Creating Lightsaber Effects Using Cinepaint

Let’s be real here: why are you not adding light sabers into your videos? With the following tutorial, you too will be able to join the Jedi ranks (or Sith, no judgment here) with a realistic lightsaber. Obviously, digital video visual effects aren’t easy, so this tutorial will assume you have a fairly solid knowledge base about working in Cinepaint.

  • Load your video sequence into the flipbook. Depending on available memory, you should be able to load a full video. If not, go bit-by-bit for sections of the video until you have applied the effect to the whole video.

  • Once the video sequence is loaded, create a new layer (this is the layer where you will make your lightsaber) by selecting Commands > Layers > New Layer, this will create a new layer at the top of each frame.

  • This is really a whole bunch of steps condensed down into one; this is where you replace the prop lightsaber in each frame with. For now all you have to do is paint over each prop lightsaber with white. Occasionally, hit Store > Save All to make sure you’re saving your changes. You don’t want to run the risk of losing all your hard work by waiting to save until the very end.

  • When all this is done, you now have two layers for your entire sequence, one with the original video, the second with just the white painted lightsaber blade. Selecting just the blade layer, apply a Gaussian blur of radius 5.0 to create the glow effect. Once you do this to the first frame of the lightsaber layer, you can automatically apply it to all the other frames by choosing Command > Filters > Apply Last.

  • Create another blade layer by choosing the current blade layer and selecting Command > Layers > Copy, and then apply anther Gaussian blur of 5.0 to the new layer.

  • On the second blade layer, you can use the levels command to adjust the color for the topmost blade layer, right now this must also be done on a frame-by-frame basis. Again, as you’re doing this, don’t forget to save your work frequently.

  • To blend the two blade layers (creating the glow and the color) select the two different blade layers and go to Effects > Layer Mode and change the blend mode to “addition.” This should unify the lightsaber look.

  • To finalize the video, you need to merge all the layers together by selecting Commands > Layers > Merge Visible, and save the final product.