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I get a lot of questions on how to make energy bolts like they use in Dragonball or in StarBlazer (Wave Motion Gun..YEAH). Here's a recipe for a cracklin' energy blast you can use to destroy things with.

Step 1: Choose your source

The blast has to come from somewhere. I put a circle here for tutorial purposes but you just pretend it's a gun muzzle or someones hand, k?

Step 2: Make the base of the bolt

Use the polygon lasso tool and click out a blast beam selection in perspective like you see here.Make sure it's on it's own layer. Fill it with a good bolt color...light blues, purples, greens and reds are good. Make sure it's a bright color high on the saturation.

Step 3: Getting in touch with your inner bolt

Now...create a new blank layer above the outer bolt. ctrl+click on the outerbolt layer to make the bolt a selection. Contract this selection by a few pixels and fill this new contracted selection with white on it's own layer. You should now have something like you see here.

Step 4: Blurry

Apply a gaussian blur to each layer. Play with the settings..I used a 2.5 pixel blur...you may need less or more depending on the size of your picture.

This technique also makes a good light saber.

Step 5: snap, crackle, pop

On another new blank layer, grab your paintbrush, set it to 1 pixel, 100% opacity, normal blendingmode and brush out some lightning forks along the beam.

Step 5: Glow

If you have photoshop 5 or higher you can apply the "OuterGlow" layer effect to the lightning layer. Use the eyedropper to select the outer glow color from the beam itself.


If I was actually using this in a pic I'd probably sharpen the beginning of the beam a little and add a lensflare or muzzle flash to the origin.

Web Design & Art ©2000 Patrick Shettlesworth: Studio Atomica

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