Space Battle Tests_Particles and Lasers and Compositing

So, here’s something I’ve been working on and trying to get set up. I’ve had a good degree of success getting the technical aspects working, the lasers, getting them to die when hitting a target and “explode” once they do. But I’ve run into a problem with the actual rendering aspects. When I was using the laser bolt as just the “Line” particle draw mode, it would go in the compositor and out the other side with a nice glow effect. Furthermore, when composited with the spacecraft, it would continue to look great as in this video…

On a side note, the 3d viewport version of the same video is available here…

Now, the Line draw mode for particles is all well and good, but they dont look fat enough for me and their sizing over various distances remains constant. So, i made a laser bolt object to replace the line particles, and thats when everything went down the tubes.

The first render shows the laser render layer after the same compositing I used as the line particles (besides Vector Blur, which didnt work for particles). The second render shows the composite of the ships and lasers, which are mixed together with a Z combine node. It doesnt look very nice does it?

So if anyone has any ideas or solutions that worked for similar problems, please share.


I made some cool lasers in blender using unconnected vertices then using shape keys i just started out with the line of closesly spaced vertices scaled down to the starting position then shaped keyed them scaling up along a single axis so they stretched out in a line . Kinda hard to explain, but it works great.

Yeah, its kinda difficult to get what you’re saying, if you could post a blend file of your technique, that’d be great.

Needs a lil tweeking but you’ll get the basic idea. Oh yeah normally if you want to make a color brighter you just duplicate the whole line of vertices and leave them right in their original place I just spread the red ones apart for your benefit. The white one should be slightly in front of the others though (might need to duplicate that one right away it fades to much).

Here it is

Oh, yeah, I’ve seen this done before for lightsabers. You can actually get the same effect with just two vertices, just set the material to wire and shadeless and then composite it a little. It doesn’t really take much more work, but draws back to my original problem: Compositing the lasers over an un-composited image without any artifacts-wait!..I have an idea…

Woot! Got the lasers to work with some fancy comp work. Theres been a lot of work done, I’ve gotten blur effects applied to everything,and have managed to piece all the different subjects together.

There’s a preview of what this’ll look like below. Don’t expect too much improvement on the ships, I still can’t even get basic textures to look good or paint in any program.

Theres still some stuff that needs to be done, like animating the other three fighters, making the movement and banking more natural (which just gave me another good idea…on how to do that…), and also apply a shaky camera effect as well as sounds. Yes, I do plan to add sound.


Sorry for double image post. My bad. Anyway, I’ve been workin some more, and just wanted to but this image up, which actually happened because one of the off screen fighters was pointed the wrong way. Oops. Thankfully, no one was hit, but it did make me realize that this would be cooler if the frigate shot back at the fighters…what color should the big ships lasers be?


Very nice work. But i have a question, where do you get your star space images as i have tried and failed to find one of decent quality for a project of mine

In the layer where you are rendering the lasers check All Z. then composite the lasers on top of the basic image.

This will make the renderer take non-visible layers into account when rendering the occlusion values.

@ kidramez: The stars I actually made myself using three spheres. The first sphere is for the smaller stars, and I added one with 32x32 dimensions, then subdivide multifractal with 2 or 3 cuts and a random factor of 40 to 70. Then scale the sphere up so that it surrounds the entire scene. THe slightly bigger stars are don’t the small way, but starting with a sphere with 10x10 so that there are fewer. Both spheres have halo materials, and I find this method to work well as it works better for blurring the stars with vector blur. The purple cloud you can see in the upper right hand corner is a big ring that also has gone through fractal subdivision and has a purple halo material with a clouds texture.

@Manti: I have come up with a way to fix the lasers, as seen above, but it was pretty complicated. What I did was make separate render layers for the fighters, lasers, and frigate, then put the fighter’s image over the lasers with an Alplha over node, then put the outcome of that image over the frigate layer. So I used three layers instead of two, but I’ll try that All Z option, sounds like it might simplify things.

Ran into a problem. Surprise. Anyway, you can obviously see whats going on in the image below. The laser itself is actually behind the ship, which it is in 3D space, the location of the laser bolt is correct. But the blur is posing a problem. The laser image and ship image are combined with a ZCombine, which makes sense, as some laser bolts go in front of the ship and some go behind. Alpha over can’t achieve this effect. I tried using Full Samples, but that didn’t work either. I also have the “All Z” option set in the render layer for the lasers, but that doesn’t seem to help.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Forgot image.


If the laser is composed of particals that could present a problem.

Here is an example of a working node setup. You must have all z checked in the laser render layer for this to work and the laser must not be a halo material.

the result

The laser is an object, a simple laser bolt with eight faces so one end is slightly bigger than the other. This looks cooler in my opinion and also gives the bolt a sense of speed even without vector blur (which I use anyway)

And thanks! I can’t test out the node setup right now, but I’ll get on it as soon as I can. Hopefully it’ll work, as the lasers aren’t particles with halo materials. The explosions are, but those are placeholders. I’m going to add the real explosions by hand.