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Need tips on photoreal neon tubing type in Motion

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Mark Suszko
Need tips on photoreal neon tubing type in Motion
on Apr 8, 2019 at 8:50:26 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Apr 8, 2019 at 8:51:54 pm

I'm working on a shot that needs a convincing neon tube sign against a brick wall. I want to start it pretty dark, some spot lighting effects just to show there's an inactive neon sign on the wall, with the tube looking like it's turned off, then make it flicker on and glow, casting realistic shadow and glow effects on the brick wall on which it's "hanging". When it lights up, it will say: "Plinking the Night Away" and blink like a motel "vacancy" sign. The type style can be kitschy or vintage.

Motion's library of fonts has some quasi-neon stuff, but not as realistic as I'd like. I know how to keyframe filters and opacity to get the blinking to life part done... but I need a realistic neon sign to start with. Apart from finding a public domain font that looks like hand-bent neon tubing, what Motion behaviors and filters would you advise to bring the tubing to life? Should I make the raw tubing letters in Photoshop or GIMP first, then import it?

Bonus points for also making the bent tubing in an outline of a ukulele.

All suggestions and advice gratefully entertained.

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Andy Neil
Re: Need tips on photoreal neon tubing type in Motion
on Apr 17, 2019 at 5:53:05 am

Start with a font you like and then use the bezier tool to create the tubing by tracing the font and keeping a solid line going.

It's been a long time, but I did a neon test years ago, and IIRC I used a clone or two of my shape on top of each other with additive blend on to get the color with a "hot spot". Then I used a wriggle behavior on the opacity with high smoothness for that subtle light flicker. The light on the bricks can be done with colored point or spot lighting with the same wriggle applied.


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