View Full Version : Running lights....hmmmm?????

11-27-2004, 06:48 AM
Hi all,

Just when I thought I was on a roll....

I had some bright spark come up with the idea of running lights.

Basically I have some text (with the word SHOW) and 38 balls stuck on them. I have placed 38 spotlights clones with lens flares over the balls. (there must have been an easier way. I have tried playing with luxigons in modeler but i digress...)

For running lights they want to have the lights go in a sequence from say, top to bottom and then repeat. so only one light is on a time. Thus creating the impression of running lights. (very game show and very tacky but hey hey thats the whole impression to create here.)

I have gone into graph editor and learned the offset repeat button. but there must be an easier way than going to each light in turn and doing it manually??? maybe there isnt and this newbie must just button down and do it but....there must be an easier way (as usual I am sure i will kick myself) to have them go on and off in sequence.

Well here is hoping someone has some amazing ideas around this coz I am stumped

hope you're all having a great weekend. and to the US LW'ers, happy holidays!!!

from Ross in Africa,


11-27-2004, 10:30 AM
Hey, im pretty new at this but i have an idea that *mite* work :P

1) Create a fake front to your text and instead of adding 38 lights, add 38 holes. (or if u need a lightbulb with transparency.. etc..etc..)

2) Then put 1 (spot/point)light behind this fake front, and animate it to move past the holes from behind in any order u wish. This "masking" effect will then make it look like each light is lighting up.

If u use a spotlight and aim it at the camera as it passes a hole it will look lit up.
If u use a point light insilde a glass lightbulb, it will look like the lightbulb has turned on.
As i said, im new to this, so its prolly the dumbest way to what your trying, but i thought it mite help.

11-27-2004, 10:58 AM
Hi there,
thanks for the effort and time. i think you probably have an amazing work around but in my case its not gonna work for a few reasons. namely my camera moves. but maybe thats not gonna affect it that much. so i think its a great work around but i just tried it with one hole and with my camera moves (it moves in then down and then up again a few seconds later) it doesnt creat the running light effect. you know like when you're at an airport for the planes to land they have those type of running lights? thanks for your help tho!!!!!!
p.s. still VERY open to suggestions

11-28-2004, 11:10 AM
Ok so...
worked out: the lights need to repeat per second i.e. 25 frames. so if in the "S" of SHOW. there are 8 lights. then 8/25= 3.125 frames. So...
I create an "on" keyframe" every 3.125 frames thanks to LW's wonderful Repeat variables in Graph Editor. and an "off" or 0% intensity every 3.125 frames after the "on" intensity. phew!
then i copy the graph onto the other 7 intensity graphs for the S.
so far so good.
then i move them up 3.125 frames so they are all staggered.
it DOESNT work.
oh man. oh man. oh man.
there HAS to be an easier way to do this.
come on guys??? what am i missing out here???

11-28-2004, 08:23 PM
Try this, figure out how many bulb are in the sequence. For example I will use 4 bulbs. Go to light properties, then click on lens flare, then click on the envelope button for flare intensity.
Now in the graph editor, set bulb one with a key frame at frame 0 with a value of 0. Another keyframe at frame 10 with a value of 100. Set another keyframe at frame 20 with a value of 0. Set another key frame at frame 50 with a value of 0. This last key frame keeps the light off until the other three are done. Now set the post behavior to repeat.
Now for light 2, set keyframe at frame 0 to 0, frame 10 to 0, frame 20 to 100, frame 30 to 0 and 50 to 0.
Light 3, frame 0 to 0, frame 20 to 0, frame 30 to 100, frame 40 to 0 and frame 50 to 0
light 4, frame 0 to 0, frame 30 to 0, frame 40 to 100 and frame 50 to 0
Make sure you set the post behavior for each bulb to repeat. Now the bulbs will travel, no matter how long you have your timeline set for.
By adjusting the graph editor, you can change the intensity of each light as well as how fast they travel.
Obviously doing 50 or 60 bulbs this way is very tedious. But if you can figure it out mathmatically, you should come up with a magic number where you can repeat the sequence and it will look natural. Then it is just a matter of copying the setting to the other lights.

11-28-2004, 09:53 PM
Following Silkroosters Idea,
couldn't you copy-paste-shift keys(amount figured out by silkroosters math) to each successive light?

11-28-2004, 10:42 PM
The manual method will work but I have a feeling the real way to do it would be with expressions. Unfortunately I have no idea how to do it! I'm sure there's some LW genius out there who knows how to make sequential envelopes with math.
The thing is if you think about it, once the lights have all looped there will only be four or five envelopes, depending on how long the loop is. So maybe you can cheat with a mask in post and just copy/paste.

11-29-2004, 12:02 AM
rosferatu: Can u post a screenshot of what your trying to add lights to? and explain your camera movement? Also if u could add at least 1 light working, so we can see what effect your going for.

11-30-2004, 05:21 AM
hi all,
firstly thanks for sticking with this....
I have checked out what I was doing with the lights and tested with only four. and i seem to have made a really fundamental mistake. while i have learned a fortune during this frustrating time (the only way to learn i spose)....mainly about the graph editor.
ok what i have is the letter S facing the camera. the light is facing the camera too. but....
and here is maybe where i went wrong and where i havent paid good enough attention...
i made the lights spotlights and made them lens flares. does this matter????
I will post a screen shot as soon as my box stops rendering. probably in a day or so... ;)
thanks for the help as always.
so the lights are facing the camera. is this ok???

11-30-2004, 05:49 PM
I guess as far as using spot lights it would depend on the angle of your camera. If you plan on moving the camera to the side of the letters, you may be better off using point light. The example I post above was using a lens flare and I also used point lights (though I my have forgotten to mention that.) :o Since lens flare an volumetric lights are the only ones that are visible in front of the camera.

12-02-2004, 12:17 PM
i made the lights spotlights and made them lens flares. does this matter????
It's not the end of the world, but for lens flares I always use point lights and I usually set the light intensity to 0. In your case since you have so many lights, if you want the lights to effect the scene as well as cause a flare, you may want to put the same envelope on the light intensity as the flare intensity. But light intensity and flare intensity are not linked.