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Tutorial: Create a Pulsar in After Effects

Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Recreate the look of a spinning, neutron star.

 

In this tutorial, I share two different ways to create spinning, 3D, volumetric lights in After Effects. The first method uses  Boris FX's Stage Light plugin which can automatically simulate volumetric light from a comp light. But not everyone has access to BCC Stage Light, so I also show how to use the included Cinema4D Lite to get a similar look. Along the way, I take a break from being scientifically accurate and use an expression I wrote to restrict the beam when it is behind the central core of the star.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LilxpQH0gyE 

 

Expression saved in a text file: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/a6dhhxnzo2e5mh0rvohuf/Pulsar-Expression.zip?rlkey=wkwipy0f1jsfx4ua0tr...

 

Project download (ZIP): https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/t1s9k3y4ehkl3bma71xjc/Pulsar.zip?rlkey=l10dr2i16a9trrme3psdw6bxo&dl=1

 

 

 

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LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Perhaps a bit too fat cones? Most pulsars have very short phases, so the "beams" would probably almost like needle-thin parallel lights.

 

Mylenium

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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There's a quite lot about me that could be described as "perhaps a bit too fat" as well 🙂  

 

The beams should probably be a lot thinner - truth be told I got the idea for this after just recently rewatching the Star Trek: TNG episode where they visit a pulsar.  Even though I didn't get it again from that episode, it's remarkable how they pulled off such visual effects back in the early 1990s.

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