Jay Lightning Effect Breakdown | Brick à Brack

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Brick à Brack, his community and his staff support and approve the Brickboard community activities - BàB Staff (2020-11-16)

Hello guys, figured I'd take the time to break down the lightning throw effect that I created a while back! If you haven't seen that clip, I've linked it at the bottom of this thread for your convenience.

1. The Animation


Let's start with the raw animation. Here is the original clip with no After Effects work:


I used an LED strip to cast a bit of glow on Jay after the Power Blast elements appear. It's subtle, but it makes adding the lightning in After Effects that much more convincing.

Speaking of the Power Blast Elements, here is a frame-by-frame breakdown of the elements used.


Frame #1 uses the fist element from previous shots. Frame #2 uses the smaller burst, attached to a transparent white 1x1 handle element. Frame #3 increases the size to a bigger burst element, finishing the final stages of the charge-up.


Frame #4 uses the small bolt, followed by the big bolt in Frame #5. Finally, for Frame #6, the elements are removed from the hand. While I tried using more bolts for later frames to simulate a "cool down" effect, it made the burst feel too slow at 15 FPS. The effect works best when played for less than a second - this keeps it fast and lively.

2. The Composition



I created three layers in the composition: a clean plate, a right-hand layer, and a left-hand layer. I created a rough mask around the Power Blast elements for each hand and added the Video Copilot Saber Plugin Effect to the two hand layers.


The Preset was configured to Arc Reactor, with a darker glow to keep the effect from being far too overbearing. The Core Type is set for the Layer Masks, with Alpha Mode at Mask Glow. This allows the effect to wrap around the Power Blast elements' masks.

The Glow Intensity is set to 80% for the majority of the effect, with a cool-down to 0% in the last two frames (corresponding to the last frames of the Power Blast elements). I set the Halo Intensity and Halo Size to 180% to work with the glow of the LED strip in-shot. By using the AE glow in parallel with the LED strip glow, the effect looks more natural.

3. The Final Result



This is the final result! I'm happy with how it turned out, but I'd like to tweak more of the settings for the sake of applicability in future scenes. This effect looks awesome in darker-lit scenes, so the lightning contrasts, but I have not got it to work for lighter scenes.

That being said, if you get a chance, I'd love to see you edit/remix this effect! Feel free to use the parameters I listed above, and share your modifications. I'm sure there's a way to achieve this sort of effect without using AE, so if you get that to work, please share!

Last edited by chris_gbp (apr. 6, 2019 (11:40pm)).

Wow thanks so much for the tutorial! Should try it out sometime..

This is cool but...WHERE'S THE WEEKEND WHIP REMAKE!?

@Yummy-Burrito-StudiosThis is cool but...WHERE'S THE WEEKEND WHIP REMAKE!?

After Bob and Randy, I've finally decided April will be focused on finishing episode 4, and then May for the Weekend Whip video. I may use some of these VFX in the music video for kicks, we'll see!

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