The Lightsaber Effects Thread

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by krnbanguboi, Oct 23, 2005.

Moderators: AdamBertocci
  1. Vidina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2006
    star 4

    To be fair, they only flicker in the OT.

    Also, I wrote a huge rundown on the flicker/non-flicker issue a while back.
    The short version(which could be canon too, really) is;
    Saber crystals decay. When fresh, they produce a stable saber, but over time, they begin to flicker.

    Case in point: Anakin's saber in ROTS is pure blue, and doesn't flicker. In ANH, when Luke receives it, its color has faded, and it's flickering.

    Kinda makes sense.
  2. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    RETCON.
    That's quite enough of that, mister. We all know why they flicker in the OT vs PT.
  3. Kaat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2004
    star 4
    No offense, but this is absolutely wrong.

    Watch this video in HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvnwLLXHabg
    At Obi-Wan's close-up at around 00:20, you can cleary see the flicker. It's much more subtle due to the technical superior effects, but it's definitely there. As well as in RotS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdBOlED1zoA (01:38), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xP3fI7yn5s (02:36) and in TPM, of course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4gcqi2ynpg (01:06).

    It's indeed very subtle in the PT obviously and they forgot to add it in some shots, but most of the times it's there.
  4. BruceM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2006
    star 4
    Why you make us watch PT sabers, Kaat?!?! I started to forget how horrible they were till I saw that clip. My take is that flicker make's the saber look more dangerous, especially while still or relatively still, so I always like to make my sabers flicker. I think though the flicker they got in the OT was due to how they rotoscoped. I get a similar flicker effect when roto'ing in Photoshop (don't do it anymore), which is similar to how they did it back in the day.
  5. Vidina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2006
    star 4
    Nerd. I NEVER noticed this. And I thought I had a critical eye :p
  6. Kaat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2004
    star 4
    Pwned you were, I'd say. :-B

    The reason why I am so enthusiastic about flickering sabers is that I think that a flickering blade fits the kinda irregular humming sound of a lightsaber much better than a "still" one. Hum and flicker together make it look and sound like as if the saber is virtually pulsing with energy.
  7. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    When Anakin pulls his 'saber on Palpatine (You're the Sith Lord! *shock*), I recall thinking "I wonder if they even have a blade in this shot". I think it's Anakin's over the shoulder. The saber is just still and lifeless. Gross.
  8. Vidina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2006
    star 4
    I guess the main point is that the PT tried to keep the sabers without flicker. Personally, I didn't even notice there was any, and as Vapes is pointing out, they're mainly lifeless.
  9. Ryan_W VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2001
    star 4
    Yep, you can tell pretty plainly that there was never a blade in the saber in that scene. The wide shot where he points it up, it clearly has no blade mass there, and in some shots where it's just the top of the blade, it's basically just tracked to Anakin's shoulder movement with very little animation.

    Additionally, sabers should flicker.
  10. BruceM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2006
    star 4
    Love that; short, sweet, and to the point.

    Regarding Flicker, I have a question. When using AE, I have almost no problem with flicker. I am currently trying to teach myself Nuke. I am aware of expressions in Nuke, but I don't know that much of the Nuke expression language. When I normally do flicker effect in AE, I use the wiggler on a few blur layers, or use the wiggler on the opacity of a white solid set to color dodge. I would imagine that the expression would be something like (for example, on a blur value of 20).

    20+(random number between -5 and 5, that changes each frame). I have run into the Random expression before, but it only generates a single value, not a constantly changing value based on time.

    Thanks,
    BruceM
  11. Kaat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2004
    star 4
    Really? Using the random generator worked very well for me, it constantly changed the value.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGza5BUHhIE

    I used it in this video to constantly change the color of the particles, and as you can see, it worked fine.

    For the flicker, I'd simply add a Levels (Individual Controls) effect to it and add an expression to the RGB > Input White value, something like


    1 - random(0.3)


    Because for this value, 1 will equal 100%, meaning 255. So you basically tell the script to give the Input White a random value between 255 and ~255 - (255/3). And it changes the value every frame for me. So this basically works, maybe you could tweak it a bit more to your liking, depending on the shot (you may like to increase the range of the random number).
  12. Ryan_W VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2001
    star 4
    Quick survey.

    A couple years ago I put out a newer AE Saber tutorial for a method using adjustment layers. Before that, it was simply blurring your pre-comped core roto.

    I'm curious who uses which? Or who uses some totally different method?
  13. drewjmore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2007
    star 4
    I use a hybrid method while constantly intoning, "..., but thrice..."
  14. BruceM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2006
    star 4
    I do my sabers in Nuke now, so, uh, neither? Well, when I did it in AE, I do a method sorta based off your combined tutorials. I have 2 compositions per saber, one that is the core, and a seperate comp for the glow, which is 3-4 blurs layers, and an adjustment layer at the top for color correction. I did love your feather tutorial, as it taught me quite a few compositing fundamentals back in the day (comps, masks, blending mode, ect).
  15. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    I use adjustment layers for serious projects, tho I've got my settings slightly tweaked from yours. Traditional method in photoshop or if I'm doing a quick bit and feeling lazy. Even then I've got an extra large layer tacked on for a little bit more glow.

    Then there's the daytime saber method...
  16. frodo_1987 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2010
    I generally use the adjustment layer method. I guess I just prefer that to having multiple instances of the core precomp.
  17. Joel_K Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2007
    star 2
    On the subject of flickering: I vaguely remember someone mentioning something similar but, has anyone ever thought of using the Convert Audio to Keyframes thingy in AE to match your saber hum with your flicker? It may be overkill, but it could be intresting to try. I, unfortunately, haven't had the time to.
  18. drewjmore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2007
    star 4
    I played with that once, but since the hum is mostly looped the flicker looked pretty loopy. You'd solve that by wiggling some aspect of the humming audio, but you'd be right back to writing expressions to control the flickering...
  19. Funk-E Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2003
    star 6
    Trapcode's SoundKeys is designed for this very type of thing, I'd imagine.
  20. krnbanguboi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2005
    star 4
    Still alive and well I see. :)
  21. jsullivan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2010
    I tryed ur method 2 years ago ryan, the glow becomes to bright with the adjustment layers!, and renders slowwww.... but! someone made one where u could just duplicate ur solids and put a fast blur on it blur is ok, but if ur a bright guy go with the other, if there is another damn i've never heard it yet!
  22. NateCaauwe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 4
    Well you have to remember that with the adjustment layer method, it's blurring every layer below it, including the core and every previous blur before it. So you have to adjust the opacity of the layers. The top two adjustment layers in the RvB2/Duel of the Dorks sabers are each set to a mere 10%. Only one of the adjustment layers is even at 100%, which is the initial blur.

    Also, what happened to the past three weeks of posts in this thread?
  23. Kaat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2004
    star 4
    If you set the adjustment layers' modes to Screen or Add, you won't have the core itself blurred anyway, or am I misunderstanding you?
  24. NateCaauwe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 4
    Setting the adjustment layers to screen or add allows the core and previously lesser-blurred layers to show through. You're reblurring it and screening it on top of itself. That's why the lowest adjustment layer is set to normal, so that you can control the softness of the core without the pixel-perfect original coming through.
  25. NateCaauwe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 4
    Heh. I totally thought I was in the LCC thread for some reason 8-}
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