Digital Video Editing
Ok, Ok, I've had enough emails asking me how I got the
glow on my lightsaber for my little movie, so I'll explain. This
process is known as Rotoscoping.
So, let's learn how to Rotoscope
a Blade on a Lightsaber.
To see my sample video, go to my Downloads page and
check out the Pre and Post Rotoscope examples.
So I finally got a copy of FXhome EffectsLab Pro
and I got to tell you, this has got to be one of the easiest
and most cost effective ways to rotoscope a Lightsaber
blade (and several other effects) in a movie you have
After puttering around with it for a little bit I
decided it would be fun to rotoscope the same video I had done with
Adobe Photoshop and Premiere using FXhome EffectsLab Pro and compare the
difference. Unfortunately I didnít have the original video so
itís a little lower resolution then I would prefer. But for the
purpose of this tutorial, it works just fine.
A couple things about FXhome EffectsLab Pro,
it is as its name implies a program for adding Effects, visual
effects. It doesnít do audio; it doesnít do Titles, Subtitles or
that kind of stuff. Use Microsoft Movie Maker or some other movie
editing software to do that. FXhome EffectsLab Pro is for adding things like
Lightsabers, Blasters, Explosions and things like that.
Also as piece of advice, I donít believe in
editing an entire video clip if you only need to apply effects to a
section of it so I open my unedited video in Windows Movie Maker,
save the project and then use the Split function to cut out just the
piece Iím going to edit and save it separately. Now I have a smaller
file to work with.
Open FXhome EffectsLab Pro and select the video
clip you want to edit.
Youíll see your video
clip in the timeline
Advance ahead a frame
at a time until you reach the first frame that you want to add the
blade. You can either use the left/right keys to move through the
movie or you can use the Next field button.
As you can see in
the next picture, the Lightsaber blade is just starting to come into
view, this is where I will start adding the blade effect.
Click and hold down
the right mouse button on the Neon Light effect under the Effects
Tab in your Toolbox, now drag the Neon Light effect over onto your
video clip you are editing.
Now down on the
timeline you will see a layer called Neon Light.
Click on the
Crop tool ;
And click on the right end of the
Neon Light effect and drag it to the length that you need the effect
to last (you can shorten and lengthen it as needed)
Inside that layer you
will see a line that says Neon Glow. Single Click on it.
And on the right hand
side of the screen, you will see the attributes for that neon glow
layer. Here you can change things like the color of the blade or the
feathering (fuzziness) of the blade core.
This is something you
might want to tinker with as it may change with different
Click on the color
bar to change the color.
Then click the Color box to bring
up the color palette.
Choose your color and click ok.
Next, back down in
the timeline, under the Neon Light layer, click on the line that
Neon Glow and click the little green dot once and turn it
This actually turns
the effect of the glow off.
This makes it a lot easier to do the
editing; when we are done we will turn it back on.
Next click on the
line that says Neon shapes.
Then on the right
side of the screen, click on 4-point
We are now ready to
start adding the rotoscoped blade effect.
Note: You can use
the zoom tool located in the upper right corner above your video to
enlarge or shrink down the area you are working in. You can also
hold down the right mouse button when you have your mouse over the
image to move the screen around.
This is very handy when working
on a small area.
Click once next to
the hilt of the Lightsaber (where the blade comes out)
either on the right side or left side of where the blade is, then
click the other side, then go down to the end of the blade, and
click the two points of that end.
You must do the
handle/hilt end first, then the tip of the blade.
needs to know which end is which so it expects you to do it in this
You will note that in this frame the end of the blade
extends off the edge of the screen.
You donít need to draw all
the way to where the end of the blade would be, but you should go
off the screen some to get the glow right.
On the right hand
side of the screen you will see the attributes for the
You can curve both ends of the blade by putting a value
from -0.50 to 3 in the Hilt curve or Tip curve boxes. A negative
value will curve the end inward (you way want this on the hilt
sometimes). Use the slider to adjust the curve to your liking. You
will most likely change this setting as you go depending on which
way your saber is pointing at the time.
Then hit the right
arrow key or click the Next field button to go to the next
You will see that the
effect you drew from the previous frame is in the same spot, grab
the corners and drag the shape to cover the blade again.
Keep repeating the
process (saving along the way) until you have every frame done.
Now go back to the timeline and
click the red dot next to Neon Glow to turn the glow back
And the effect will
Real image looks much better, I had to squish this to
make it fit on the screen)
Render your movie,
pull it back into Movie maker, add your sound effects and titles and
Using this tool was
much easier then using Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. It took less
then half the time.
Stay Tuned for more cool stuff using FXhome EffectsLab
I'll be adding
another tutorial showing deflecting a blaster shot with a