Creating an Electric Sphere

In the scene I’m doing, all the characters are contained within electrical bubbles. Here is how the effect is done.

Electrical_sphere_01
First, I create a file in Photoshop (4000px x 4000px) with a black background and a faint circle that will serve as a guide. Then, on a new layer, I draw the first frame of the electrical arc on the left of the circle guide.

Electrical_sphere
I draw each animation frame on a new layer on top of the previous one. I reduce the opacity of the previous layers as I go to create a skin onion effect so that I know where I’m going with the animation. Going straight ahead, I create 37 drawings on 37 individual layers all contained within a single Photoshop file. Once all the animation is done. I save each layer as a seperate PNG file, named like this: Electrical_01.png, Electrical_02.png, etc.

I then bring those files in a compositing software (in this case, Animo), and add some blur and re-render them as a new PNG image sequence (see video below).

Then, I duplicate the animation several time, starting at various points of a 48 frame cycle. Each duplicated animation is rotated a different way, creating the illusion of a sphere (see video below).

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9 thoughts on “Creating an Electric Sphere

  1. You say you are using Animo… and that’s one I hadn’t heard of before. I looked it up and it appears that they were acquired by Toon Boom several years ago. Are they still supporting Animo?

  2. Thanks, great stuff. One question: is there a reason you draw the frames in photoshop, as opposed to animating directly in toon boom?

  3. So amazing to see a master at work. I’ll never forget the first animation I saw from you, “Prelude to Eden.” I am loving this!

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