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Found this just now going through some really old stuff. I originally posted this on July 7th, 2002, I'd probably do it quite a bit differently now in CS5, but someone might find it interesting, especially if they are on version 4.x or 5.x. Without further adeu: About a week ago (5/25/02), I started work on a Star Wars movie, I knew I'd have to do lightsabers and force power effects, but doing it properly and making it look good took a long time doing it the way I was doing it before I learned how to use masks. So you get the easy and better looking version. Have fun, if you have any more questions just post them in the forum. [caption id="attachment_809" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="How it should look when we are done"][/caption]
  • 1st step: Start After Effects (duh)
  • 2nd step: Make a new composition (control+n), select the resolution that your footage/image is
  • 3rd step: Add your image/footage (control+i)
Now your screen should look like this: [caption id="attachment_810" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Starting point for the Lightsaber Composition"][/caption]
  • 4th step: Add a solid (control+y), make it white and your composition size
  • 5th step: Now in the timeline with the solid 1 highlighted hit the little icon that looks like an eye (like in the screen cap)
[caption id="attachment_811" align="aligncenter" width="327" caption="Lightsaber Tutorial - Timeline after the 5th Step"][/caption]
  • 6th step: Hit G to bring up the pen mouse pointer, now put a point in each of the four vertices of your lightsaber
  • 7th step: Now if you have your solid shown by hitting the little place where the eye was, your to be lightsaber should be solid white
Now your screen should look like this: [caption id="attachment_814" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Lightsaber Composition #2"][/caption]
  • 8th step: Now make another solid (control+y), this time black, then in the timeline drag it so it's under the first solid with our lightsaber mask (like in the screen cap)
  • 9th step: then highlight your first solid (the lightsaber one), and hit control+d three times, your duplicating it
  • 10th step: Now click the little arrow in the timeline right next to "Solid 1" and bring out the effects (like in the screen cap on the lower right)
  • 11th step: Then make the feathering value equal to 10
  • 12th step: Repeat this step for each of the solids, by increasing each feathering value by 10, except Solid 2
Now your screen should look like this: [caption id="attachment_815" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Lightsaber Composition #3"][/caption] And your timeline should look like this: [caption id="attachment_816" align="aligncenter" width="561" caption="Lightsaber Composition Timeline #3"][/caption]
  • 13th step: Now make another composition (control+n) and then copy your first composition and then your footage from the bin to the timeline
  • You probably have a black screen with your white glowing saber huh? that's good
  • 14th step: Now with your solid selected in the timeline goto the menu, select layer->transfer mode->screen, now you should see your footage as well
  • 15th step: You probably have a black screen with your white glowing saber huh?
Now your screen should look like this: [caption id="attachment_820" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Lightsaber Composition #4"][/caption] Nobody has a white lightsaber right?
  • 16th step: To add color, highlight your solid and then on the menu goto effect->adjust->color balance
  • 17th step: Now mess with the settings to get the color you want
  • (Possibly) 18th Step: If you have more then 1 lightsaber, just repeat the steps
Now your screen should look like this: [caption id="attachment_821" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Lightsaber Composition #5"][/caption]