in Lego, SFX

The March of (Lightsaber) Progress

Back in the very early days of this blog I spent some time documenting the fiddly process of creating a pretty decent lightsaber effect. This post showed a truncated version of the edits needed to add a lightsaber to one frame of a video. I skipped over several other steps like multiple different stages of blur and different level changes.

Life in 2016 is so much simpler. I recently built the Lego General Grevious and to share a pic on Facebook I thought it’d be fun to make his lightsabers look a bit more realistic than the translucent plastic Lego provide.

Here’s Grevious with his standard Lego ‘sabers:

Lego General Grevious

And after just five minutes of editing:

Lego General Grevious with realistic Lightsabers

So, how’s this witchcraft done? Well, it is 2017 so of course anything that took hours in Adobe Premiere and Photoshop in 2004 can be achieved in minutes using an app on an iPhone. In this case Lightsaber Camera from Masanori Katsuta. Here’s the interface:

Lightsaber Camera app interface

Admittedly the interface isn’t beautiful, but it is perfectly functional. Choose your image, hit the button to add a lightsaber, then adjust the size, rotation, colour and grip. After a few minutes of tweaking, hit the export button and done!

2004: thousands of pounds worth of hardware and software, plus hours of time.
2017: 79p of software and five minutes on a £600 smartphone.