View Full Version : Ribbons of light?

09 September 2002, 02:30 PM
Can anyone point me to a tut or give me some tips on doing ribbons of light?
I tried using a procedural for color and transparency and then glow but it always just looks like a cut-up ribbon, not a glowing stream of light. And if I make it more transparent, the glow seems to die...

Any tips on this basic and simple problem? :wip:

Steve Warner
09 September 2002, 03:37 PM
Hi Cman,

Can you be more specific on what you mean by "ribbons of light"? Thin ribbons? Thick ribbons? Ribbons like you would put on a gift?



09 September 2002, 03:49 PM
additive transparency and edge transparency? that's what i'd try at first. or instead of edge transparency, a gradient for transparency set for camera incidence angle. *shrug*

and that's assuming i'm thinking of the same thing you are, in which case i'd probably be bull-headed and try volumetric spotlights first.

09 September 2002, 03:52 PM
Thanks for helping. This is like basic TV-CG commercial effect, but I never been able to get a decent result.
There was a television commercial here in the US that shows what I had in mind - but I can't find it online! I think it was a spot for cellular phone Spectrum or Sprint.
Anyway, the idea is thin streams/ribbons of light interweaving. I'm starting to think I might have to use particles - though I'd like to avoid it.

Uhhh - if you ever saw Ghostbusters - the shots of ghosts flying and bending though the air is along the lines of what I'm trying to do. To be composited with other CG elements.

Thanks again! :)

@Lyonhaert - thanks.
I'll try the additive transparency. Never thought thought of that! :wip:

Steve Warner
09 September 2002, 04:54 PM
What about drawing out splines for the ribbons and then converting them to strings of 2-point polys? From there you could set the line width to whatever you want and apply glow to it. I'm doing this right now in a piece for the Army to simulate data transmission between ground units and satellites.

You might also want to take a look at the Trapcode 3D Stroke plugin for After Effects. Check out the samples. Seems like the effect you're looking for.

If you have to resort to particles, I can't recommend Particle Illusion enough.
The stream of light, the lightning, and the smoke in this animation:
were all done in Particle Illusion in under 30 minutes.

Hope this helps!


09 September 2002, 05:01 PM
i think jetstreamfx can do this.
its a year or so ago i tried it, but when i remember right it could do exactly what you are after.


09 September 2002, 06:28 PM
Is this what u looking for?

09 September 2002, 06:40 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions.

Eugeny, that's close, but maybe more like this shot from the Jetstream page: shockwave.

09 September 2002, 07:47 PM
try using the lazy points deformer on a ribbon, use some edge falloff... of maybe just a general post blur effect (after all this is lights, not sharp objects) map a texture on using additive luminancem probably just a gradient will do, you can also use gradients to get the falloff on the object if you want. then use a glow.

09 September 2002, 07:50 PM
or and this might sound crazy... use volumetric lights... or sprite hypervoxels, this will be slow to render, but you should be able to get the effect without too much trouble... you could have a set ot volumetric lights close together flowing along a spline... alternatively you could just use textures in the volumetric light properties to create these ribbons (though you would have to be a texture master to do such a thing). alternatively use hypervoxels with an extreme motion blur and stretch along path. sometimes people forget that you can use any null/point for hypervoxels.

09 September 2002, 08:17 PM
Ahhh... stretch HV along a path, that's sounds good too.

Thanks for all the tips. I'll put em to good use. :)

09 September 2002, 09:05 PM
Is this the commercial?

I found this tutorial using volumetrics. It looks similar to what your after, however its a straight line, and you also have the increasing light cone issue. :shrug:

09 September 2002, 06:32 AM
A friend of mine passed me some LW files quite similar to the ribbon effect that you wanted. The method used is something like what mdme_sadie described earlier but using bones instead and it slows down the Layout window quite a lot.

I haven't had the time to disect the files to see how it really works, but I guess the ribbon deforms using a similar method to the tutorial on this site:

09 September 2002, 06:33 AM
And here are the LW files...

12 December 2002, 05:13 AM
Not to rise a thread from the dead, but I believe I never thanked you, CCF.

... Thank you, CCF! :wavey:

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