The results are at the top of this post.
I'm not alone is saying that Andrew Kramer, the head of Video Copilot, taught me After Effects. His tutorials are amazing and his teaching method is fun and understandable. I'm thinking of doing a series of posts about my journey with After Effects and honestly, a lot of it would be based around his training.
Andrew recently worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, heading up the team responsible for holograms and projections. That super interesting hologram of Supreme Leader Snoke....that's Kramer and his team.
Anyway, though he had nothing do do with the Light Saber effects in the film, it turns out that he was inspired to create a plug in for After Effects inspired by them. Now, there already is a BEAM effect built in, which is what most people have been using for years to create their Light Sabers. However, the Beam effect really is limited and it takes a lot of work to make it interesting.
Saber comes with several built in presets and they are all very interesting and unique. Not only can you create Light Saber effects, but there are presets for Harry Potter type wand effects, electrical energy and tons more. But, those are only the starters, since pretty much everything is customizable, it's relatively easy to create something very idiosyncratic for your own project.
Oh, did I mention the plug in is FREE? Yeah. That's awesome.
For my quick experiment, I took a text layer and turned it into a mask layer. Then, I animated the masks to create some interesting motion. Next, I created a camera and animated an exceptionally simple movement to reveal the text. Finally, I added the Saber, made several tweaks to give it a unique look and rendered it out. Bringing the project into Premier Pro, I added the sound for the Motion Pulse collection.
Really, this projects sole purpose was to get me familiar with the plug in. And on that level, I'm very happy with the results.
However, I'm totally aware that I am only scratching the surface, as you can see in the trailer for the Saber plug in below. This is going to be a lot of fun in the future.