Unleash her inner Jedi (or Sith) v this rapid guide to producing a lightsaber in after Effects.

You are watching: How to make a light saber effect

Image over from Star Wars: The pressure Awakens

If you’ve used After Effects for any type of amount of time, chances are you’ve want to develop a Star Wars result at the very least once or twice. Let’s take a watch at how to create your very own lightsaber in After Effects making use of 100% native plugins. (Subtly tide hand.) This is the indict you’re spring for.

Step 1: Create a Solid


The an initial thing you require in order to produce a lightsaber impact is some an excellent footage. In this tutorial I’m making use of a clip from Shutterstock. Once you’ve imported your footage right into a new After Effects composition, create a brand-new white solid. The label I made decision for my solid: Purple Lightsaber.

Step 2: Mask and Keyframe


Next, mask and keyframe the solid so that it surrounds the activity blur that the lightsaber from your referral footage. Shot to store your mask to only four points. If girlfriend use more than four, friend might start to obtain confused about which component is claimed to be in ~ the basic of the lightsaber and also which component is supposed to be at the top of the lightsaber. By utilizing four mask points, you have the right to keep the exact same points at the top and also bottom throughout the whole animation.

Step 3: Create an reverse Alpha Mask


Next, create a mask so her lightsaber will certainly not cross in former of your topic if it’s actually claimed to it is in behind her subject. To perform this, produce a new solid and mask the end the locations where your lightsaber have to be behind her subject. Our example above is relatively easy; we’ll just need to mask out our subject’s head.

Quick Tip: Make sure to trim her mask great so that it doesn’t accidentally covering up her lightsaber in any other parts of your composition.

After you mask and also keyframe your alpha mask, it’s time come set her track matte. Place your masking layer over your lightsaber great and change the track matte to Alpha Inverted. This will immediately hide your masking great in her timeline and also create a hole where your subject need to be.


Step 4: Add Stylization Effects


Precompose both her alpha mask and your lightsaber layer. Now it’s time to add a few quick stylization effects. The 2 that I usage every time are Fast Blur and Glow. The rapid Blur effect makes your lightsaber seem a little an ext organic, while the Glow effect adds shade to the white layer if you’ve set the Glow Colors come A&B Colors. ~ you include your stylization effects, merely turn her transfer mode to Screen and readjust any the your results as needed.


Here’s what ours final result looks like.


Want to watch a step-by-step tutorial around how to produce this cool lightsaber effect? examine out this great tutorial by tradition Entertainment that uses the exact same layer method outlined in this blog post.

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This is just one that the plenty of different ways you have the right to create a lightsaber in after Effects. Another popular method is to use the lightsaber preset draft by Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot. I highly recommend discovering their tutorial.