Classic disco scene with light up squares on floor, twinkly moving lights


Just had a fun idea, and figure someone has already worked out how to do something similar.

I’m looking to recrate the classic disco floor from Saturday Night Fever where each square randomly changes color on the beat. Not sure whether it would be better via audio reactor tied to kick track or on bpm cycle, but either way, the part I’m not sure about is assigning a random color per beat with different seed in each square.

First thought is to do grid clone of flattened cube, and apply texture with mograph color selector under random effector, then keyframe the seed for the random effector on each switch. Is there a better way? If I wanted to instead just have audio effector switch it whenever kick hits, not sure how to essentially create a hold keyframe each time audio threshold is crossed.

Also, I can see how to limit to within x variation of a given shade, but disco floors don’t quite work that way. The saturation and brightness are always the same, and only the hue varies… though possibly with quick fade to and from dark state in betweeen. I’m not seeing yet how to randomize only the hue. I can do it manually with a bunch of hues in multishaders, but not sure if I’m missing an automatic way that chooses between every possible hue (what I want)

I also have signal if that helps. Perhaps better to approach from that angle and apply it’s randomization specifically to the hue? (and then another one to dim briefly as color switches?) Not quite sure how that would all get lined up.

Interested in doing some disco lighting too… though I’m sticking to a VERY basic omni lighting scheme overall, so looking more to crate a hint of moving lights, disco balls, or other such twinkly bits rather than actually lighting the scene with them. Just tossing that out in case anyone has any ideas what they might do to achieve such an effect (without killing render times)


The floor I would do in camera inside of C4d, there are several ways I would try to attempt it, I don’t have a solution for you at this time, but for the “twinkly” bits you refer to, I might attempt to those in post. If you want them to effect the lighting in the scene, I would create omni lights as you suggest, but I would do the twinkling in post.


I’ve got basic floor working as flattened cubes with rounded filets in cloner grid with random effector driving mograph multishader.

Lighting seems good enough with combo of circular gradient in luminence channel, and glow with tiny radius. I’d like the tile edges to be dull, but for some reason, I’ve been unable to target top side, and various combos with plain gray material on other sides result in all the glow/luminence going away.

Twinkles in post could be difficult if the lights themselves are moving. I really don’t want to get into any 3d work at all in AE. It’s just too slow on my system. I was thinking maybe using very small falloff where the lights themselves are visible but small and short lived… something like a muzzle flash. also tryingt o think of how to mimic the classic spinning searchlight (20th Century Fox opening) in my rather simplified cartoonish context.


Anyone got ideas for a general disco ball type effect without actually tossing light at virtual mirrors?

EDIT: Or… looking at some disco ball pre-made 3d models now. Anyone used something like that has any input on getting an interesting effect without killing the render times?


Self ilumination and reflecting an HDR?


Might be good. I don’t really know anything at all about HDR’s. I tried to stay away from self illumination because I assumed that many extra light sources would kill the render time… Just a guess, though, and I did end up using glow which may do the same…

Happy enough with the floor for now (though I may reuse the idea, so always up on improving it.)

Wondering now if I can get some low resource twinklies going on. The disco ball thing may be pushing it if each actually reflects or projects. I’m keeping the overall lighting as basic as possible so I’ve got a relatively flat, cartoonish look like a default scene with no lights added.

Definitely interesting to try and think of lights in a different way… like muzzle flash output to immitate twinkle, or disco ball projecting rather than reflecting light (so more like a Moroccan lamp throwing shapes.


Here’s a youtube video for making a disco ball.


Hmm… ok. Coming from audio and 2d work, there are a LOT of things I just don’t know about light yet. Trying to keep as simple and efficient as possible, but that certainly does seem to be doing the Moroccan lantern thing.


If you want the moroccan lantern look. The fastest way would be to BOOLE your design and use the new object like a Moroccan lantern. Here’s a quick example.



You asked, Cineversity provides :slight_smile:


Nice. I like both the Moroccan lamp method and the caustic method for different reasons.

Out of curiosity… tut shows using the auto-generated sphere segments as the basic shapes for the mirrors.

Actual Mirror balls are a bit different, though, but are still consistent and organized in their mirror layout. All the squares are exactly the same,and there are just less per row as you move away from the equator. until there is only one on each pole. As such, the spaces between the squares are different per row, but ideally consistent within each row.

It’s probably overkill, but now I’m curious… Any ideas how such a layout could be procedurally generated?