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The Movie

Part A: Animating Lightsaber ignition

  • Note: All tutorials will be using Windows Digital AVI video at 720x480 resolution and 29.97 fps. All measurements are relative to that scale.

    [ Place Solids ]

    Select: LAYER -> New Solid... (Ctrl + Y)

    This will be the white layer of lightsaber. The measurements should be at least 400 pixels wide x 200 pixels high. If you need to make the saber longer, then change the width from 400 to 600 or so.

    Edit the Solid

    Double click Solid 1 in the COMPOSITION window. This will bring up the SOLID editing window.

    Use the Pen tool to make custom mask on Solid 1. First, make a four-point rectangle like above. Second, make a fifth point between one of the short ends. Click the point again with the Pen tool to make it a curve. This will be the tip of your saber. (Depending on the perspective of the saber in the shot, you may want to repeat this process on the hilt side of the saber.


    Place Solid in COMPOSITION

    In the COMP 1 window, use the arrow tool to move the Solid into position.

    Setting Up the Timeline

    1) Green - Slide the triangle down all the way to the left. This shrinks the timeline to a frame by frame mode.

    2) Orange - Click on the quality button until it reaches "Best" quality. You will notice this when the Solid becomes anti-aliased.

    3) Blue - Get the Timing Down

    Go through the composition frame by frame and try to pin-point the moment when the lightsaber should ignite. In this example it is when his right index finger opens out then touches the button on the lightsaber. This occurs on Frame 9, so I want the Solid to enter the composition on Frame 9. To do this, just drag the Solid so that the end with the triangle lines up with Frame 9 in the COMP 1 TIMELINE.

    3) Purple - Click on these boxes to create a key-frame for the shape (Geometrics) of the Solid. It is important that you create these key-frames on the first frame that the Solid appears, that way you can animate it later on.

    Note: Up to now, the process is the same for creating lightsaber ignition and a lightsaber that has already been ignited.

  • Now you are ready for the next part >>>> Animate Solids