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Build your own stun gun in After Effects By Stephen Schleicher

When you are doing special effects in a production, safety should be the number one concern.  This is especially true when working with electricity.  With Adobe After Effects, you can simulate the 30,000 volts zapper.  In this exercise, Ill show you how to create the effect.

There are two different lightning effects in Adobe After Effects.  For the AE Standard or Professional user, you have access to the Lightning effect (Effect>Render>Lightning).  The good thing about this effect, is the lightning/electricity animates on each frame and creates a very basic, yet believable effect.

Step 1:  Import your Stun Gun layer into After Effects and add it to your Timeline.

While the Lightning effect will overlay on any layer, you will have better results if you apply the effect to a black solid.

Step 2:  Create a New Layer (Command+Y on the Mac, Control+Y on the PC).  Make the layer black.

Step 3:  To the Black Solid, apply the Lightning effect.  Change the Transfer Mode of the Black Solid to Add.  This will make the lightning stand out a bit more against your background.

In the top image, the Lightning effect has been applied to the Stun Gun layer, while the bottom layer has the effect applied to a black solid.

Step 4:  The Lightning effect has two control points.  The Start Point represents the origin or source of the bolt, while the End Point represents the target point for the strike.  Position the Start and End points at the tip of the stun gun electrodes.

You will see the movement of the electric current if you make a RAM preview.  While it looks good, we can make it better by tweaking the effect controls.

Step 5:  The first adjustment we can make is to the number of segments the bolt has.  Increasing the segment number will cause the bolt to be more flexible, while decreasing the value will make the bolt more rigid. 

A segment value of 25

A segment value of 3

For this exercise, a value of 15 will create a very busy arc.


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Related Keywords:stun gun, taser, lightning, after effects, adobe, mac, stephen schleicher, standard


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