Wow, where did you find that old tutorial.
The secret is in the compositing and the Roto more than the technique. Magic happens with blend modes. I can guarantee you that ILM had more than two layers. About 1 million years ago when I last did a light saber the composition ended up with about 10 or 12 layers including a couple of track mattes and several copies of the light saber blade.
If you take a full resolution screenshot of your composition and paste it or drag it to the replay field on this forum we will have a better idea of pointing you in the right direction.
well you could make your own which would take decades or buy a $10,000 plugin or just download this free plugin
free saber plugin
I wasn’t sure where you wanted me to post the screenshot of my composition, so here’s a link to a Wordpress blog which includes images:
Here is the original image:
As you can see, I’ve experimented with blend modes.
All have Add mode for the blades in the Pre-comp.
But the Pre-comps have different modes over the image.
This was done using the method you showed me (the video), and as you can see the lightsaber fans out at the top.
I can send you the AE file if it helps. It accurately follows your tutorial.
I’m all ears for advice on what blend modes to use.
The common method involves rotoscoping a mask, and the adjustment layers do the rest.
Your method doesn’t.
Your method involves rotation, re-positioning, and scaling (of an entire Pre-comp, which contains the blades).
Your method creates the fanning effect through re-scaling.
However, this relies on the blade always being triangular (wider at the tip). See the problem?
Your method involves Add mode for all layers.
Now I’m totally open minded about which method to use.
Your method of fanning is obviously preferable since it requires no rotoscoping which is a huge bonus.
I’m willing to use either method, but it’s the look that concerns me.
The common method looks really bad.
I like ILM’s look.
I want that.
What I'm wondering is whether the secret lies in tricks like alternating between Add and Normal:
And whether Screen has a function to play. For example precomposing the blade/glow, and setting that whole comp to a totally different mode from what's inside it.
But this is all guess work and I'm getting nowhere!
Please, could you help,