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Continued: Forked Force Lightning and Electricity in MainVision By J. Daniel Sawyer

Step 4) The Glow

What lightning would be complete without an aura?  Here's how we make one.  Add a new track, and Add Clip > Complex Filtering > Aureole.  Double click on the clip to set the parameters.

Here's roughly how it should be set up.  Change colors the same way you did on the lightning parameters.  White controls aura opacity, grey controls internal opacity, yellow controls aura width.  Play with the settings to get what you want.  Here's what this one looks like in the preview window:

That's it.  You've just made lightning.

Step 5) Making the lightning move

The frequency setting on the lightning will make it vibrate, but for a nice realistic look you'll want the whole arc to move as well.  To make it move and look realistic, animate the geometry it's based on frame by frame, one vertex at a time.  To see how it's looking, you can step through the frames rapidly using the -> Arrow key, but I'd really recommend doing test renders for this, just because things look different full speed than they do frame by frame.

Step 6) Adding a fork

We basically do this step because spoons and lightning just don't mix :-).  We'll basically repeat steps 2-5, but there are two crucial differences.  One) The geometry needs to go between the ACTUAL lightning rather than the geometry for the lightning.  Observe:

The new geometry is highlighted red so it will be easier for you to see.  This geometry MUST be animated frame by frame so that it's end it kept in contact with the preexisting bolt, thus creating the illusion of forked lightning.
Two) A paster clip is needed to keep the two auras from reinforcing eachother.  It should look something like this:

The Background is the first Aureole clip, the foreground is the second Aureole clip.  These settings give you results that look like this:

There you go.  For more bolts or more forks, just duplicate these steps multiple times.  If you want to see the finished result, click Here.

Please email any questions or comments to me at lokmer@bigfoot.com

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