Attack of the Clones:
Any organic look that was achieved in Phantom Menace was taken away in this film, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I would still prefer these lightsabers because they're richer and basically cooler.
Notice how the glow isn't so see-through as in the Phantom Menace.
And the core of the blade is clear and not jagged, which makes me think it was made using the "Screen" transfer mode.
And then there's Ryan Wieber's version:
These are awesome in their own way, but they're clearly not the same as those used in the prequel series of Star Wars.
SO, MY QUESTION IS:
Do you think that ILM the common method of starting with a white rectangle applying a fast blur to it (and a colour correction)?
OR, would they have used a different method?
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading,
I don't know the exact tools used but I guarantee that they did some motion tracking, some roto work (probably automatic because they can afford it) then added some blur and used blending modes to create the effect. They may have come up with their own Glow plug-ins but all glow's are generated by a blur applied to a shape through a blending mode.
The important thing here is not how they did it, because you are probably not using the same tools, but how can you recreate the effect as simply and as easily as possible. The technique that I demoed in the short video is my version of one demonstrated years ago by Alex Lindsay who is a friend of mine (who who also worked for ILM at one time). All digital compositing traces it's roots back to John Knoll who was one of the original designers of Photoshop and who also worked at ILM. It's all math applied to pixels.
Learn how Photoshop works with channels, colors, and blend modes then you'll be able to figure out how After Effects, or any compositing app works. Simply following tutorials that use a specific plug-in won't teach you much more than a possible use of the plug-in to achieve the demonstrated effect. Do some experimenting with the basics using nothing but blur, blend modes, and channel controls (levels, curves, etc) and you'll be well on your way to being an AE Guru. Then you can refine your eye and your technique so that all of your effects will be believable.
How long would it take to become a master at using blend modes? Are we talking a couple of weeks?