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From the author of Step 6: Blasting Your Beam Across the Room

Step 6: Blasting Your Beam Across the Room

At this stage, when you play through the Timeline you should see the beam appear in the Monitor panel, but it's in the wrong place and it doesn't move. In this section, you'll modify the Start and End positions of the laser beam effect so that it appears to fire from the weapon, and then add keyframes to these positions so that it blasts its way across the frame.

Task: Adjust and keyframe the position of the Lightning effect's start and end points by following these steps:

  1. Make sure that the CTI is at the first marker, the placeholder title clip on the Laser track is selected, and the Properties view is open (see Figure 20).
  2. Click the text LIGHTNING to select the effect and display the Start and End points for this effect in the Monitor panel (see Figure 21).
  3. Place the Start point just inside the barrel of the weapon. Place the End point a few millimeters in front of and in the direction that the weapon is pointing (see Figures 22 and 23).

Well done! You've created the "launch" firing point of your laser beam. Now you need to define the flight path (firing direction) of the laser. To do this, you'll need to dial down the Lightning effects parameters. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the small triangle; then click the Show Keyframes toggle (see Figure 24).
  2. With the placeholder clip still selected, make sure that the CTI is at the first marker. Click the Toggle Animation button (see Figure 25) to turn on keyframes for the Lightning effect.
  3. With the start of the keyframe area now set correctly, hold down Ctrl and press the right-arrow key on your keyboard to move the CTI to the next-to-last frame of the placeholder clip. Then press the left-arrow key once to move the CTI back by one frame (see Figure 26).
  4. Move the End point of the beam so that it falls outside the frame of view. Then repeat this procedure for the Start point, making sure that it ends a little bit behind the End point to give the beam some length (see Figure 27).
  5. If your actor pulls the trigger more than once, you can easily duplicate the laser beam. Move the CTI to the next firing position, make sure that the placeholder clip is still selected, and press Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V to create a duplicate laser beam at the new CTI position (see Figure 28). Repeat this action for each pull of the trigger.
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