Trying to create a sunburst/glare effect

I’m at the tail end of a cartoon and working out the last layer of details. Actually I’ll still have to go back and do the second to last layer, but…

Anyway, I’m trying to put a sunburst coming off the fender of a motorcycle as it moves away from us. I want it to draw our eye to the bike and put a touch of realism, a bit of pop.

I’ve been trying a few quick things to get the sunburst, including covering everything with a frame of white burst, then varying frames of the sunburst. I’m just looking for some tips. Here’s one frame of burst:

Here is the scene plain
Here is the scene with the burst

It seems to me that the timing is as important as the placement, quality, and composition of the sunburst graphic.

Any guidance is helpful.

I think it looks good, Rob. I don’t know if you need the black lines in the starburst though, they kind of jumped at me & I think it would still work if it’s just the flash of white. Could be wrong there of course, maybe the black is what made the white “pop”, but just a thought. As far as the timing of when the starburst occurs, I think that’s a personal preference & it can probably work just about anywhere. It definitely works as is, but I think it would look equally cool if the truck/bikes were closer to the horizon & then reflected that last ray of sunlight as they ride off… maybe that’s more of a cheesey movie effect though ::slight_smile:

Some good input there, Pat. I hadn’t thought about gettng a gleam out of it on the horizon–that could be something to do. When I saw that in my mind’s eye the rest of the picture washed out a little. As it stands now I make the motorhome and bikes darker for the moment. I’ll mess around with a more washed out effect and see what that does for me.

There is a similar example in the demo scene for the articles on Key Framed Animation in the Cartooning in Toon Boom blog. The glint is coming from the sharks smiling teeth. This is a simple effect using an irregularly shaped star-like burst drawn in white and then outlined in bright yellow. The timing is a personal preference but I use an irregular pattern like 10 frames of glint followed by 7 blank frames followed by 3 frames of glint followed by 9 frames of blank followed by 7 frames of glints etc. You can work that out as needed. The yellow highlight around the star burst shape is the piece that helps to sell the effect. Hope this helps. -JK

Hi Rob- looking good! My advice would be, when in doubt, look for reference!

Glints of reflected light from a moving object like that usually run along an edge, flare and then shrink away. This is an example of what I mean. As the camera moves around the bike, the light builds up into a flare before shrinking again.

And here the idea is applied to swords in 2D animation to help the audience see what is happening in fast swordplay.

Hope this helps - good luck!


I love having the freedom to not know, but to have people help point the way. Everybody has given me something I can use.

I used JK’s yellow edges, the white flash from Ryan Simmons at Cartoon Solutions, the edge tracing from Burton, and the flash at the horizon from Pat. You guys rock.

Here’s how it is now. With any luck and a bit of energy, I might have this finished by tomorrow. Depends what time my son wakes up in the morning…

ok, so who’s gonna stick their head out of the hole & say “TH-TH-TH-Th-that’s all folks!”?

Looks good Rob, this toon is gonna be sweet. Can’t wait to see the finished piece.

thanks dog!!

I’m still toying with it. Well, I would be if I weren’t at work… but I expect to work on it tonight and tomorrow morning and hopefully wrap it up and get it online.

One thing I’m thinking of with this little effect is using one or more color transform effects to darken the underlying objects so I have more contrast. This could even be done with a gradient transparent effect that has an animated color transform to get that to happen. Not sure if that makes sense, but trying it out can’t take but about 15 minutes…

At any rate, thanks heaps for the tips and encouragement. Like I said, y’all rock!