Best Way to Make a "Laser Bolt" Effect?


I’m in the process of developing a Sci-Fi animation series, and the universe’s main weaponry is in the form of Plasma Guns.

I would like to know what the best way of going about this is. Would dense clouds of particles do the trick? I’ve tried those, and they work to some degree, but I don’t get a satisfactory explode-on-impact effect, I.E., they don’t spread outwards when they hit a collision object. They kinda smear, going up and down, usually. However, they work really well when I want them to deflect.

I also tried hard-modelled bolts, made those the render object in a particle system, and planned on making explosion systems later (lots of work!), but they didn’t behave properly when deflected.

The only things I haven’t tried are sprites or drawing them on top of the footage. Is there anything that I’ve missed, or do you have ways to optmize the methods I have tried? If you can help, I’d really appreciate it! :smiley:

I was told that the laser bolts’ effects from the new Star Wars movie would be made mostly in the compositor. If you’re just looking for a basic bolt like some in the older Star Wars movies, you could make a simple shape and then add an Emission shader (that is, if you’re in Cycles).

I’m working with Blender Internal at the moment, just so the render times will be faster.

How would I do them in the compositor exactly?