_Signs__Casino_.jpg]

    So... I've experimented with lightsabers with cores that are not pure white, but a slight bit transparent, which made it a bit darker on the inside and making the glow around it appear brighter due to the contrast. That was some extremely interesting stuff, but I think your method is overdoing it a little. I'm basically saying that your concept is interesting, but there's nothing like a 'perfect' saber method. Every shot needs its own method, which is to me an essential part of compositing.

    Also, isn't the opposite color of blue actually yellow? Blue is 240, yellow is 60, which is 180° difference, so, yeah... I think it is.
  11. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Ooohhh. It sounds like Bushy is simply trying to create a 'daysaber' like we were back in the Lightsaber Effects Thread.
    It's basically the same theory. At night, sabers would be glowy and overexposed, but in the daytime they'd be competing with sunlight so would look more like a given lightbulb out in the sun.

    I do think his are a little too blurred out, but the concept with the core is the same. Also, we muted the aura of the saber quite a bit.
    [image=http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5505/vtrototutorial06.jpg] [image=http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/3417/vaportrailrotota3.jpg] [image=http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/452/vaportrailroto3.jpg]
    These are the images jedi573 originally posted with his Daysaber tutorial. (Scroll down until you see the left image of the 3 guys to find the tut.)
  12. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    Thanks for your reply ElectroFilm. I always enjoy constructive criticism ha :p and I won't take offence if you don't like some of my ideas or effects :p Like you said, it's all down to preference :)

    You said some pretty helpful things though - and a lot of it I'm starting to agree with.

    A point I'd like raise is this: you described the core on my 'More Realistic Method' as almost non-existant; You need film quality footage if you are to put a pure white rectangle on top and for it not to look completely out of place. Since the image I was using was relatively low quality, I thought it wise to lower the "tidiness" of my core to make it blend in better; The image isn't tidy/sharpe - it's low quality, so I need to keep consistent with this.
  13. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    The footage quality argument makes complete sense. The core wouldn't have nearly the defined edge, but it should still be existent if it's a tight shot.
  14. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    Yes, agreed. The only thing is my cores are existent; those aren't just rods, because no rods weren't used in this shot - those are digitally made. The question is are they bright enough, and my guess is you'd say 'no'?
  15. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    This is where your thought process confuses me. Either way, we both know lightsabers aren't real so in every shot they are digitally made. There is a core in every shot because that is what the effect calls for. Sometimes there are limitations when filming and a physical "stick" could not be inserted into the "beauty prop". That's usually only when the actor is igniting the lightsabers so that they're not dragging a 3 ft. long stick from their belt. In ROTS the carbon-fiber blades were only 1/2 the length, because of close-quarter combat and Nick Gillard probably didn't want any of his kids poking their eyes out. In both of these cases the ILM roto-artist would make an educated guess as to where to place the cores and, as you can see from the films, their guesses weren't always accurate. :p

    Now, ILM was able to motion blur the entire effect, as Ricky said in reply to your other post. I believe this the effect you're actually trying to mimic.

  16. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    That's where I'm confused too, Bushy. Are you trying to make 'daytime sabers', or sabers that accurately motion blur when they're being swung quickly?


    ...hey!
    You better be talkin' about the Episode I images. [face_not_talking]
  17. Teague Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2006
    star 4
    I'm not confused.




    ...




    /helpful
  18. Boter Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 4
    Are we talking about sabers as in Essence of the Force, where they fan out and aren't white at the core? I enjoyed those... just watched it again last night, enjoyable.
  19. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    Hmm. Well I don't really understand the distinction - cos surely you can have both. Anyway, what do you mean "accurately"; I'm not aiming to come up with a Plug-in algorithm to determine how much the saber fans out, cos I'm terrible at Maths (Math if you're American)

    What I'm trying to do is come up with a method for the effect that is widely regarded as more pleasing to eye and more realistic. The 'Daytime Saber' image that I've been using is a very good image for this, because it's a good quality image (still relatively low quality when compared to LucasFilm's footage [face_laugh]). Plus, lots of people have attempted the effect on it, so I can properly compare my effect with other peoples'.
  20. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    No, nothing to do with motion. Just the look of the saber when it's NOT moving. Where did all this 'motion' business erupt from?

    By the way, I never mentioned on this thread that I've come up with a new blur ratio: 1:4:8:32. Times by 4, then 2, and then by 4 again. Try it out, see what you think :)
  21. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    Motion or not, here's the best I've come up with imho. Realistically speaking.

    [image=http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/26522_1364095335306_1019299276_31111592_3845853_n.jpg]

    Not a completely sharp core, but a core none the less because it is the most important part of the effect in my people's eyes.
  22. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    My Version (using my variation on jedi573's fantastic method)
    [image=http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n637/Bushy162/Screenshot2011-10-30at011932.png]
  23. ElectroFilms Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2007
    star 3
    I would have to see it in motion before i could really make any decisions.
  24. Ricky_Calrissian Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2008
    star 3
    Your sabers looks like a saber should in MOTION. Exhibit A:
    [image=http://raelliott.com/uploads/tfu2_blur.jpg]

    From the TFU2 cinematic btw. That's how a lightsaber should look with motion blur going on, which also looks a lot like your method, that was all. This was a discussion on the lightsaber fx thread a while ago.
  25. Bushy162 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2011
    star 1
    Cheers Ricky, but I think there's a difference between my "motion blur" and the one in TFU2 cinematic: mine just fans out, whereas TFU2 one actually blurs/gets dimmer.

    If a camera were filming the light bulb, and you (with the use of a stick) waved the bulb from right to left, the camera would surely just film a consistently bright streak of light - as though it were seeing one very long bulb. The streak WOULD NOT be dimmer at one end. It would be the same brightness from the start of it to the end of it. AND, it would be the same brightness as the bulb in a still position.

    Bonfire Night is approaching. Take advantage of it, and buy some sparklers. Wave them around, and film what happens. I'll do the same. Spread the word.


    What are you thoughts?
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