VFX & Film Making Edutainment

Advanced Lightning In Adobe After Effects

This one is for all the Star Wars fans out there!
Learn how to create the lightning hands effect when the Emperor tries to shock young Skywalker into supporting the Dark Side :)

Adobe After Effects Lightning Hands Tutorial

This is the final lightning effect we will be creating in this Adobe After Effects tutorial:


Creating Lightning In Adobe After Effects

I have some footage here of Jimmy from Jimmy America pretending to electrocute me Emperor style. Obviously his control of the force isn’t yet strong enough so there are no actual lightnings going on.

To help him master the force, we can easily use After Effects!

First, create a new solid. The easiest way is to right click into your layers window and select New -> Solid.

I will call my layer ‘Lightning’. The colour for this new solid doesn’t matter, just click OK to create it.
Now go over to the Effects & Presets panel on the right hand side of the interface and search for the Advanced Lightning effect.

To apply the Advanced Lightning to the newly created solid, make sure the solid layer is selected and then double click on the Advanced Lightning effect. Alternatively, you can also drag and drop the effect onto the layer. You should now see a lightning strike down the middle of your composition.

Since we want the lightning to be a little bit more targeted and come out of Jimmy’s hands and shoot towards me, we first need to change the Lightning Type to ‘Strike’.

This will cause the lightning to strike from the Origin to the Direction marker. You can drag these markers (shown as little red circles) around directly in you preview window to have your lighting start and end wherever you want. I will make it come out of Jimmy’s hands and hit me in the chest.

Note that the lightning effect does not animate by default when you scrub through your footage.
It will change when you move the Origin and Direction markers around, but we would like our lightning to constantly twist and jerk around like a real life sustained lightning would.

6 comments for Advanced Lightning In Adobe After Effects

  1. i m happy to find this great site… i m new in after effect ur tutorials are awsome and help me alot thanx for the tutorial

    it ll be helpfull if u provide raw footages for practice…:D

    • Thank you very much! Glad you’re enjoying my tutorials. As for the raw footage, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t gotten around to it yet – I also need to find the best place to upload/share the footage through.

  2. It ws very helpful thnks man… ;) :)

  3. sir maybe you can also upload the footage that youre using. so we can use it too :) hahaha. and follow your tutorial more easily :)

    • That’s an item on my to do list I haven’t gotten around to yet. But I will hopefully get around to it soon :)

  4. never know we got a great site like this went for editing school but I got nothing out of there….. long live this site and all core members God bless

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