Using BLITZ, which can create nice lightning and electricity effects, I tried to express lightning with a bit of a two-dimensional feel, so I’ll show you how to create it!
I thought about how to make it look more like lightning, and how to match it with the world of Demon Slayer, so I’m happy if I can find some elements that will be helpful or give me some ideas.
The usage of BLITZ in this article has been arranged quite a bit, so please check out this video by NsFarm for the basic usage and introduction! He explains it in an easy-to-understand manner.
The video I created is roughly divided into the following three scenes, and here I will explain how I created the lightning buzzing effect (1).
- Hold the sword while letting the lightning buzz
- Gone in an instant
- Then cut the moon in half. Thunderclap and Flash!
You can download the Settings file from here. If you want to play around with it, go ahead!
(It will be nice if you save and apply the image in (1) to Mediain.)
If you are wondering what Reactor is and how to install it, refer to the following article!
How to use BLITZ
BLITZ allows you to set the starting and ending points of the lightning bolt, the thickness of the lightning bolt, and the frequency with which it changes shape per frame.
First of all, let’s see how each parameter can be configured!
After setting/changing the parameters in BLITZ, you will need to click on the “Reload” button to get the output, so don’t forget to do that.
Each time you Reload, the shape of the lightning bolt will change, so try clicking it a few times until you get the shape you intended.
In other words, if you think the shape is good, you may want to leave it as it is.
This point is also mentioned on the Patron website, where BLITZ is distributed, as follows.
it is currently not possible to assure you always have exact the same lightning shape. It means, every time you tweak something, the lightning’s shape will change. Usually this is not an issue as most shape will look natural.www.patreon.com
- Start Position:Set the starting point of the lightning bolt.
- Stop Position:Set the endpoint of the lightning bolt.
- Point Density:Sets the number of points where the lightning bolt will bend when considered as a single line. A smaller value makes the line straighter, while a larger value makes it more curved.
- Splitting Position Randomness:It seems that you can set the randomness of the spacing between the points where the lightning bends. The smaller the setting, the more evenly spaced the lightning will be, and the larger the setting, the more random the spacing of the changing points will be.
- Amplitude:You can set the amount of wiggle in the lightning bolt. The smaller the setting, the straighter the lightning will be, and the larger the setting, the more wiggly it will be.
- Amplitude Turbulence:If you increase the value, the wiggling will become milder.
- Smoothness:Increasing the value seems to make it a little smoother, but to be honest I wasn’t sure lol.
- Energy:You can set the thickness (size) of the lightning bolt.
- Energy Randomness:Increasing the value will add randomness to the Energy settings.
- Energy Falloff:Increasing the value will make the lightning thinner (more attenuated) as it approaches the end of the bolt.
- Phase Change Rate:You can set the frequency with which the lightning changes its shape. Smaller values make the lightning change its shape more frequently, while larger values make it stay the same over time.
- Phase Flow Rate:You can set the lightning bolt to have a wavering, current-like motion while maintaining its original shape. The larger the value, the more the wobbling effect.
- Phase Flow Radius:I think it’s possible to set the amplitude of the wobbling effect set by the Phase Flow Rate.
- Progress:This is a setting similar to “Write On” in Text+. You can use this setting when you want to display lightning little by little, or turn it off.
In the “Branching” menu, you can apply settings to the branching part of the lightning bolt. I didn’t go into too much detail, but by adjusting the “Branch Length” parameter, you can adjust the length of the lightning branches.
In the “Styling” menu, you can set the color of the lightning bolt in “Lightning Bolt Color” and the color of the lightning glow (diffused light) in “Exponential Glow”.
For starters, if you know what you’re doing here, you’ll have no trouble using BLITZ!
Try to make lightning
Let me preface this by saying, let’s go ahead and make some lightning!
First, create a pale, buzzing lightning bolt in Zenitsu’s hand, then a yellow lightning bolt flashing behind him.
Create pale, thin lightning bolts
As you can see here, I will explain how to create the lightning bolt that is glowing around the sword.
The node configuration is as follows.
Since we are using the FastExpoGlow tool, it is recommended to add it from Reactor beforehand. The basic configuration is based on the BLITZ demo Comp file.
1. Background Node
First, we need to prepare a Background node, which will be connected to BLITZ with a default background color of black and an Alpha of “0”, since it seems that Input is required to use BLITZ.
2. BLITZ Node
In order to create the intended shape of the lightning bolt, we will follow the flow below.
- Set the start and end points of the lightning bolt. Place it from end to end of the sword that Zenitsu is holding.
- Adjust Amplitude and Amplitude Turbulence to values close to what you envisioned. Set the Amplitude and Amplitude Turbulence to larger values than the default values.
- Set a larger value for Energy Falloff to make the lightning shape more vivid.
- The Phase Change Rate was set to a smaller value (0.2) to create a sense of speed.
- Set slightly larger values for Phase Flow Rate and Phase Flow Radius because smaller values result in less movement.
- Set the color of the lightning bolt to bluish using Lightning Bolt Color and Exponential Glow in the “Styling” menu.
With these settings, you should now have a lightning bolt of approximately the expected shape.
I also set up keyframes in Progress (like Write On) to make the lightning appear and shrink as a way to add flavor.
3. Rectangle Node
The lightning would not look like a lightning bolt if it was displayed all the time, or it would look like a chattering electric current, which was not the output I wanted. So I added a Rectangle node as a mask for the BLITZ node, and set the lightning bolt to show or not show.
I thought it was important to create a moderate amount of time where nothing was displayed in order to create a lightning-like effect, so I achieved this by masking.
4. Brightness Contrast Node
To get a good lightning effect, I connected the lightning to Brightness Contrast, increased the values of Gain, Gamma, Contrast, and Saturation, and lowered Brightness for adjustment.
In this case, I wanted to create a Demon Slayer-like, two-dimensional look, so I branched off from the BLITZ node to create a border around the lightning bolt. I’ll explain that part in the next section.
5. Bitmap+Background+ErodeDilate Node
To frame the lightning shape, the output of BLITZ is connected to Bitmap to extract the lightning shape, connected to Background to create a black lightning bolt, and then connected to ErodeDilate to expand the black lightning bolt.
The lightning bolt created in 4. above is merged with the Merge node (Apply Mode: Dissolve) to obtain the appearance of a bordered lightning bolt.
When using ErodeDilate to expand the lightning, the end of the lightning bolt was over-inflated, so I masked the end of the lightning bolt with a Rectangle node to prevent it from expanding.
6. FastExpoGlow Node
As a final touch, a nice glow from FastExpoGlow and we’re done!
The Merge node is used to connect the video and merge it with the yellow lightning in the background that will be created later to create the final output.
Make a yellow lightning in the background
Next, we will create the yellow lightning in the background of Zenitsu.
The basic creation flow is the same as the one for making the pale blue lightning, but we will pick up on some of the differences.
The Energy value is increased to make it a powerful thunderbolt.
I wanted the lightning to be more crispy and sharp if possible, but BLITZ seems to give a slightly rounded output (like a tree branch). Maybe it can be adjusted in the settings somewhere.
The color of the lightning is set to yellowish in the “Styling” menu.
I wanted the yellow lightning to be placed behind Zenitsu, so I masked the Merge node with a Polygon node to hide the part of the lightning that would be covered by Zenitsu.
To make it look like lightning
If you use BLITZ, you can create lightning and thunder in a nice way, but I wondered how I could make it look like thunder while also giving it a sense of dynamism. For a while, I thought about this while staring at the BLITZ output.
As a result, I felt that by using the time to show lightning and the time not to show lightning, I could get a look close to the actual lightning, so I masked the BLITZ node with the Rectangle node to control the showing/hiding of lightning.
This is an extreme example, but if you leave lightning displayed all the time without setting a time when it is not displayed, it will look like this
This still looks like lightning, but it’s more of an electric chattering sensation, lightning rumbling! I think it lacks the feeling of thunder. I don’t think it has enough of a thunderous feeling.
Therefore, I think it would be effective to create a nice “pause” by watching the output and setting aside a moderate amount of time when it is not displayed, in order to create a lightning-like effect!
At the end
I’ve been wanting to use BLITZ to create cool lightning bolts for a while now, and I thought I could create an effect that looks like “Thunder Breathing”.
The tool itself wasn’t that difficult to use, so I didn’t have many problems, but I spent a lot of time thinking about how to express the lightning-like effect.
By the way, the video I used as material was made by placing a Zenitsu doll in front of a monitor displaying an image of the moon, and shifting the focus from Zenitsu to the moon while shooting… lol
I hope you enjoyed it. That’s all!