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Best Of: Light sabers, blaster shots and soft wipes from FanFilm Fx

Posted by Iain Anderson on

Star Wars has always held a special place in the hearts of fans, and today it’s easier than ever to create your own homage. Indeed, J.J. Abrams himself is actively encouraging you to do so, by participating in the official Star Wars Fan Film Awards 2016.

If you want to give it a go (or even if you just want to have fun on your own) then you’ll be needed a light-saber effect — or at the very least, a blaster shot. You can find both for free from FanFilm Fx, a family operation helped out by tech wizard Tim Dashwood. Head to their page for examples, then install FxFactory from the link, search for “fanfilmfx” in the search field at the top, and grab all the free options with the green Download buttons.

FxFactory, searching for "fanfilmfx"

Once they’re downloaded, restart FCP X if it was already running, and look in Generators under FanFilmFx for the Saber Blade and Blaster Bolt, then under Transitions under FanFilmFx for the soft-edge wipes.

To add light sabers, drag the generator above your footage of you playing with sticks. Drag the start and end points to match the start and end of the stand-in saber, then adjust the thickness and glow to suit. Now all you have to do is activate keyframing on the start and end position by clicking on the grey diamond to the right of each one, and… move the start and end of the light saber on (nearly) every frame, to create a lot of keyframes. Nobody said rotoscoping would be easy, but there's help available within the plug-in if you get stuck.

Keyframe these top two parameters to get going

If you like these free options, it’s worth noting that there are paid versions of these effects available through FxFactory too, so pick them up if you need their added flexibility.

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