View Full Version : a matter of lightning..

06-24-2003, 02:19 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm attempting (read: failing) to do some stuff that involves trying to render decent-looking lightning in lightwave. I know there are a lot of plugins to do it, but the best ones are uncompatibile with lw7.5, or cost money..

Anyway i made some lightning geometry really easily with 2 point polys and displacement maps and morphs for animation etc etc, but the thing that annoys me about this approach is that you can't fade the ends of lightning trails out easily. I tried using vertex colour maps to do it, but that caused the entire bolt to render as black, with dots of colour at the vertices. If anyone has ideas on how to do this it'd be very helpful.

Another thing i'd like to do is fade out the glow effect as it gets closer to the end of the bolt, and maybe have it a different colour to the bolt itself.
Also if anyone knows how to do THAT with HV or some other method, or knows of a lightning plugin that gives satisfying results in lw75 i'd be very interested..


06-24-2003, 02:37 AM
Im no expert but im sure you can use alpha in vertex maps. And if you want to change the colour of the bolt - cant you just apply some transparency and colour maps to it?

06-24-2003, 02:45 AM
Hi there,

There are some free Scripts/ plugins called TreeCage and Gene. I suggest giving those a try. Since lightnings are similar to forked trees in shape, this might be a good start. TreeCage will even create UV-coordinates you can use. There is another plugin called FI's XYdrift that will create an animated line between two Nulls in Layout. Currently there are no commercial tools for this - Thor is quite crap and the old Vertilectric is no longer around as far as I know. A last option would be doing it in compositing. In AfterFX there is a nice effect called Advanced Lightning that works perfectly.


06-24-2003, 04:19 AM
Try uv mapping the points, over a b/w gradient texture (in the transparency channel) map, so you can place the ends in the less transparent area of the gradient and the middle part in the more transparent part, then overlay a noisy texture to give it a bit of variety..

Use corona to generate the glow, it's much more flexible...

06-24-2003, 05:27 AM
can do!
man, i'm so glad i found out about corona, ive never really looked at the post processing plugins much, are there any other really cool ones?