Warning : these simple tips come from a hobbyist with no formal art/animation training or experience. Don't take them too seriously.

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Special effects

Best viewed in a maximised window at 1024x768 screen resolution

Candle flame

  • Create 2 simple shapes on their own layer - I just used simple circles, peaked the top point, and scaled and translated to suit.
  • Fill the inner shape white, with soft edges
  • Fill the outer shape yellow (feel free to change these colours to your own preference - I'm no artist), leave it sharp
  • Set the layer properties to noisy shapes and animated noise
  • You may want to reduce the noise offset and increase the scale, to get a smoother wobble rather than a spiky jaggle
  • If you wish, move the points around to get more animation to the tip of the flame as you see fit

MOV, 103k

Larger Flame

  • Most of this follows similar principles to the candle flame above
  • You'll probably want a bit more shape to larger flames
  • As per candle flame : 2 shapes, inner with soft edges - I personally use these sorts of colours for larger flames, but I'm no artist and I suspect I'm tending towards visual amateur cliches.
  • Depending on your style, you might also wish to give the outer flame soft edges too.
  • As per candle flame : Noisy shapes, animated noise
  • The bobbing shape of the base of the fire is going to be a lot more obvious in this case, so you're probably going to want to hide it with objects on another layer
Possible tip (as yet untested, so I don't know how it will look) : use an almost-transparent layer to throw firelight colours onto surrounding scenery and characters

MOV file, 140k


  • This is based on very similar principles to the flames above
  • More of a circular shape, 2 shapes, inner with soft edges, layer with animated noisy shapes
  • You may wish to add a soft edge to the outer shape too, depending on your style
  • Add a splotchy fill to both shapes
  • Scale the shape from small to larger and keyframe the visibility for the initial appearance
  • Scale smaller and fade out with animated alpha approaching the finish
  • Finish by keframing visibility
  • Debris is left as an exercise for the reader 8-D

MOV file, 78k


  • Put your smoke shape on a separate layer, of course
  • Put the origin of the layer at the base of the smoke
  • FIll the shape with grey with a fair amount of transparency (i.e. low alpha)
  • Give it a splotchy fill and soft edges
  • Use layer scaling to make the smoke rise

MOV file, 80k

Lightning and arcs

  • Give each bolt of lightning or electrical arc a layer of its own
  • Create a simple line where you want the arc to approximately go - for lightning you may wish to add extra forking lines coming off the main line - make sure these extra sidelines actually join to the main line at a junction control point
  • Give it a white (or maybe light blue) colour
  • Change the layer properties to have noisy outlines and animated noise - play with the settings here
  • Animate the general position and shapes of the lines if necessary e.g. to make the ends of an arc crawl along, or to scale the lightning bolt from small to a full bolt
  • Animate the visibility of the layer to if desired

MOV file, 80k

Spotlight / electrical torch light

(Modified from a tip formerly provided on the Lost Marble website - thanks!)
  • Create a large rectangle, bigger than the render area.
  • Add a smaller circle
  • Choose it all as one shape and fill it with black or grey - this gives a cutout circle
  • Give the layer a lower alpha value
  • Assign the circle points only to a bone
  • Move the bone to simulate a flashlight or spotlight area
Tip : Of course, the closing circle blackout finish (as e.g. in the About Moho dialog) can be done this way too. Just don't give the layer any alpha, and scale the circle rather than move it.

MOV file, 93k


  • Create the lightsabre standing vertically
  • Create the handle (or hilt, if you prefer) on one layer - make it as fancy or simple as you like
  • Create the blade on a separate layer to the handle - a thin rectangle will do, significantly overlapping the handle - use a rounded tip if you prefer.
  • Give it the standard white fill with no edge
  • Set the first fill to halo - try about 1 pixel inset and 2 pixels blurred (depending, of course, on the size of your render and the closeness of the camera)
  • Set the second fill to soft edges - try only about 2 pixels thick to start with Note : setting the fill types the other way around results in a less brilliant white centre and a softer look - more colour bleed into the centre - this may be what you prefer - the difference is more noticeable at 640x480 than 320240

  • Create a bone to control the lightsabre
  • Attach the handle to the bone
  • Attach the blade to the same bone - the bone will now control the movement of the lightsabre
  • Go into animation mode for the blade layer.
  • Go to frame 2, select the 2 end points of the lightsabre, and (holding Shift) translate them down inside the handle
  • Go back to frame one and click once on the workspace, thus creating a visible keyframe at frame one.
  • Copy the keyframe at frame 1 to frame 3 - the keyframes at frames 2 (retracted) and 3 (extended) can now be copied and moved throughout an animation to control the blade extending and retracting
  • Save the moho file e.g. lightsabre.moho

  • You can now :
    • import this lightsabre file into another file, containing a character
    • scale and translate the layer to put the lightsabre in the character's hand at about the right size and position
    • make the lightsabre bone layer a child of the character's bone layer
    • assign the lightsabre layer to the character's hand bone
    • animate the character's hand to animate the lightsabre
    • To have the character grab and let go of the lightsabre, seePicking it up and putting it down - send in the invisible clones (you can just use a copy of the handle layer as the second copy)

MOV file, 145k

MOV file, 76k - Mike the Jedi 8-D