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Roch, NY Photoshop lightsaber question

Discussion in 'NorthEast Regional Discussion' started by Robotech, May 28, 2002.

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  1. Robotech

    Robotech Jedi Youngling star 1

    Mar 25, 2002
    What is the easiest way to create a lightsaber effect using Photoshop? I guess could also be used for laser bolts as well.
  2. TheEmperorsHand

    TheEmperorsHand Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 27, 2000
    I think it was Paul who did great saber effects on a picture of Randy that's on the website, so he's probably a good person to ask about it. I personally don't know how to do good effects on them :)
  3. Mara-Jade-Skywalker

    Mara-Jade-Skywalker Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 21, 2000
    I use a paintbrush thingy with it set to neon... I'm not sure if I have photoshop, though...(I'm at school so I can't check...). And yes, you should ask Paul because he's good at that type of thing. :D
  4. Paul_B

    Paul_B Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 27, 2001
    Try this PS action set...
  5. Qui-GonJohn

    Qui-GonJohn Jedi Youngling star 1

    May 23, 2001
    Depends on what you want to do?

    The actions sets that PB has linked above work good on stills and might work good on film projects also - I havn't tried it yet.

    What Todd Washburn and I did for our films and stills was this:

    We posed or shot film with sticks in our hands.
    We actually went so far as to "craft" our own lightsabers out of pipes and wood and other odds and ends we found at chase pitkin - we made them with detachable saber blades that were made out of wood or fiberglass. We found the thin fiberglass rods to be rougher on the hands (almost broke Todd's finger once) and harder to see in the pictures and film.
    The wood rods were made out of broom handles which held up pretty well, and when painted bright neon orange or green they were very easy to see in the pictures and on film.

    Then for pictures we used them as is and opened them in photoshop. For film we captured the film on a PC and then broke it down frame by frame and saved all the indivudual frames as sepparate bitmaps for editing in photoshop.

    We then created a macro in photoshop for adding the saber effects to each image in a given folder. - this saved us some time in actually adding the effact to each idividual frame on the films.

    The effects we used to "create" the same glow was as follows:
    We traced the outilne of the neon orange or neon green "blade" and then saved the outline as a separate layer, so we could go back to it without retracing it.
    Then we used the feather technique and chose out desires color (say blue if we wanted a blue saber) and filled it in.
    Then deselected it and then went back to our origonal trace and shrunk it by 1 or 2 pixels and feathered it again. Then we filled it in with yellow, then we did the whole thing again and shrunk it another 1 or 2 pixels and featherd it and filled it in with white - then redid it once more, but again in the color we chose first (blue in this case).

    This layering effect was the only way we found to get the images "exactly" like the movies. we actually took clips from the films and broke it apart frame by frame and checked the light saber images from all four films (at the time there were only 4) and compared our sabers to theirs and it came out pretty close to the "new" sabers doing this technique - we found that the added step of using yellow made it look very much more like the films than not using the yellow - and the white center makes it a bit more "realistic" also. The feathering also should only be about 1 or 2 pixels if you want to match the "new" film sabers - the old films seemed to have more "feather" to them - we liked the "less is better" approach.
    The older films seem to have a more simpler look to them, with only one layer of color and depth, but the new films seem to have muit-layers adding more depth to them. Be sure to put your chosen color on first and last though, and maybe even make it slightly opaque, that way people won't redily see the white or yellow layers in there - when it blends all together - all these layers make it look real nice.

    IF you don't want to go through as much trouble as Todd and I went through you can use the files PB has linked above, but we still think doing it by "hand" makes it a bit more "real" looking. - And Todd HAD to have them "exact".

    hope this helps ..
  6. Qui-GonJohn

    Qui-GonJohn Jedi Youngling star 1

    May 23, 2001
    More on this subject-]

    follow the above link and you should find a sample film clip of one of the saber effects shots that todd and I were testing out.

    this is what sabers look like when you follow the techniques I described above with all the layering effects.

    we think it's pretty close to the "real" thing.


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