Lightsaber FX w/Bezier Curve?


Anyone heard of LSMaker?

Well, it uses two points that you put at each end of the blade and it calculates where the glow should be based on those two points.

Is there anyway I could do something similar with like, say, a bezier curve?

Could I take a bezier curve and animate it for each frame, and maybe using Nodes or something give it a lightsaber effect?

Would this work?



what’s wrong with using halos?

Oh, you mean like from JasonH’s tutorial?

Nothing, but getting the settings just right is EXTREMELY tedious, and I’d like to know if it can be done this way.

I haven’t tried it myself because I’m not sure what all is entailed, so I thought some more experienced Blender users could point me in the right direction.

For example I’m not sure if some kind of node setup will be required or not, or if I need to apply a halo or something.

Yes there is a way. Here’s how you’d do it. Create a bezier curve. Now TAB and create a plane and delete all but a single vertex. Click the the recenter button. TAB. Select your curve. Make the curve 3D. Set a lenght that will properly cover the length of the curve. Parent the curve to the vertex. In the curve settings, turn on dupliframe. In the Vertex material settings, turn on the halo settings and set them up them with a good glow of whatever color you want. Duplicate your curve and vertex. Parent the duplication to the original. In the halo settings for the duplicated vertex, change the color to white, Turn add on, and decrease the halo size. You should now have a lightsaber blade based on a curve.

I could set up a short tut on how to do this fully but it wouldn’t be up for at least a couple of days. Hope this helps! :wink:

LOL, everything’s hard in Blender eh?

Sure, that would be great if you could make a tut, I can wait. :slight_smile:

have you tried the lightsaber plugin for the VSE? see the wiki on it.

Here’s a quick tut on how to do it.
Add a bezier curve. PreesTAB. Delete the left hand segment. Select the remaining segment and press, SHIFT D.
Move the duplicated segment over to the left a good ways. Press [A] twice. Now press [F].
You should now have one striaght bezier Curve

TAB and press SPACE. Add>Mesh>Plane
TAB again and press [S]. Scale it down while holding CONTROL to merge vertecies. Press [W]>Remove Doubles
You now have a single Vertex.
Select the Vertex and while holding SHIFT, select the curve as well. the curve should be light purple with the vertex being dark purple. Press CONTROL [P]>Normal Parent.
Apply the following settings to the Vertex:
in the material settings:
and in the object settings:

Now select the Curve. In the Editing settings give it the following settings:

Now select the vertex. (It should have moved all the way over toward the right hand side of the curve) and press SHIFT [D]. Just click again to place the duplicate in the same spot as the original. SHIFT select the new verex and then the old vertex. Press CONTROL [P]. Make Parent. Select the new vertex object and give it the following settings in the material settings.

Hurray! we now have a fully animateable curve lightsaber!

Let me know if there is any confusion. This was my first tut ever!
By the By. I would have added full pics for each step but I don’t have alot of time now. sorry! If there’s confusion I can paste up an image of any confusing spots.

Looks good, but I’m having trouble when you say to add a plane and [s]+ctrl to merge vertices or something?

It’s not doing anything, what am I doing wrong? :confused:

He means that S for scale, CTRL so the scaling takes place in set increments so you can scale exactly to zero, then remove doubles and you have only one vert, just another way to delete all but one vert.

I have tried it, but I ran into problems when I was working with more than one blade in the scene, and when the blade went behind someone.

Mostly I just wasn’t sure how to make it work with more than one blade over many frames.

Ah, I see, I’ll try that.

And when he says “Delete the left hand segment”, does he mean, in the delete menu to choose “selected”?

Because it doesn’t work when I choose “segment” but it does work when I choose “selected”, so I assume he meant the later?

Also, my friend just reminded me of several key features of the lightsaber effect:

  1. Blade (got it)

  2. Flash(the ENTIRE screen turns white for a second or so)

  3. Clash (a flare-like effect occurs when the blades hit each other)

  4. Fanning: The blade fans out in an arc when swung

Anyone have a clue how to do any of those? :confused:



EDIT: Oh yeah, and would a node setup benefit me at all?

Alot of the stuff you’re wanting can be solved with the Compositing Nodes Editor. For almost any video FX in blender, you’ll want to use this.

The Flash and Clash would have to be done After the blades are made. It would need to be post-processed. This can be done in the Nodes editor.

(This is based on you knowing at least a little about nodes. If you don’t, go HERE.)
For the Flash, All you need to do is set up your video, add an RBG color (white is recommended) Add a Time node. None of these are connected. Add a mix node. In the time node, Set the whole curve flat at the very bottom. Set the number of frames in your time node to correspond with your video. Link the Time node into your mix’s Factor slot. Insert your video ond your RBG into the mix node. At any point you want the Flash to occur, mearly drag a single new point inside of the Time node up as far as possible. I’d give you pics and stuff but yet again, I don’t have blender on me. Sorry. I’ll try to put up a quick tut on this as well later.
When you have a blade go behind another object, You’ll need to use a matte in the compositing node editor. For more info on mattes, go HERE (Yes it was made by WuMan)
The clash thing is also pretty easy once you get a hang of the nodes editor. You can make a quick video in Blender of a single Halo Flashing once. You just add this over your video in the compositing nodes editor at the right points, and Voila! the clash.

Again the Fanning can be done in the nodes editor. It’s a little complex so I won’t go into it here. Fourtunatly I’m currently working on compiling a large collection of methods for doing lightsabers and creating one large Tut on all the different ways. I’ll go ahead and add these to my set of ways. I’ll send you and anyone else who wants it a PM once the tut is finished.

Awesome, and thanks a lot for your upcoming tuts!

Just so you know, I find a step by step(i.e., 1, 2,3 etc) sort of layout extremely helpful when going through tuts.

Thanks, I’ll be extremely interested in this when you’re done, as, like I’ve said, my friends and I are making a star wars fan film.

Do you have an ETA for the tuts at all?


I don’t know what an ETA a is but i’ll be using a script. The way they’ll be done is as follows.
The tuts will be split into 3 sections.

I. Introduction to the Compositing Nodes Editor.
II. Basic ideas behind fundamentals of lightsabers. (Props, Clash, Fanning, Set, ect.)
II Actually tutorializing on methods for lightsaber effects.

I’ll be doing two tuts.

1 will be a video tut

2 will be HTML with pics and step by step instructions.

Some people work well with video and others steps. Hopefully by doing both, There shouldn’t be any confusion.

ETA = Estimated Time of Arrival :slight_smile:

LOL! Gotcha!

My hope is to have it up within a week. It may be a little more or a little less but that would be my guess.
LOL. I’m a Poet and I didn’t know it. :wink:

I’ve got a full time job at the same time as trying to finish High School so i’m a little busy. Other wise I’d have it up today.

LOL, sorry I wasn’t clear, I guess I thought everyone knew that abbreviation :smiley:

Sounds great!

Life comes first, of course. This will be great for anyone making star wars fan films with Blender!

One other thing our film doesn’t have:

We don’t really have the budge to be making specialized handles.

Can I insert a CG handle over the wood handle(i.e., the part of the stick where our hands are :p)?

I don’t recommend trying to do CG over live video like that because you end up haveing to make the handle’s lighting match the scene’s lighting. On top of the you’ll have to camera match, etc…
You can make a cheapo handle for less than 2 bucks out of just plain PVC piping. I’ll give instructions on how to make the fancy kind and the cheap economy kind.

'Till then! :wink:

The lightsabers in the original star wars film were constructed primarily from plumbing parts availasble at any local hardware store.

Dunno about that; but Luke’s saber was crafted from a graflex flash tube.