Creating Electricity, Lightning effects

I just wrapped up a project that called for electricity/lightning effects.
After lots of googling for lightning techniques I ended up using the advanced lightning effect in After Effects. it worked well, but not quite as direct able as I’d like it to be. Not to mention it’s super clunky to work with. In the end I was able to get something that worked and the client was happy with.

That brings me to my question for the hive, what are some ways you have gone about creating realistic direct able electricity (with or without flame)?

I just did some lightning strikes in super slow motion. Its a blender asset but the animated grin can be exported out to be used in other software… including flame.

Sapphire has a pretty good tool for this, but I can’t remember the name. It has some pretty good controls as I recall. There might also be a similarly named matchbox.

Back 1,000 years ago in my Power Rangers days we would hand paint and glow the effects frame by frame. I don’t recommend that.


Yeah I have used the Sapphire (Zap?) effect before. It has a lighting “From” and a lightning “To” range of options.

It is the best that I have found available in Flame.

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The Saber AE Plugin from Video Copilot is also a great way to get the effect.

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Awesome, thanks everyone for their responses!

Oh wow, how did I miss that sapphire ultra zap. :man_facepalming:
That looks like exactly what would have done the trick. Being able to direct them over a path is exactly what I needed.

I haven’t spent much time with sapphire, but after watching the overview of the latest, i should probably add that to my toolbox. :grinning:

I looked at a few blender tutorials, but it all seemed a little beyond my blender comfort level, haha.

I used saber for a few pieces of my energy effects, but I couldn’t quite get it to work for the hero electricity.

@GPM i can’t imagine having to do that frame by frame.

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I use this Lightning Strike generator from here. Lightning Tools for Blender
Really easy… just needed to draw some splines.
I needed to see parallax in the arching as the camera moves, and use it a a light source for a smoke simulation… hence 3d. Otherwise I would have gone with Sapphire or Nuke particles.

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We used Sapphire Zap on this advert

It works - a bit clunky. It was used on X-men for storm years ago. I think what I’m getting at is it’s difficult to make it very realistic. We had to use a bit of cg to help light the surrounding objects.

When ive had to make a real lightning strike in the past I’ve done a combination of real bits and painting.

I’m starting to teach myself blender and will definitely check out that lightning @milanesa . Thanks for the tip.

*I think my favourite part of this job was using an SVG for the end logo and turning it into a 3d object in flame. It never got used but I’ve used that trick since to great effect to project stuff onto.

thanks for sharing the link! this definitely would have done the trick too. It looks pretty approachable, I’ll have to give it try for next time. (I need to spend more time with blender, so much good stuff in there)

cool spot! your electricity was a similar idea to what I was doing, I had nowhere near as many shots though. :grinning:

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pretty much wip right now


Love this TVC that is running in NZ atm.
No idea if Flame was used but congratulations to all involved.


Great spot, I love it. the electricity effects in it are really cool too.
I wonder what route they used?

They remind me a bit of the style from the stock electric pack film riot was selling.

Curious what he would have used to create them. Houdini maybe? Or just a bunch of variations with something like sapphire?

This is a commercial from us that is a mixture of motion graphics and 3D flashes that were put together in Nuke.


very cool! thank you for the insight how it was created.